Saturday 2nd February dawned bright and sunny, thank goodness! After the snow and ice of the previous few days, the ART simulator course went ahead with a full complement of 13 students and 2 observers.
We must thank Ian Griffiths for his kind use of Oxted tower and for the much appreciated coffee, tea and biscuits. Ian has recently set up a number of workstations in the tower, and Oxted is thus an excellent venue for the ART simulator course. He has made his own magnetic sensors which are more reliable than optical sensors as they do not suffer damp, condensation or sunlight interference. The installation includes a splitter box which enables the simulator to be used either individually or as a team.
We were delighted to welcome Roger Booth back to Surrey to present this new Workshop, one of a number of Workshops now being offered by ART. See http://ringingteachers.org/get-involved/workshops for more details. Roger is an expert on simulators and Abel and gave comprehensive information on how to set up Abel and how to run the various exercises with it during the course of the morning. Ringers of all ability can use it to practice just rounds or up to complex methods, although this is more difficult than it looks!
The principle objective of this Workshop is to demonstrate how Abel, a bell ringing software program, can be used as an effective training tool that can significantly speed up the learning process and enable ringers to be able to listen and strike their bell and gain ropesight, both in the tower and at home.
Roger said that there were some 460 towers with simulator set ups in the country, but only about half of these are in regular use.
There is a Simulator Users and Suppliers Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/1441867412528870/, various websites and books and information on the ART website to share information and help people troubleshoot problems etc. http://ringingteachers.org/resource-centre/simulator-resources
As well as Ian’s equipment, Roger brought two laptops and workstations with him already set up to run Abel and compatible with the Oxted sensors. With six workstations set up with headphones, wiring, Roger, 13 students and 2 observers it all made for a rather crowded ringing chamber, something to bear in mind for future courses. Fortunately, all the equipment worked on the day and everybody was able to practise on the simulators, ringing anything from rounds to learning exercises and methods. Of course, when simulators are set up permanently the wiring can be installed much more discreetly in the tower.
Roger also gave a brief demonstration of other bell ringing software which can be linked to bells including Beltower and Virtual Belfry. Abel seems to be the software of choice though. All the students agreed it was a very worthwhile morning and everybody, including experienced ringers, had learned something about using Abel and all agreed it is a superb training tool for new students.
Paul Flavell - Surrey Training Officer
Photo above: Back row (l to r): Nick Wilkins, Elaine Merrylees, Jaime Hamper, Patrick Wills, Martin Crick, Nick Rata. Middle row (l to r): Noel Gibbin, Milica Reardon, Amber Cusick, Elaine Farrow, Adrian Fouler, Russell King, Kate Wills, Roger Booth, Ian Griffiths (photo Paul Flavell)
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