How you got involved in Edtech.
I joined Basingstoke College of Technology, or BCoT, as a games development student and I was hired as a Learning Technologist apprentice in 2016. My job was to train staff and students in using educational technology to enhance teaching and learning.
My former manager, Scott Hayden, has always been an inspiration to me. I love the way he had an idea, stuck with it, and believed it into a reality. My former coworker, Sky Caves, was also a big inspiration for me as a woman in EdTech as she’s very much a go-getter and really supported me in realising nothing is too big for me to achieve. Out of the educational world, my mum is a massive inspiration to me as she’s such a strong woman and will make sure she gets what she needs and, also, Selena Gomez who believes in kindness over everything.
I had an incredible time as an apprentice at BCoT and I would recommend BCoT or an apprenticeship, or even both, to anyone. My apprenticeship really helped me grow out of my shell and I learnt it was okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and do better next time. After two years, I was hired as a permanent member of staff, and it only got better as my first year I won the EduFuturists Student Digital Champion of the Year award and in my final year, my GCSE and Functional Skills maths website was recognised in the EdTech 2020.
Your use of social media
I believe in the power of social media. Scott hired me as an apprentice due to my use of social media. It’s so important to not only be yourself, but also to be kind. You have no idea what the person you’re talking to on the other end is going through, but I also understand the frustration of social media as it’s such an easy way to hide and be someone else. I will always encourage the professional use of social media, but my advice will also be: don’t be a robot, have some personality.
Your view of education in the future
I think education is only getting bigger and better, and that’s only thanks to the incredible teachers who are putting so much work and effort in to ensure that our students still get a great educational experience. I am worried about the students as things are difficult, and I know the teachers are struggling but you’ll only see that on Twitter, in the classroom, they’re strong, inspiring, motivating and ready for absolutely anything. I admire teachers. We are moving onto a much more student focused world which is what we need as we move into a digital society. As long as we keep putting students at the centre of everything we do, and consistently gaining their feedback to improve and valuing and respecting them as individuals who might one day take our place in front of the classroom, we have nothing to worry about.
Being at uni during COVID
It has been incredibly lonely but I suppose I am lucky in a sense that I am able to pick up easily the new online tools we are using in the virtual classroom. I supported BCoT with moving to a virtual college, and I am now supporting the university to do a similar move, implementing better tools for a smoother transition. I think I could talk about my worries and concerns forever about a COVID university but I don’t want to make it negative. I’d like to just give some advice of ‘your students are stressed, please be kind and gentle, we’re not having a great time, and we’re struggling to keep our heads above water’. I think it’s really important that we invest in more mental health support, if we can waste money on technology that isn’t working, we can reinvest in inclusive mental health services.