Areas of educational interest: I first developed an enthusiasm in the use of computers for supporting Education as an undergraduate student when I used them to build Numerical Control simulations for industrial production machinery. Today I am particularly interested in the deployment of cloud based services to support teaching and learning by providing better access to content and enabling enhanced communication between learners, educators and between the two groups.
Why I’m involved in Education Fast Forward: My initial involvement with EFF was to help extend access to the debates by broadcasting them to the Internet in real time. I see great value in having a group of dedicated and expert educationalists conducting a debate which is made widely and conveniently accessible. I believe in the concept that “education is an enabler” and would like to see better access for young people throughout the world. EFF has been and enlightenment to me – particularly when I see the valuable contribution that the young debaters have made in the last two debates. I aim to continue my support for the events to make the issues raised in debates even more accessible and to challenge policy and decision makers around the world to provide better opportunities for today’s young people.
Jim has a long experience of deploying ICT to support the Education process. He has worked at all levels of education including work as a teacher (Secondary education – 10 years) and Senior Lecturer (HE – teacher education – 16 years). During a period of 28 years Jim fulfilled a range of job roles from classroom teacher to senior lecturer with a growing emphasis as an Educational ICT adviser and strategist.
In the mid 1990’s Jim undertook his first secondment when he was the lead National Development Officer as part of Scotland’s Education Superhighways Task Force. This resulted in the publication of the handbook for developing the use of ICT and the Information Superhighway for education purposes in Scottish schools. This work laid a foundation for subsequent work that lead to the establishment of the Scottish Schools Digital Network (SSDN) Program which included the implementation of the SSDN Interconnect and Glow.
Jim was seconded from his position of Senior Lecturer and Director of the Digital Campus to work full time with UKERNA (now Janet UK) and the Scottish Government to specify, procure and commence operation of the SSDN Interconnect. The Interconnect provided the first real high speed internet service for Scottish Schools and local government reaching all 32 of Scotland’s Local Authorities. Jim then moved to a full time position as the Chief Technology Adviser at Learning and Teaching Scotland when his primary focus was to oversee technical aspects of the design, procurement and setup of Glow. Glow was then described as a country wide Intranet providing accounts for all pupils (750,000), teachers (75,000) and parents, scaled to support a potential user base of approximately 1.5 million users. Glow included various online web applications including e-mail, forums, document sharing, desktop conferencing, video sharing and secure file exchange.
Jim then spent six years working as a Vertical Solutions Architect for Cisco International Ltd. During this period he focused on the appliance of technology to bring added value to the processes of teaching & learning and organisation management & administration. Jim served initially as the Education VSA in Cisco’s Emerging Markets Public Sector organisation (covering 128 countries) and the after a company reorganisation in a similar role in the EMEAR Education team. Jim regularly engaged with customers at the country wide strategic level and also helped develop Cisco’s partner network in the context of Education. Jim also worked with key staff in Cisco’s product business units to influence the development of Cisco products for the Education market place.
After leaving Cisco in late 2013, Jim formed RuachOnline Ltd. The focus of this initiative is to provide a range of services to work with key strategic decision makers at country and international levels including:
- Advising on technology and education strategies across all levels of Education.
- Online learning platform design.
- Driving new initiatives to deploy and embed technology into education practice.
- Facilitating best use of technology to gain improved education outcomes