I have been very impressed by the development of the ABC website in recent years.

I think the podcast service available since 2007 has been outstanding. I have even contemplated getting into bed with Phillip Adams.

More recently I think The Conversation has added a new dimension to sharing news about Australia’s university and research sector.

This week I was directed to Australian Collaboration through a Diigo Teacher-Librarian alert.

I am fascinated by the possibilities of open sharing and am thinking about a portal to share information to support lifelong learning. I believe that the ABC, The Conversation and The Australian Collaboration sites have set a standard for what such a portal could be.

I liked this slide from Krish Krishnan’s Webinar on Integrating Big Data this week as a check to my idealism:


Like Krish I can we have some interesting opportunities ahead to put things together:


Photo Credit

Playing with Legos at SXSW 2007


The Music in Us: Lake Boga Days

A few weeks ago Mrs Carey’s Concert opened in Australian Cinemas.

Another music film, Seriously Singing – a Cinderella Story, was premiered last week, launched by the Minister for School Education. Malcolm McKinnon made the film.

Malcolm works mainly in rural communities. “Over the past 15 years, his work has encompassed oral history, urban planning, public and community art projects, critical writing and exhibitions. His current practice is mainly focused around documentary filmmaking and social history, motivated by an appreciation of living memory and local vernacular.”

Malcolm describes the film as an interpretation of “the story of a small town choir achieving national acclaim from improbable beginnings.” I see the film as having immense synergies with As It Is In Heaven.

There are ABC Radio podcasts of interviews with Malcolm McKinnon on ABC Central Victoria and this item on Bush Telegraph. The program note for the Bush Telegraph podcast records that:

The small community of Lake Boga is serious about singing. The little hamlet, 16 km south of Swan Hill in Victoria’s mallee country, is in the limelight with the screening of a new documentary starring the town’s youngsters.

In 1951 the Lake Boga Primary School choir, led by singing teacher Jessie Arnold, took part in a choral competition to celebrate the Commonwealth Jubilee. The kids from the bush did so well that they were crowned Victoria’s best small primary school choir.

Sixty years later, Jessie Arnold, now known as Jessie Carmichael, returned to the same school to teach a new crop of kids how to sing.

There is an interesting Age article about Jessie Carmichael and the reunion of the 1951 choir. The Bush Telegraph podcast updates the story and underscores the role music does and could play in our lives.

I am struck by the didactic power of stories like Seriously Singing and their potential to share passionate teaching. I am draw to such performance stories as I think the resonate strongly with sport contexts.

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Photo Credit

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I am keen to explore diverse contexts to develop my understanding of teaching, learning and coaching. Many of my posts over the last two years have looked at the relationships between performing arts and sport.

In this post I draw upon a different context for my exploration of expertise. I do so from the wonderful world of cheese via the ABC’s Cheese Slices program from the Massive Central And The Auverge. In that program I learned about Herve Mons and the role of the affineur.

Jennifer Meier points out that:

Many French cheesemakers make cheese, then pass it along to Affineurs like Herve Mons who handle the ageing process. Affineurs guide cheese along as it matures in caves or ageing rooms, ripening the cheese to its peak flavor and texture.

Alison Brien worked with Herve Mons for a month. In her post about her experience in France, she notes that:

An affineur is a person who ripens and matures cheese; who has an intimate understanding of the production and life cycle of different cheeses and nurtures each cheese to perfection in carefully controlled environments. It is a specialised field requiring knowledge of cheese-making techniques and AOC regulations, animal health, grazing pastures, the seasons, microbiology, “cave dynamics” such as air flow and humidity, the sensory attributes of cheese and changing consumer trends.

Herve Mons, Alison reports:

has just completed work on a new maturation facility that can accommodate around 90 tonnes of cheese – and yes, it will all be turned by hand! The site is an old railway tunnel which has been transformed into a massive cheese cellar. Because the tunnel passes through a hill, it is a perfectly insulated environment for maturing cheeses. I was lucky enough to work in the tunnel for one day, turning my way through almost one tonne of cheese over 12 hours.

Alison spent a lot of her time in the other Mons facility known as “the caves”:

a series of underground rooms specially designed for maturing different cheeses. Each cave has natural earth and stone floors which are important elements in controlling the temperature and humidity. The affinage team consisted of six people, managed by Eric Meredith – an American with as much energy and passion for cheese as Herve.

She recalls that:

We would spend our days receiving young cheeses and sorting them according to their level of ripeness, then the cheeses would go into different caves depending on their needs. We would also tend to the cheeses already maturing in the caves, turning them, brushing them, patting down the mould or washing them with special solutions to encourage favourable mould growth on the surface. Each cheese receives quite a bit of personalised attention – it’s a bit like a cheese nursery.

What I found fascinating about these descriptions of the science and art of cheese maturation and finishing is how closely the skills of the affineur reflect the characteristics of coaches of young and maturing athletes.

As we move with more confidence to personal training approaches the more likely we are to see the ability to modulate training environments as a companion to affinage. Perhaps the two worlds would collide if any team decided to use the services of Alison Brien’s Cheeseboardroom … or explored the insights Liz Thorpe shares about Herve.

Photo Credits

Persille de Malzieu

The cheesemonger did not say cheese

Getting Coaching