I've been working as a freelance consultant for 3 and a half years now. Working for myself has been a blast - I've had the bumpy patches and the insecurity of not necessarily knowing where my next job might come from - but I've also had the pleasure of meeting, working with and learning from many, many smart, passionate, funny and thoughtful people.
I'm extremely proud of what I've achieved with the support and confidence of my all employers, and grateful for the opportunities they've given me.
The Cyberbullying Guidance I produced for Childnet International on behalf of the Department for Children Schools and Families (now the Department for Education) gave me the opportunity to work and negotiate with all the major Social Network Service and Telecoms providers, children's charities and government agencies, and the countries school employee unions and associations, as well as talk to children across the country about their experiences of technology.
JISC Emerge was a truly creative process, and an exploration of digital identities and communities that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of, from the initial bid development to my role as Lead Community Architect. The project team, participants and contributors included many of the leading lights working in educational technology in the Further and Higher Education sector in the UK today.
Most recently, my role as critical friend in the JISC Institutional Innovation Support, Synthesis and Benefits Realisation project has meant I've got to work alongside cutting edge Green ICT and Learning Spaces projects.
I've done a huge amount of trouble shooting, policy guidance, social network strategy work and been fortunate enough to be invited to chair, run workshops, speak and deliver keynotes all over and outside of the UK. Standouts for me have to be being awarded Educational Technologist of the Year by my professional body, the Association for Learning Technology, my keynotes in Plymouth, Tipperary, Porto and my trip to Aveiro. 140Conf was a ball, as was Interesting. I even got my first gig as an after dinner speaker this year & am looking forward to my midlife crisis.
So sincere thanks to everyone who has employed me over the last four years - it has been a pleasure to work for all of you. This post would be funnier if I had an hilarious tale of clients from hell but I really don't have anything bad to say about anyone.
Huge thanks have to go to everyone in my network - all the inspirational and encouraging people I've worked alongside formally and informally. There are too many of you to thank here, so I've put together the slide show of some of the amazing people (well, the ones that would let me photograph them) and highlights from the last three years.
I'm delighted to say I've accepted a post with Leicester City Council as ICT Strategy Lead, providing leadership within the Transforming Learning Environment (TLE) division for ICT planning, policy and delivery. It's an amazing opportunity to work with schools and colleges at local level and to make a concrete, positive difference to the education of children and young people in Leicester. People who know me will know about my commitment to the local - for me, meaningful transformation is fundamentally a whole community enterprise - and to a national digital literacy strategy, which I've been banging on about for so long it actually seems on the verge of entering mainstream educational discussion.
I'm really looking forward to the new challenges ahead, and to working within the Local Authority sector at this time of major change. In terms of my consultancy practice, I'll be looking to shift my previous work with schools, colleges and Local Authorities to a partnership rather than consultancy footing, and more on some ideas for that shortly. I'll still be accepting a (very) limited amount of consultancy and I'm always interested in hearing about speaking opportunities.
Here's to the next chapter! Onwards :)