Hi, I’m Oliver Quinlan. I’m a researcher, writer, educator and electronic musician. I’m based in London, UK.
I am driven by figuring out how people and complex ideas can be clearly understood. I’ve spent my career at the intersection between technology, research and learning.
I’m currently working as a Senior User Researcher at Government Digital Service, the UK Government’s central team to make digital government simpler, clearer and faster for everyone.
I’ve always loved learning and tried to be a generalist, studying arts, humanities and sciences at A level, while producing music as a side project. I studied History at the University of Sheffield, and led the student radio station alongside my studies. I started my career supporting schools with using new technologies, then studied a Primary PGCE (teaching qualification) at the University of Warwick.
I was a primary school teacher in Birmingham, and supported lots of teachers with using new technologies. I moved into Higher Education to teach Education Studies, Science and Computing to aspiring teachers at the University of Plymouth. I also wrote a book for teachers on challenging assumptions behind what educators do.
I got increasingly interested in research and moved to London to work at the think tank Nesta, where I led various trials into new technologies in schools. I wrote the policy report ‘Young Digital Makers‘ in the UK.
Then I moved to the Raspberry Pi Foundation where I have worked on understanding the impact the charity is having on young people. I led Gender Balance in Computing, a collection of trials exploring ways to encourage more girls into computing for the UK government. I also worked with Dr. Sue Sentance to build an academic research team, which has spun out as the Raspberry Pi Computing Education Research Centre with the University of Cambridge.
I’ve been blogging through my career on what I have learned, how digital technologies impact how we learn and are educated, and earlier how I used technology as a teacher.
I regularly write to subscribers on things I’m learning loosely themed on learning, tech and ideas.
I’m an electronic musician, and have released music on labels like Traum Schallplatten, Poker Flat, and my own label Cirrus Sounds under the name ‘Mentat‘. I also create functional ambient music on YouTube on the channel ‘Synth Soundscapes‘.