I can now make the claim to have worked in ‘learning technologies’ for more than 25 years. From my initial training as a languages teacher (1995), I became very interested in how computers were making a difference to how people learned languages. My first role that explored this was at the University of Surrey, setting up an Open Learning Centre for Languages, where I introduced CD ROMs, Multimedia computers and worked with staff on new technologies in language learning.
I moved to CILT (Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research) and set up an innovative blended learning course, supporting secondary school teachers in using computers in language teaching and learning. I moved to Hull University (2002-2004) where I led a research project on an ‘emerging’ technology – interactive whiteboards. The output from this research was disseminated to every school in the country in the form of a video-based CD ROM of practical guidance for teachers in effective use of interactive whiteboards. I also worked with government (through BECTA) on the roll-out of whiteboards to all schools across the country. This led directly to a post with Promethean – 1 year in the UK as a Teaching and Learning Adviser and 1 year travelling overseas (China, Russia, Denmark and some other European work.)
From 2006-2014, I worked for a schools group (United Learning), where I was involved in pioneering work introducing new technologies technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, voting devices and iPads for pupils. Alongside this, I completed a Masters Degree at Huddersfield University in Multimedia and E-learning. It was a fantastic course – my final dissertation was on pupil perspectives on mobile learning.
In Feb 2014, I moved into Higher Education. I led learning technologies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield (and was awarded my CMALT accreditation in 2015). A change in personal circumstances led to a change in my work emphasis and I spent two years at Huddersfield University where I established ‘HudStudy’, a specialist service based on assistive technologies and accessibility. For my work at Huddersfield, I was awarded second place in the individual category of Learning Technologist of the Year (2018).
2018 saw a move to new pastures as I relocated to Scotland to join the University of Stirling as learning technologist. In my two years at the University, I have been the learning technologist for the faculty of Natural Sciences, played a key role in Digital Accessibility, undertaken a secondment to Academic Development and played a leading role in supporting academic staff across the university with blended learning- a role which has taken on huge significance as we moved the university online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
My CMALT portfolio is due for renewal and looking at the criteria, I feel that the role I have played in learning technologies, both within and beyond my institutions, for some time fulfills the criteria for SCMALT. The portfolio that follows showcases my work and approach to using and leading on technology in an educational context.