GECFutures Project: Closing Digital and Gender gaps in the UK
We want to shine a light on what is happening out there - and inspire improved take-up of digital opportunities by female teachers, students and #womenintech.
Therefore we are launching the GECFutures Project.
Here is the team.
All of our leaders are proven experts in their fields and are passionate about closing digital and gender gaps in the UK. We will launch in September 2018at the The Edtech Podcast Festival 2018 - but please get in contact if you would like us to work with you before then. One of the key issues is that digital women are still in the minority. You now know where to find us!
If you want to get involved we would love to hear from you - #collaboratenotcompetition is our motto (and #rebelalliance!).
Let me introduce you to the gang....
Nicole is co-founder of the GEC and a Digital Education Specialist. After 16 years of working in classrooms, she is a Teaching Award winner, AST of Media and New Technologies and was listed this year in the EdTech50for her digital work on gender equality in the UK. In 2014 Harvard published her book, TechnoTeaching: Taking Practice to The Next Level in a Digital World.
She works as a freelance digital education specialist for a number of global organisations and charities. She is the Digital Education Project Lead for Achievement for All, a leading not-for-profit educational organisation improving outcomes for all children and young people.
Nicole is an Apple Teacher, Microsoft Innovator Educator Expert and has written online courses for a range of clients including Anti-bullying for FutureLearn, Inclusive Digital Literacy for Microsoft's MEC and a range of digital curriculums and guides for private organisations. She is an External Subject Advisor for Media (OCR), part of the MEA and passionate about all students being both media and digitally literate.
Her editorial and writing portfolio includes The Guardian, The TES and she is both Agony Aunt and a frequent for both TeachWire (and just been listed Top 15 TeachWire blogs of the 2018) and Innovate My School. .
She is delighted to be a Doctorate candidate at Bournemouth University CEOP, exploring closing digital and gender gaps in the UK.
Nic is the mum of three (a Primary aged son and toddler boy/girl twins) and lives with her family by the south coast.
Product bridges the gap between Technology and all the other business areas and it’s in this collaborative hub position that Cat Wildman is most at home.
Obsessed with data and solving customer problems, Cat’s MO is creating accountable product super-teams consisting of empowered leaders who run products as businesses within a business. She is currently Director of Digital Product for The Telegraph group.
Cat is an award-winning and established leader and a mentor, she loves talking at conferences and schools about Digital Product as well as the issues she is active in: women in STEM and gender equality.
Here is a her recent 'Tech Talks' interview about product 'hygiene' and getting the best out of her team, as well as her path into technology and encouraging more girls to follow in that path.
Cat is also a mum of two in leafy Berkshire. Ensuring that girls and boys have gender equal schools and homes is something she is passionate about. Please read the blog that set all of the GEC off here!
Kristy has been a Primary School Teacher for six years, where she had the experience of taking on a Computing Co-Ordinator role for 5 years. Through this she developed the use of 1-1 devices alongside Microsoft technologies. Kristy also delivered supportive CPD to fellow colleagues including NQT’s and Student teachers to ensure they were skilled in the use of innovative technologies.
Within the classroom Kristy used OneNote, Skype and other Office 365 products in her daily teaching, saving myself time and widening opportunities for independent learning as well as collaboration.
Through this Kristy developed her passion and love of technology, in particular she loved "how it could ‘switch on’ a child and engage and inspire them in their learning". From there, she went on to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Skype Master Teacher and now, recently, a UK Microsoft Learning Consultant - working across the UK.
"I felt really lucky to have been selected for this new role with Microsoft, a secondment for a year. Microsoft as a company was already championing the need for more women in digital roles, and as a representative of their partnership I put together a host of inspirational women driven initiatives, already existing at Microsoft, in a specialised page on the Microsoft Educator Community".
Kristy says, "I suppose like many, prior to my recent role, I was slightly naïve to the influence I could have on young girls to empower them in edtech careers, perhaps stumbling into my own pathway with technology by chance. I hadn’t realised how much I myself was inspired by the passionate women colleagues that I came across both in my school and at Microsoft; therefore I hadn’t appreciated that I too could be an inspiration. So that’s why I want to get behind GECFutures. We are all influencers in edtech; I feel have a duty to ensure that young girls and women believe they can experience a career - a digital career - not just by luck as I first thought I did, but through inspiration, belief in themselves and not allowing anyone to say that they don’t belong!"
Cat is a former primary school teacher with a passion for coding and computer science. She now travels the word igniting a passion for techno-geekery in teachers and young people.
The first computer program was written by a woman and history is littered with influentional women who changed the face of computing and yet, many girls think it's a boys subject.
Cat feels passionately that coding is for everyone and that with the right role models, more young women can become involved and develop a passion for it.
Rachel Smith is a modern foreign languages teacher and has been teaching for 20 years. She has worked in a number of comprehensive schools, principally in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire but Rachel is now now Digital Leader and foreign language teacher at a secondary school in Douglas, on the Isle of Man.
She recalls thinking, when just 15 years old, having just chosen her subjects for GCSE that she would never, ever have to use computers at work so there was no need to choose computer science GCSE. How wrong she was.
In 2012 Rachel was given an iPad to trial in her classroom and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2015 she was delighted to be selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator. She is now fortunate enough to sit on the Apple Distinguished Educator’s Board for Europe, India, Africa and the Middle East.
Rachel believes that edtech tends to be a very male dominated area, but there are some amazing women doing incredible things in terms of education technology. "I think it’s time that we shone a light on these women and in doing so show our students and our daughters that technology isn’t just a male thing and you don’t have to be bullish to have your ideas heard. I believe GECFutures will aid this. Technology is for everyone, we all have something to bring to the table."
Catherine has taught science in mainstream secondary schools in the U.K. for 12 years. In 2012, her school introduced iPad 1:1 with students, which she supported as lead digital practitioner, overseeing teaching and learning with 1:1 devices across the school and becoming an Apple Distinguished Educator, class of 2015.
Catherine now works part time as an Assistant Headteacher at a school with limited digital equipment, supporting more effective use of the technology available and a small-scale iPad project in Science. She also works with a local app developer, providing teaching insight, feedback and customer support materials for an iOS classroom workflow app.
Catherine has a keen interest in the role of gender in both school and day-to-day life, following her involvement as lead for her school with the Institute of Physics’ Opening Doors project in 2015. Of particular interest is the role of unconscious bias in the perpetuation of gender stereotypes in schools and society, and what teachers can do to recognise and tackle this.
Pamela Algie is an Early Years teacher from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
She has been teaching in Foundation Stage for the past eight years in both mainstream and nurture group classes. In her current role, she is Head of Foundation Stage as well as class teacher for a bunch of lively 4-5 year olds. In 2017, Pamela was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator.
Pamela regularly leads training sessions, participates in TeachMeets and is a very active tweeter. Pamela is passionate about helping young children develop as creative, kind and resilient learners - well able for a future we can’t yet imagine.
From the 8 year old girl, who spent hours programming the ZX Spectrum to the young teacher, who was the only one brave enough to teach ICT during an OFsted inspection, computing has always been a passion and strength. Kylie was never afraid to give something ago, something she’s very proud to say that her dad encouraged.
"I have led computing for most of my teaching career, in a variety of settings. More recently in a large primary school in Cornwall where my focus has been to promote technology across our school."
Becki has been a secondary school teacher for over 15 years in south Wales, initially teaching RE, MFL and Psychology but then moving to teaching ICT and Computer Science after spending two years developing the use of tablets across the curriculum. Becki currently leads on the Digital Competency Framework in her secondary school, an integral part of the new curriculum coming to Wales. She also coordinates the ICT learning network for the local consortium, advising and supporting teachers and schools across the five local authorities in the region. She is developing a digital leading team in her school to develop the use of Google, Microsoft and Apple solutions so that her students really do have choice in terms of the platforms they can use.
Becki is really excited by the new curriculum being developed in Wales and believes it will have a real impact on future generations, she is always looking at ways to engage with its development. This academic year she has developed a project based approach to learning and is using the ICT lessons to promote ESDGC, PSHE and Curriculum Cymreig priorities to offer her pupils a real life experience of the use of ICT and technology. She is beginning a EdD this year, with a focus on the role of digital technologies in schools and the impact this has on staff wellbeing.
Having twin girls (now in year 4) has also made her focus much more on gender equality in all fields and making sure that every path is open to her girls in the future.
Every day as Head of Digital Content Delivery at Pearson College London is completely different.
Currently I’m focussing on enabling staff to use more video to deliver and enhance their teaching which means i’m spending some time ‘behind the scenes’ investigating new storage platforms and video streaming. This also entails researching best blended and video learning practice so I can create resources for staff to show them how and why video can be integrated into their practice.
I also make sure our VLE is working, check for updates, upgrades and potential issues, and communicate with other areas of the business about what is going on so there aren’t any issues for staff or students. I also chair our Learning Technology and IT Committee so need to ensure that any projects are on track and that i’ve carried out my actions. I see my role as a bit like the technical glue that binds The College together – being attached to teaching and learning, Student Services, the library and our IT infrastructure. Sometimes I feel like a Jack of all trades! It’s always evolving and never dull.
I’m lucky to work somewhere that stretches and challenges me on a daily basis.
Katie Hall is a former secondary school teacher who now works for the Education team at Esri UK, a leading supplier of Geographical Information System (GIS) software. GIS are used across a range of industries, and Esri software has played a critical role in many different projects - from creating an animal city in Disney’s Zootopia through to the recent Tham Luang cave rescue. GIS is also now part of the National Curriculum for Geography, and Esri UK have made their ArcGIS Online software free for all UK schools to help them start. You can find out more about the programme at https://schools.esriuk.com/
Katie runs training in schools for teachers, helping to establish GIS as a tool for delivering great content, and helps to facilitate community GIS. Currently she’s working with the #BePlasticClever campaign, looking to save the planet by reducing single-use plastic pollution (get involved here!). The Esri UK GeoMentors programme, where professional users of the technology connect with schools to provide practical support and raise awareness of incredible career opportunities in GIS, is also looked after by Katie.
“I’m very lucky that I get to work with fantastic students and amazing teachers. There’s still a lot to be done, and lots of challenges, but I’m excited to help make classroom GIS a reality for everyone.”
Jade Parkinson-Hill is the founder of Steam School. Recently launched in the U.K. Steam School broadcasts interviews with inspirational people from the worlds of science, tech and digital media into schools crossed the U.K. help young people to prepare for careers in the tech sector.
Jade’s career has spanned both the tech and education world. For more than a decade, she has worked in the UK education sector launching new schools and delivering entrepreneurship projects to students and communities across the North West of England. In 2015, Jade was named one of the 'top 100 women in games' in recognition of her role in establishing the UK's first 'geek' school in Liverpool.
Jade has been interviewed on TV, radio and the press, including the BBC, Radio 4 and The Times Education Supplement talking about her passions of tech and entrepreneurship, in particular, motivating and supporting young entrepreneurs.
Jodie is an Edtech Ninja Superhero! (Although shhhh! Her official job title is Edtech Business Consultant) Jodie has a background in customer service and sales before she became a primary school teacher. She won a number of awards for her work in the classroom and beyond, as she used education technology to broaden the horizons of pupils at her inner-city London pupils, and also harnessed tech for the good of communication and administration for all staff members and parents.
Since leaving the classroom in 2012 Jodie has gone on to work for Pearson, launching their Champion Schools Programme across a number of products, then as Head of Education at Classroom Monitor working on customer engagement and retention. She advised hundreds of schools on assessment in the wake of the loss of levels in 2014.
Now Jodie has her own brand - lovEdtech - which supports edtech businesses with everything related to customer engagement - from comms to product management and the spectrum in between and beyond. Jodie is passionate about technology as a means to both inspire and facilitate. She knows that technology can be both bought, managed, and produced on a budget if needed, but values the efficiency which technology provides and ensures school money is well spent.
Jodie fell into edtech by accident as she is blind in one eye which makes her handwriting "pretty atrocious!" She has seen, over the years, how she has become a role model to students she has taught both for being a woman in tech and also someone using tech to overcome disability.
Kellie is a teacher and Digital Learning Leader at Cornist Park Primary School. Kellie is passionate about enhancing teaching and learning by embedding digital technology in the classroom. She has recently returned to the classroom after a secondment as Regional Digital Leader for North Wales. Kellie has been a part of many panels, spoken at international events, been interviewed on TV, radio and the press talking about her approach to online safety and digital citizenship in her school with learners, staff, parents, governors and within the local community.
Kellie is a Digital Pioneer for Welsh Government and was part of the team who produced the Digital Competence Framework for Wales. She continues to work with Welsh Government to create the new curriculum for Wales. Kellie’s work has been recognized nationally resulting in her being awarded Pearson Teacher of the Year for Wales amongst other national awards for her approach to digital learning and digital citizenship. She is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and was selected to represent the UK at the Microsoft Global Education Exchange (E2) in Singapore. She is also a Google Certified Educator and eCadet Ambassador.
Holly is a social media law and ethics specialist (a job that didn’t exist 10 years ago!) and runs OnlineMediaLawUK.com. She is passionate about educating digital users of all ages about the legal risks of online media and how to avoid them. Her training for schools project reached more than 15,000 young people in 50+ schools in 2016-17, thanks to collaboration with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office for Surrey and Eagle Radio Ltd.
Alongside her PhD research into youth perceptions of ‘risk’ online, Holly works as a freelancer providing social media training and consultancy for businesses, charities and universities… But working in schools is still her favourite. Her background in media and journalism makes her pretty outspoken, especially on issues such as gender inequality, so she’s delighted to be a part of GEC Futures.