Many of you will know that after some 10 years working for Ultralab, I have decided to seek new pastures on which to graze and explore. I've had a wonderful time, working with inspirational people and a very supportive team on projects which are innovative and which I've been passionate about. However, as with all good things, it is time to move on and find new opportunities, challenges and adventures!
I have spent quite a bit of time travelling this past week, and it allowed me to consider the range of projects I became involved in, whilst working at Ultralab. The Ultralab Timeline puts some of this into context.
Shortly after joining Ultralab in 1996 whilst studying for my BEd Education Hons degree, I instantly became involved in several projects.
One of which was Learning in the New Millennium (LiNM) with Carole and Greta. Working with Nortel (the big telecommunications company), we were tasked to find out what, if at all, online communities brings to communities of learners in schools and industry. Watch Stephen Heppell talk about the LiNM project. This was a fascinating project, we learnt heaps about children as lecturers as we did about engineers as learners.
I was also working on the CarnaudMetalbox schools project, with Julia Duckworth and 13 schools based around the UK. Here we were supporting schools to establish little web-based projects, largely HTML websites and using the community of other schools to comment and critique each others' work.
The Online Learning Network (OLN) was established and I supported Leonie Ramondt (having just arrived from Australia) in setting up the Online Community, using FirstClass.
The lab bought a class set of Apple Macintosh Performa computers for the Learning Lab, read the to-do list (oldest document I can find that I wrote to do with my work at Ultralab in 1997.
MilliMail concept was born, an email address for every pupil.
Tom Smith worked on Spinalot, whilst I looked at implementing this community tool on several projects, one of which was CarnaudMetalbox.
Working with pupils and staff from Walthamstow School for Girls, together we helped them produce a multimedia CD-ROM.
I began working on early conceptions of eTui, a toy to research children's understanding of meta-level learning.
Worked on implementing an online community (LiveForum) for the departments in Anglia Polytechnic University, as it was then.
1999 - 2003.
I took up a role as a Year 3/4 teacher and ICT co-ordinator at Westlands Community Primary School. I instigated many new innovations in ICT...
- a portfolio tool for children to share their work with others, called iShare.
- used virtual reality panoramas for visitors to the website to view the school. The school is quite a bit different nowadays however.
- developed a tool for producing school reports that allowed you to use statement banks approaches to writing, and edit them to suit.
- enabled teachers and governors to have access to school network servers from home for planning and assessment purposes.
- was a panel member for Essex LEA Broadband Consortium charged with rolling out Broadband into the county. The remit was also to provide a framework for how this technology can be used to enhance the learning opportunities for children.
I returned to Ultralab to lead the development of Ultraversity software to support researchers in their online work based degree programme, where the studying and communication between researchers and facilitators is mostly online.
I spent the next two and half years on many other projects,
There's a whole heap of work that I haven't mentioned, of course, but you get the idea.
The past decade has been intensely rewarding at every level, I wish the Ultralab team well in the future and look forward to finding opportunities where our paths cross and where our work is of mutual benefit. Meanwhile, I am tasked with leading the National Hemiplegia Organisation as Director of Learning Technology and making learning more delightful at Stepping Stones school... to coin part of Ultralab's mission statement! More on this in the weeks to come.