I taught for 18 years in schools in Bristol mainly in KS1 with a responsibility for ICT across the primary age range. We were the first school to have an interactive whiteboard in the authority which led to various partnership projects looking into ways of embedding ICT into the curriculum.
After a year as Acting Deputy, I moved into the Local Authority as a Primary ICT Advisory Teacher with 0.4 of my role as liaison teacher for the City Learning Centres in Bristol. Whilst in this position I had the opportunity to engage with all age groups in the creative and innovative use of ICT, which included managing the Primary arm of the Hand-e-Learning Project using PDAs to support personalised learning. Following this exciting initiative which involved collaboration with colleagues across the country I was invited to present at BETT, The Handheld Learning Conference (Learning Without Frontiers) and as part of a community of practice in San Diego.
I have recently been awarded my Masters Degree in Education, Technology and Science (MSc ETS) from Bristol University, where most of my research was based upon mobile learning and how teachers and learners interact with each other and the technology they are using. Whilst working on this degree, I became particularly interested in Games Based Learning, and how we could harness the way in which children interact with this medium to support teaching and learning, and in particular the iterative process of learning, and how technology can facilitate assessment for learning.
I am a registered ICT Mark Assessor, and was invited to be part of the QCA working party for the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum, with a focus on ICT. As part of my role I work closely with colleagues across the South West Grid for Learning on embedding E-Safety and am on the working group that developed and trialed the BETT 2011 award winning 360 degree safe, school review tool. I worked with schools on the introduction of the Merlin Learning Platform, as well as being on the committee for the highly acclaimed West of England ICT Conferences held annually at the University of the West of England Bristol, and, until recently, the Riviera Conference centre in Torquay.
For the last 3 years I have been Senior ICT Adviser for Somerset County Council. I manage a dedicated and inspirational team of colleagues who are able to bring together the strategic use of ICT across the school, co-ordinating curriculum, administration and information management to create a more streamlined service for schools, as well as enhanced partnership working.
The last few years have seen great upheaval for ICT both in Local Authorities and in schools and the environment that has emerged is proving to be a significant, but exciting challenge for us all. Moving forward we need to find more sustainable models that provide schools with the tools for realising the already significant investment that has been made in terms of physical kit, time and transformation of systems to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Built on this is the expectation of our children and the world in which they live now and in their futures. We need to ensure that our learners have the tools that they need in order to compete in a fast changing technological age and that we don’t disadvantage them in relation to the challenges that will exist across the world.
In Somerset we are lucky that the schools have joined with us in the Local Authority to shape and develop the services that they want and need in what has been called the ‘Compact’. ICT is seen as an important part in this collaboration and our services are evolving to support schools and Academies with all aspects of technology to support teachers, learners, parents and the wider community, ranging from our 21st Century Wide Area Network, to the effective use of the technology in the hands of the learners. 1-1 devices are high on school agendas and we have seen an explosion in the use of blogs and twitter to engage parents and learners alike.
I have been a member of Naace for the last 10 years and have attended all the annual conferences during that time, which always provide me with excellent professional development. I value Naacetalk for up to date information and discussion and have embraced the world of Twitter (after a bit of persuasion) as another tool that provides the professional information and debate that keeps me up to date. I have to say that now Twitter is my window into the world of technology and not having time to research and engage fully with the ever changing political and technical landscape, the targeted information from like minded tweeters has been a life saver. I have felt empowered by engaging in Think Tanks and have seen that my voice can be joined with others to formulate a contribution to the development of educational opportunity. Now more than ever it is important that we become the overwhelming voice that can make a difference.
I was co-opted onto the Board of Management four years ago and have greatly valued the wisdom and experience of my fellow board members. I am looking forward to the challenge of the next year as Chair of the Naace Board of Management and will continue to represent the needs and views of members from across all of our stakeholder groups including schools, Academies and Local Authorities. I believe the need for a professional organisation for ICT colleagues in education is imperative in these ever changing times and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to play my part in developing Naace as that organisation. Working together we will be stronger, of that I am sure.