I studied Industrial Design at Brunel University, graduating in 1995. As a final year project I developed a multimedia kiosk based on the Science Museum’s Space Gallery. This project combined with time working in a school sparked an interest in educational software development.
In 1995, I started as a Research Assistant at the University of Hertfordshire working with the IDER group initially on a one year contract developing Design Builder. Design Builder was a CD-ROM based learning packaged that used AI techniques to create virtual experts to guide students through the design and manufacture of a winch. The system was sold to over 100 Universities and Colleges worldwide. Work then started on Blueprint, a repurposed version targeted at schools.
In 1998 I moved to the Learning Technology Development Unit. This was a new unit focused on using educational technologies to support learning and teaching. Here I developed a range of educational software, such as simulations, online courses, and CD-ROMs and delivered training courses, including a module on our academic development course. In 2000 I designed and built the first version of the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, StudyNet.
My work with IDER continued and Blueprint was launched in the summer of 1999. It has been sold to a number of schools and also the Scottish Engineering Education Scheme.
Since 2001, my focus has been the support and development of the Managed Learning Environment for the University. This system, featuring individual customisable portals and course websites for every university course, has been developed using a range of technologies such as Lotus Domino, Glashfish, and is available using any web browser. My work managing StudyNet’s development means I’ve closely with most areas of the University to develop StudyNet to support the requirements of the learning and teaching of the University. This has given me a thorough understanding of Learning and Teaching and the application of technology to support learning. But I never put technology before pedagogy.
Recently, my role has expanded to include a responsibility for the wider user experience as User Experience Development Manager. Despite a much wider remit, anything from the University’s website, to the technology in classrooms, my focus continues to be to improve the learning experience of our students.
Towards the end of my time with IDER I started an MPhil investigating how computer technology could be used to aid conceptual design. However, when I moved to the LTDU I decided that ‘spare’ time should be focused on supporting the IDER project and to bring Blueprint to the marketplace.
I hail from Middlesbrough and I’m a lifelong Boro supporter, attending as many matches are possible. Since 2010, I’ve rediscovered a love of music and developed a passion for gig photography. Most weeks you can find me in tiny venues across London trying to discover the ‘next big thing’. You can follow my adventures on my companion gig blog, Flickr, and my photo website