This Next Great Leap Forward

SCHOMS Virtual Conference June 22 - June 24 - Book Sessions

Change in English education seems to come every 75 years or so. Sunday schools in 1800, Primary education for all in 1870, secondary education for all in 1944...  and now CoVID. Often the significance of important details took a while to be realised. As we begin the new normal, what are those important details this time? What is this next Great Leap Forward?

Stephen's "eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground" approach, coupled with a vast portfolio of effective large scale projects over three decades, have established him internationally as a widely and fondly recognized leader in the fields of learning, new media and technology.

A school teacher for more than a decade, and a professor since 1989, Stephen has worked, and is working, with learner led projects, with governments around the world, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, with schools and communities, with his PhD students and with many influential trusts and organizations.

Stephen's ICT career (he is widely credited with being the person who put the C into ICT), began with the UK government's Microelectronics Education Programme (MEP) in the early 80s, after he had been teaching in secondary schools for some years - which he enjoyed enormously.

Stephen founded and ran Ultralab for almost a quarter of a century, building it into one of the most respected research centres in e-learning in the world - at one time Ultralab was the largest producer of educational CD-ROMs in Europe - before leaving it in 2004 to found his own global and flourishing policy and learning consultancy which now has an enviable portfolio of international projects all round the world.

Stephen's learning design work extends beyond the virtual and he has a broad portfolio of new learing spaces ranging from new school and universities, to sports coaching facilities and corporate spaces. Current school projects include whole schools, Science and STEM spaces in Australia, South America, Europe, Taiwan, India and more.

A current major research direction, the Learnometer project, is an Internet of Things device monitoring all the core environmental variables impacting on cognitive processes inside learning spaces: CO2, pollution, light, temperature, sound and more. With millions of hours of data and schools all around the world installing LoMs and monitoring their resultant improvements, the aggregation of marginal gains philosophy from Stephen's work with elite sports has spilled over into some extraordinary transformations inside education too. The Learnometer data has been particularly insightful during the CoVID pandemic - highlighting, for example, the cognitive impact pf TVOCs from deep cleaning, and the importance of outdoor learning in reducing aerosol transmissions.

Around the world a string of innovative schools are proud to trace their remarkable progress back to his direct involvement. Complementing the work designing on-line communities and computing in learning, Stephen is at the heart of a global revolution in physical learning space design, with a string of major new projects worldwide including 0-21+ academies, and a complete makeover of a national education system in the Caribbean. His research project in 2003 exploring for CABE and RIBA in the UK on the impact of new pedagogies on the design of learning spaces began a new rhetoric of third millennium school design in the UK and beyond.

Stephen pioneered learning designs in the UK "Classrooms of the Future" project from 2000 (see Ingenium), completed much work in the UK Building Schools for the Future initiative from 2003, led pivotal research for CABE and RIBA on schools design, is partnering JISC in an exploration of physical environmental data from 2016, and more. Together these experiences and projects have led to Stephen being in considerable demand to transform physical learning spaces worlwide.

Much of Stephen's work is on-the-ground, practical project based. Around the world a string of innovative schools from Peru to Australia, from the emirates back to Scotland and of course in England too, are proud to trace their remarkable progress back to his direct involvement. Stephen is at the heart of a global revolution in physical learning space design, complementing the work designing on-line communities, with a string of major new projects , particularly with major elite sporting organisations, worldwide.

Recent projects included the Lindfield transformation of UTS in NSW from a university into a cluster of schools within school, and school transformation locations from the Caribbean to Scandinavia - particularly a long standing relationship with schools the SEK schools based mainly in Spain, and in Silkeborg in Denmark (see here for example), an adviser to the redevelopment of Melbourne City Libraries, Thinker in Residence at the wonderful Mark Oliphant College in South Australia, the creation of a world class Science Building of Tomorrow for Wesley College in Western Australia's Perth, the redevelopment of the old Naval College at Portland into an all-through building at the heart of stage-not-age, all-through, tech rich learning, and much more.

Our Vision: To provide strategic direction in the development and support of learning environments, systems, associated technologies, and professionals.
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