A view from The Pod … and the screen! A reflection of my work in education

July 3, 2024

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Meet Mel, our Trust IT Lead for Teaching & Learning

For the past 24 years, the view from my “office window” hasn’t been of a bustling cityscape or a calming nature scene. It’s been the ever-changing landscape of education, a world I’ve been lucky enough to explore from many angles.  The walls of the classroom haven’t just been my workplace, they’ve been my playground.

My journey began as a teaching assistant, an observer soaking up knowledge from experienced colleagues. Throughout these years, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside incredible professionals, each one a source of inspiration and knowledge.  One thing though has remained constant: the incredible privilege of working with some of society’s most vulnerable. Witnessing societal inequalities firsthand shaped my core belief – education is the ultimate life-changer.  Every adult working with children has the power to make a difference, and that responsibility never lost its weight.

That realisation fuelled my own learning. I progressed to becoming a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) with a specialisation in IT. This opened doors to exploring the growing role of technology in education, with the chance to continuously learn and grow alongside other professionals was invaluable. Training sessions equipped me with fresh ways to integrate creativity in the classroom, particularly with the ever-evolving world of technology.

The past (almost) three years at White Woods Academy Trust have been a true privilege. Here, surrounded by a team passionate about relational practice and holistic child development, I’ve had the honour of serving as the ICT Teaching and Learning Support Lead. Witnessing how all our schools have become equipped to deliver a more engaging, technology-driven curriculum has been immensely rewarding.

Looking back, it’s been fascinating and exciting to witness the evolution of technology in education. From the early days of the government’s push for technology in primary schools (and the challenges that came with it!) to the sophisticated models we have today, the journey has been remarkable. We’ve traded the time-consuming dial-up for high-speed broadband, slow-booting computers for powerful touch-controlled handheld devices, and overhead projectors for interactive smart boards with near-instant Internet access. Technology has revolutionised the classroom experience, allowing teachers to move beyond the front of the room and engage students throughout the learning space. This personalised approach to learning pushes beyond the physical boundaries of the classroom walls.  Personalised learning is now accessible anywhere, anytime, empowering students and teachers alike.

And now, we stand on the cusp of even more innovation, with machine learning and AI emerging as powerful tools.  Did I ever imagine using AI to translate the jumbled thoughts and memories in my head into a clear, readable document! 

My journey in education has been a thrilling, unpredictable one.

However, as the school year draws to a close, so too does my time in formal education. While this chapter comes to an end, the lessons learned and the connections made will stay with me forever.

As I step towards early retirement, my focus will shift to family and personal pursuits. But the view from my window, wherever that may be, will undoubtedly continue to hold a glimpse of the classroom, a testament to the impact this profession has had on my life.

Mel

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