On winning ‘Learning Technologist of the Year’

On Thursday night I was humbled to be announced joint winner of the individual award for the ALT ‘Learning Technologist of the Year’. Having presented evidence of my work as a Primary teacher, it was wonderful to receive such an accolade from an organisation which has traditionally had more of a focus on the Higher Education sector.

I must take a moment to thank a few people. Firstly the many people who have supported and challenged me through the blogosphere and twitter over the past couple of years. Also deserving thanks, my headteachers Neil Hopkin and Richard Hunter for giving me the space to get involved with many things outside of my classroom role. I would also like to thank my family for supporting me through what has been a fantastic, but at times challenging, few years.

It was good to meet many people at the awards dinner, and to see the level of great work and sharing that goes on in the Learning Technologist community and Higher Education more generally. However, it struck me that this kind of community and professional network is something that simply doesn’t exist for many, possibly most, Primary teachers. This is a topic for another post, but whilst I was very happy about the judges comment on my “focus on sharing good practice with other teachers in the UK and internationally”, I can’t help feeling this is something the Primary community is in many ways lacking.

There is just one more group of people to thank, the children who have been sharing their work and their learning with me, and the world, in the last two years. Recently my focus as a teacher has shifted toward getting the environment for learning right, and then letting the children take control of the learning.

In the presentation below I share again some of the examples I showed to the judges of the award. For most of these examples my role was establishing the environment and the ethos; the children did the rest. This has been enabled by technology, but I am not sure it is limited to it. Technology has shown that in the right circumstances children can learn on their own, and this is often accepted within the subject of ICT in primary schools. I wonder if this is a lesson we should be looking to apply across the curriculum.

ICT: Integration, Communication, Independence from Oliver Quinlan on Vimeo.

Videos and examples from http://4oqblog.wordpress.com and http:www.youtube.com/rhprimary .

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4 thoughts on “On winning ‘Learning Technologist of the Year’”

  1. Good to read this Oliver. I believe that in the Learning Technology field there is a great deal of sharing and exchange that could and should go on between practitioners and researchers across all sectors of education; and that ALT can provide one effective vehicle for this.
    Seb Schmoller, Chief Executive, Association for Learning Technology (ALT)

  2. Congratulations Oliver. A much deserved award.

    I’m not sure I agree with you about the primary teaching community. For those who want to share, there is nothing to stop them doing so through blogs, just like you do.

    What is needed, though, is somewhere/one who collates and curates the information that is out there. This can be a useful central place for those new to the community.

    When I started on this road, Stephen Downes was (and still is) the starting point for a lot of useful connections.

    These days, in the corporate learning technology sector, we’ve got http://www.elearninglearning.com

    That’s where I see the gap for teachers – unless someone like the TES is doing it already?

    Cheers,

    Mark

    1. Thanks Mark!

      “For those who want to share”

      I think that is the key part of what I am getting at. For those classroom teachers who have a real drive to share, there are some great places to do so. TeachMeet events, the various TES online resources, twitter, the list goes on. There are also lots of places on and offline to find out about current developments if what you want to do is consume.

      The big “but” is that this is very much something for the highly motivated few. For those who have the time and the drive to do this it is there, but it is not a part of the normal role. Subject leaders and those with responsibility may be given non contact time in which they are meant to keep up with developments in their field, but there is not a culture that classroom teachers should be doing this, let alone contributing to the state of the field.

      As a classroom teacher I was one of those few, but meaningfully contributing and sharing took significant time and effort. I am not bemoaning that, to my mind it was well worth it. However, most Primary teachers don’t make the time to do this for many reasons. As a young person without any dependents I have the luxury of choosing to use some of my spare time in this way. Whether this is about giving teachers time, or increasing the perceived importance of such activities I am not sure, I suspect a bit of both and more besides.

      What I do know is these activities are hugely valuable, and to tap into them in the large scale way that will make significant difference to the system in this country requires significant culture change.

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