We have decided to start a new blog series for the start of the school year. Nic and Jules have been busy working out just who inspires them - who the real TechnoTeachers are for the TechnoTeachers! We also wanted to hear from voices in the field and hear their stories.
Our first post features the incredible Alan Peat. He describes himself on Twitter as "(Fellow of both the RSA and Historical Association) International author / Educational Consultant -high impact training, books and apps". We see him an inspirational educator for the digital age. Here is his interview:
Why did you initially decide to become a teacher?
"I initially decided to become a teacher for selfish reasons - I enjoyed music and history and writing and I couldn’t think of a job which would allow me to explore all of my interests BUT then realised that Primary school teaching would! I used be less honest about this but as I grew older I realised that it was’t such a bad thing - my selfish reasons for entering the profession meant that I was always excited by the possibilities of the job (…though the paperwork sometimes got me down!) Enthusiasm is contagious - I was happy teacher."
How did you move from being a classroom teacher to being a consultant/writer?
"I wrote two poetry books which were accepted for publication and that was the start of my transition from teacher to consultant/writer. I also wrote articles for magazines like ‘TES Primary’ and ‘Teaching Thinking’ - these functioned as a free form of advertising for what I did. After that it has been a question of ‘word of mouth’ and hard slog. I’ve written at least one book a year for the last 16 years."
Top Tips for gaining a following on Social Media? (Alan currently has 17.7K Twitter followers - @alanpeat)
"Be polite; share ideas as well as self-promote and respond to requests as often as possible. It currently takes me about 8-10 hours a week to respond to everything on Twitter and Facebook - I do that all myself and think that it is important to personalise what we do.
Why do you think it is important to grow as a teacher/ share your ideas with others?
"As soon as you think you have all the answers you’re finished! That’s why it is important t constantly be curious about new developments. I think it is important to look beyond the professional pedagogues - many new ideas have arrived tangentially - visiting museums and gallery exhibitions etc. Several of my educational blogs began with a visit to an exhibition at an art gallery. I also write art history books and like the wider perspective that lends my educational work."
Here are Alan's top pieces of work - in his words. He says "My favourites are the team efforts…"
1. "The www.thecepress.com website - beautifully (and cleanly) designed by Simon Matthews. It showcases all our books and apps."
2. "Of my books, ‘Cinderella 50 Ways To Retell A Story’ is important to me because it was co-written with my wife and eldest stepson. We’re currently working on an Ebook version with some new additions! Details will be tweeted soon!"
3. "Of the apps iVisualiser was a labour of love - it turns an iPad into portable visualiser. Difficult to explain in words so we created movie to SHOW what it does - this can be seen at www.visualiser.com The app is now used in 86 countries - design by Simon Matthews and coding by Doug Stitcher."
4. "The things I’m most excited about are the projects I’m currently working on. I hope that will also be the case in 30 years. I’ll be in my eighties then and like my good friend and co-author Professor Brian Whitton (…who has just turned 80 plant hunting above 4300 metres in the mountains of China) I don’t intend to stop. I’ll be ‘on the road less’ in 2 or 3 years but I can’t imagine that the curiosity that has always driven me will ever disappear."
TECHNOTEACHER TOP TIP
"My final, and most important tip is to work with people who can do their parts of the job better than you can - ensure that people work WITH you rather than FOR you (more than a semantic distinction!) and pay them properly. If someone puts in half the effort they should be paid half the money."
Alan Peat's website can be found here.
Alan - Thank you from the TechnoTeachers for your time and efforts with this. We hope you enjoying hearing from TechnoTeachers in the Field - and if you have any that would either like to hear from or want us to contact, please let us know!
Next time: We interview TechnoTeacher, Alice Keeler - the Google Guru!
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This is where Jules and Nic will post articles, links to interesting sites and things that we think our TechnoTeachers will like.