I have been involved in educational ICT since the very early days. I qualified as a teacher back in1980. I have always felt the need to ‘contribute’ to whatever work I do and so it was with teaching. However, it was not immediately clear in what way I could ‘contribute’. It was just by chance that as I was browsing in a newsagents one day after school, that I spotted a magazine called ‘Computing Today’. I have always had an allied interest in ham radio and so I thought this magazine might be interesting. I duly bought the magazine, read it and suddenly realised that perhaps computers could have a use in teaching.
Keep in mind that, in those days, when you mentioned a ‘computer’ people thought of big blue wardrobe sized things that were used to calculate things like your pay packet (and generally got them wrong!). So, when I happened to mention to the local advisor that I would like to bring a computer into the classroom to help teach the pupils, he looked down at me (he was a tall guy) and gave me that look that sort of said ‘has this guy gone completely carzy?’.
To his credit, though, when the government started putting money into computers and schools, he recalled what I had said and asked if I’d like to lead a project. Of course, I jumped at the chance.
First Project (touchscreens, Special Needs)
In the meantime, I had already bought my own computer and tried it out in school. I had also gone along to various meetings and events for home computing enthusiasts and had joined a fledgling computer club.
Anyway, the project ran for a couple of years and, as a result, I produced software to help teach pupils using touchscreens and concept keyboards. When the project ended, I took on new roles working as an advisor within the local area, running training courses, evening workshops and visiting local schools to promote computers in education. This was an enjoyable role but one which did not bring in any extra money.
Promotion (Network, First Website)
So I left that authority and went to a new school where, as well as being a teacher, my role was to set up a school internet and train staff in using computers. In the end, I went a little further by setting the school up with one of the first event school sites on the fledgling world wide web.
ICT Consultant (Becta, TCO)
In 2003, I left teaching and set myself up as ICT consultant. My first role was working with Becta on their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) project. This was designed to help schools work out the total cost of owning and running their ICT provision. It was a great tool, particularly for revealing the hidden costs such as teacher time and consumables. It was also a significant tool in that it used the WWW for its delivery, something that Becta has since explored further with frameworks such as the SRF (Self Review Framework). However, the tool was quite cumbersome and unwieldy as it tried to reach and record as much detail as it could, this meant that staff and schools would spend considerable amounts of time just inputting data. The tool was streamlined for work with the London Grid, however, the streamlining really went too far and changed it from a Total Cost model into a ‘shopping list’ model.
Staff Training, Content Management (Espresso, Immersive, 3T productions, BBC)
As well as this early work for Becta, I also took on roles with Espresso Education and Immersive Education, particularly in providing INSET for those schools using these companies products. I also took on a couple of contracts witha production company called 3T, working for part of the time on the ill-fated BBC Jam project; which, looking back, I still regard as a major opportunity lost.
Becta (SRF, Computers for Pupils, Home Access)
Another couple of stints at Becta have seen me working on the Self Review Framework in conjunction with the Regional Delivery Team and then on the Computers for Pupils project and Home Access. For the Home Access programme, I worked on the Home Access for Targeted Groups, an £18m government project to provide computers and internet to disadvantaged learners.
Since my work with Becta, I have concentrated upon my basic consultancy work once again, offering training to schools and staff in the use of educational technology to support learning.
If you wish to contact me in regard to my work, please do. You will find an online contact page on this blog here
Online Learning Technology consultant and Trainer
Thank you for visiting my site, which is constantly evolving and changing to reflect my interests and experiences in education technology.
I have over 30 years' experience in education and training, I regard my solid background in teaching as being a foundation for all the work I have done since. In addition to my teaching background, I have always had a great enthusiasm for ICT and e-learning. I have a long history of involvement, delivery and innovation in the field of education technology dating right back from my development work with touchscreens in class back in the early 1980s.
It would be true to say that I enjoy technology and I like to regard myself as being talented at learning new technologies quickly. My real strength, I feel though, lies more in communicating about the technologies to other people at all level, be they teachers, customers, trainees or managers. Particularly in the field of education, I like to feel I have an ability to translate technology use into educational use and vice versa.
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