Leaving well

I have a friend who often inspires me and who I would consider to be a major role model in my life. One of the things we have occasionally talked about and that I have observed at least twice in his work is the idea of 'leaving well'. I really love new starts and get quite excited about new opportunities. In some ways, I like routine and don't like sudden and unexpected change but when change is planned and I have time to work with it, I actually quite like a change from time-to-time.

I was offered my new position as an e-learning designer way back at the beginning of December and a 2 month notice period was always going to be tough. I was fortunate that my colleagues and tutors have been fantastically positive and supportive, knowing I was likely to move on at some point, but those I work closely with have taken several opportunities to point out that I will leave a hole in their world and they will really miss me. Actually most of them told me they'd miss Liggy, my a…

Articulate 360 - Storyline

I've kept it fairly quiet but I've been looking for a new job for a few months now. Not that my old job isn't great, but I've always wanted to specialise more in e-learning and my main aim has been to get into content creation. E-learning is a growing industry, so there are many jobs out there. Of course, the vast majority are in London and I have no desire to move back there at all. The other sticking point though is a piece of software, that I have no experience of and is very expensive to acquire. Nearly all e-learning jobs want experience in Articulate 360 and specifically in Storyline.

What is it?

Storyline is a bit like PowerPoint in some ways. You have slides and you can combine different kinds of content with transitions and animations. However, in the words of one of my favourite films, "It is so much more than just" PowerPoint. You can bring in a whole level of user interaction that PowerPoint doesn't even begin to touch. When your project is rea…

It's all about the learners

If I had to pull out one thing that defines me as a teacher, it would be that the children/ pupils/ students/ learners - whatever we call them - must come first. Everything we do... every decision we take, as managers or as educators, it must be about the learner.
JISC Digital Experience Survey 2018 Several times a week, I browse through my Edtech list on Twitter to see what's new. This week, the most interesting thing I saw was this. JISC have been asking learners for their views about all things digital, in relation to FE and HE. When I delved a little deeper and read the full report, I found that they had surveyed some Adult Learning providers and Employment and Skills providers but there were so few results that it didn't warrant a separate category on the report.

If you work in FE/HE or are interested in post-16 education, you really need to read the report. Especially, if you are responsible for IT/digital in education, this will be worth a read. Also, it has to be said,…

Phase 1 complete

The last few weeks at work have been very exciting! After what feels like months of planning, the first phase of my project, the replacement of our IT infrastructure, has actually happened. There were moments when I thought it wouldn't happen, or that something would go seriously wrong, but all the planning paid off and the actual installation went really well.

Promethean ActivPanels

This isn't the whole thing but one of the most exciting bits of this new kit, for me, is the replacement of our various makes and models of interactive whiteboards with these modern ActivPanels. I can't wait to deliver the training sessions for our tutors and other staff in a couple of weeks, as I'm sure everyone will love the ease of use and the look and feel of these.

I've used Promethean products for years now but have largely stuck to ActivInspire as my preferred software. I remember being very excited a few years ago, when my eldest son won a set of 32 ActivExpressions (voting hand…

An education revolution?

Earlier this week, I was browsing through LinkedIn on my phone and I came across a link to a government news story: New technology to spearhead classroom revolution. In the link text, I spotted that it was aimed at schools, FE and HE and that got my attention. It must be worth a read, I thought. I have to admit, when I read the first paragraph about virtual journeys through the Amazon, I almost switched off, only because that is so far removed from our daily experience of entry level maths, English and ICT that it didn't seem relevant. But then, I spotted a phrase that appealed to my love of lists and bullet points: "help tackle the five biggest issues facing schools and classroom teachers today" and I decided to find out what the government thought these five issues might be.

Did I find out what those five big issues are? Not exactly, but it referred to some of them, loosely, and they included developing innovative teaching practices, cutting teacher workload and promot…

The demise of the interactive whiteboard

A bit of personal history In 2001, I started working at a school in Calderdale, where two or three SmartBoards had just been installed as part of the first interactive whiteboard pilot. We had a teacher there, at that time, who was really into ICT for learning and she opened up training opportunities for me, that have impacted my whole career. I benefitted from some excellent SmartBoard training, which led to other ICT initiatives, which later led to me becoming an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST), specialising in ICT for learning.

In 2004, I moved to a Kirklees school, where I introduced interactive whiteboards and started working with Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). As an AST, I did quite a lot of cross-authority work, embedding new technologies into learning, using them to engage reluctant learners, address behaviour issues and generally make learning more relevant and fun. I had a kind-of career plan but that got side-stepped when we suddenly decided to move to Finland.

I imag…

New Job - new challenges

On 1st May, I began my new role as Area Manager - Digital. I still work for the council, which means I have to be careful about what I blog about, but I do want to share some of the things I am doing and learning in this new role. The first month has almost gone and it has flown by. My old job was extremely fast moving and it was easy for a week to fly past without me noticing. Well this is a different kind of busy and I much prefer it. When I was managing two busy adult learning centres, I had hundreds of different things that would all land on my desk, claiming to be urgent on a given day. For the last month, I've had one main task (with a few little extras) to concentrate on. It has been really great to be able to focus on one thing for a sustained period of time and not have other things pulling me away from it.

Project Initiation Document

So what have I spent the last three weeks doing? My new job has several IT projects attached to it. The first one is a hardware and infrastr…