Saturday, 23 June 2012

Graham Davies

Graham Davies / Groovy Winkler  /GroovyGuzi / Daisybundle

My tribute

Graham Davies just seems to have been ‘always there’ in my professional life.

I have found two ‘tributes’ which I have already written, one on his LinkedIn  profile and one on my Second Life blog, (copied below) but I’d like to bring things together here.

He devised ‘Fun With Texts’ and this was one of the first programs I ever used for teaching languages.  I still find it to be one of the most flexible, effective and efficient ways of using ICT, especially with the option of adding sound and video.  Thank you for the program Graham.

I like to use Graham’s company ‘Camsoft Partners’ for advice about what digital resources to buy.  I so appreciated the time Graham would give to talking through products and his absolute honesty about what was likely to ‘work’ and what may not.  Thank you for your advice on software Graham.

Graham was a prolific contributor to many of the electronic fora to which I belong (for example Linguanet, mflresources, TES forum, Twitter, Facebook, the Avalon Ning, Eurocall Ning), always offering prompt, informed and helpful information especially with regard to any queries about using ICT with languages.  I’ve just done a search and there are literally thousands of postings which will continue to help and support us.  Thank you for your advice and support GroovyGuzi.

It was Graham who introduced me to Second Life through a posting to the Linguanet forum inviting us to a Virtual International Teacher’s Conference called ‘Slanguages’.  In the form of his avatar ‘Groovy Winkler’ he patiently helped me as I (literally) ‘found my feet’ there (it is so easy to lose body parts there!) and we have both been promoting its merits, while being fully aware of its drawbacks.  I so enjoy teaching and learning in Second Life, based on Edunation, an island where he also had his home and where we are planning to hold a celebration of his life, probably on Sunday 1st July.  Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm Groovy Winkler!

Graham has conscientiously and selflessly maintained, stored, and shared his knowledge of the use of ICT in language learning via the ICT4LT site which is an excellent repository of information.  Graham seems to have ‘tried out’ any new tools / systems available (he is one of the first people with whom I ever skyped!) and he is always honest and open in his analysis of their effectiveness.  In particular, he has been willing to change his mind if his experience has changed.  “When I find new information I change my mind; What do you do?”  (A quote often attributed to Keynes). Thank you for your integrity Graham.

I am sure that I met Graham without realising it when I visited Ealing college in my early days as a language teacher, and I have had the pleasure of meeting him several times since: he came to our school for an ICT workshop, I heard him speak at the ‘Digital Kitchen’ event and we met at a conference in Oxford.  However, the occasion I remember most and when we spent longer together was in Bordeaux for the 2010 Eurocall Conference which had a strand on Virtual Worlds.  I attended particularly on his recommendation, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  He gave a superb keynote presentation, summarising the history of ICT, he led the ‘special interest group’ for virtual worlds, and I enjoyed his company at the various social events.  Thank you for your friendship and company Graham.

Graham has shared with us all what a rich and rewarding personal life he has led .. how jealous I have been when he went off to the slopes and sent us pictures when we were back at school; how delighted when he has shared photos of his daughters and grandchildren.  It has been lovely to meet his wife Sally both in her Second Life persona as the fashion-conscious ‘Flopsy Bookmite’ and in real life where we did manage a bit of dancing in Bordeaux.  My thoughts and prayers are very much with her and her family at this time.  I am sure that they will draw comfort from the hundreds of tributes posted in on all the fora.

Thanks for everything, Graham.  I will miss you.


LinkedIn profile recommendation:
Dec 12th 2009
“I have always been impressed with Graham's work in the field of languages and ICT. I have been using and recommending to others his program 'Fun With Texts' for many years, and was delighted when a version came out which allowed the combination of text, audio and video. He has an extremely comprehensive knowledge of IT, and is keen to seek out and promote good practice in this area. Most recently I have been very appreciative of the guidance and help he has given me as I have entered Second Life. Thanks Graham!”December 12, 2009

Edunation Hero excerpt from my Second Life Blog.:
Groovy Winkler aka Graham Davies keeps up to date with all things related to IT and languages. Government initiatives may come and go but Graham continues voluntarily to maintain the most comprehensive and up-to-date website I know related to these topics and his knowledge was translated into a succinct, reflective and entertaining overview of the history of IT and languages at the recent Eurocall conference in Bordeaux. Through his contributions to various fora, I learnt about Second Life and hurriedly entered it in time for a conference back on October 2007. Despite the initial frustration of getting stuck in pink bushes [I always forget their name .. help, Gwen! . you know, the ones you get in the centre of dual carriageways in Italy …] and falling into deep waters, I was fascinated, and stayed.