It has now been 27 years since I started teaching!!! OMG!!!From 1988 to 1989 I completed a PGCE in secondary school education where my specialist subjects were Economics and Social Science. I completed a term’s teaching practice in a medium sized comprehensive school in New Earswick, a small village on the outskirts of York. During the whole period of the course and the placement the nearest thing I got to any form of technology was the over-head projector in the classroom. I occasionally got to use the ‘Bander machine’ for making student handouts but the queues of teachers waiting to use this were so long most teachers gave up and did a different activity.
The following year I started working as part time lecturer in a FE College in Leeds and then three years later as a full time lecturer in a London FE College, teaching Economics and Politics related courses (mainly A level and Access). For the next 13 years I was mainly a classroom teacher, although I started to drift into roles with some management responsibility. Over this period I came to embrace the use of technology in my teaching. First with my economics students I started using CDRoms as a form of revision. At that time a third of their exam marks were based on a multiple choice test and of the three exam papers it was the one the students got the worst results. The CDRoms allowed the students to practice the exam questions as many times as they wanted freeing up time for me to work on a one to one or small group basis with the students. Their exam results improved and I furthered my use of computers as the internet became more freely available (and affordable). So that by 2000 I had got my institution’s permission to set up a free open source piece of technology called ‘Moodle’. Initially, I built the Moodle site around the courses I was teaching but within a short period of time my colleagues were asking me to set up courses for them on my Moodle site for then to use with their students. I had no idea that this would escalate into something more. Eventually that site became the College’s Virtual learning Environment (VLE).
As word spread of my activities, increasingly I got asked to contribute to staff development days and I gave sessions on how technology could be integrated and used in the classroom into what if often referred to as ‘Blended learning’. As I started training teachers in the practicalities of using learning technology I then progressed into my next job as a Lecturer in Education at the University Centre Croydon. Over the next five years I taught on three different courses; CertEd, DTLLES and BA in Education. The students on all three courses were mainly FE lecturers and I taught a variety of modules but again specialised in designing and delivering modules on learning technology.
Four years ago I was offered the position of ‘Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor’ at Regent’s University London. The immediate response of one of my colleagues was that I had gone over to the ‘dark side’. I knew straight away what he meant by this remark. He had heard the word ‘Technology’ in my job title and assumed I had got a job in the IT department of the university. More recently my job title has changed to the Deputy Learning Technology Manager which is my current position. In my current role I no longer teach students but am mainly involved with staff training and managing software systems, such as the VLE, the Media Library and the assignment submission systems.
The own personal career trajectory over this 25 year period has closely followed the exponential rise of technology in universities and higher education colleges over this period. I went from a classroom teacher using virtually no aspects of technology to a manager of software systems that every lecturer at my university is expected to use.