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Saturday, 29 December 2012

People of 2012 Who Changed my Life

This year began as the worst year of my life. I was not sure at the end of January how I would be able to pick myself up and move on. At school, a friend said to me that you have to keep occupied. You've got to keep working at something. As a self confessed workaholic this was not a hard instruction to follow. I started by applying and being accepted for the Google Teacher Academy, and it sort of snowballed from there.

Here is my list of 'People who changed my life in 2012':


At google I met @Jamestsanders and @predacomdom who opened my eyes to a world of creative possibilities in teaching. You are both, super inspiring, don't ever change.

Through Google Certified Teacher status I also met @IanAddison @ZoeRoss @OliverQuinlan @Stevebunce all leading the way in innovative teaching in the UK. (If you are a teacher and do not follow them on twitter then there is something wrong with you!)

@Chrisleach78 Innovator of one of my favourite conferences ever, RethinkingICT. Anyone who invites over 100 people to their school to discuss the future of ICT education in the UK deserves a medal, but to do it in such a way to truly bring people together to really make an impact is worth a mention. Your conference opened my eyes, I am not alone!

@tonyparkin sat in the same room as me at RethinkingICT and has since become one of the people I most value the opinion of. He is a Yorkshireman so says what he thinks without mincing his words, which is right up my street. He probably thinks I am stalking him, the number of times we've been at the same events this winter.

This year I've spent much of my free time (as if such a thing exists) working on @GeekGurlDiaries and through this work I've met some fantastic people. If I had not met @SophDareE I'm not sure I would have continued in this endeavour. She is forward thinking and a credit to ICT education. Technocamps should be paying her double. Every teenage geek girl must want to be like Sophie. I know I do!

One of the first women to be interview for Geek Gurl Diaries was @ZoeFCunningham who supported my idea, and her company Softwire employ female software developers and testers who were also interviewed. Without women working in the tech industry it would be difficult to inspire young people to take a second look at those subjects in school.

@kimxtom was very quick to get in touch with me from the United States to share ideas and practices as we found we were working on the same kind of stuff. Girls in IT is a global problem, and Kim invited me to speak at the online global education conference to highlight this. Kim is forward thinking, fun, and an inspiration to me.

@traveller_123  otherwise known as Claire (another Googleoid) changed my summer for the better when she helped me spend two sporting weeks attending the London Olympics. I will forever be grateful for the closing ceremony ticket she got for me. You are awesome, FACT.

@tecknoteacher aka the Raspberry Jam Man! I admire any teacher who gets out there and does something rather than just moans about the state of education. Alan goes above and beyond this. I first met him in person at a London Raspberry Jam where we discussed the use of Raspberry Pi's and computing in general. Alan has an easy manner, and great skill at bringing people together. I hope one day to be able to teach programming like him.

I first saw @phalt_ speak at a Raspberry Jam that I watched online. I was struck by his Raspberry Pi project and his interest to bring it to schools. I was also annoyed by his statement that ICT Teachers were lame. (I may be paraphrasing here) so I contacted him to tell him so. For a university student this may have seemed really odd. In fact to anyone really, but Paul and I very quickly had an understanding. He introduced me to @Sponsorcraft to help fund some equipment for GGD for which I am eternally grateful, and we even met at PyConUK. He is one to watch world of ICT Education, I warn you. Hope to see more of him in 2013!

Through my work getting girls in IT, I met @codeboom and together we worked to develop @CASinclude, an arm of the Computing At School group. Laura is one of the nicest people in education that I've ever met. She has worked tirelessly on the Cas include website, wiki and on the CAS forum whilst being a full time teacher. I hope next year to work more with Laura as we take #include to the next level running a hack day.

I cant talk about hack days and not mention @Pegleggen. Gen is a charismatic computing teacher who introduced me to @Appshed and who is driven to improve education. I was fortunate enough to meet her at MozFest this year and I hope to work with her more in the future. She is experienced in running workshops for teens and I imagine has a fantastic relationship with all her students. I aspire to be half as good at my job.

One of the first people to attempt to teach an old dog (me) new tricks (Python) was @ntoll at PyConUK. No mean feat! I think together we highlighted issues with computing education for the Python developer community that could really benefit both parties of we work together. Thanks Nick for teaching me, marking my code, and pointing me in the right direction.

@Viacaput otherwise known as Sue Street has attempted through mentoring to open my eyes to my strengths as a teacher. I still doubt many of them, but I thank her for seeing something in me to nurture. I've been very lucky to spend time talking about my career with Sue and I hope to continue the discussion in 2013.

I was fortunate enough to encounter @asbradbury from Raspberry Pi Foundation at PyConUK where he gave a keynote talk on the Pi. He, like many of the cast and crew of the foundation were very open to my ideas for teaching using the Pi. We kept over conversation going, and with his help I met and worked with @samaaron to produce a KS3 scheme of work. I'm excited to trail it in the new year! Alex and I continue to work on ideas for school and GGD but I'm still not sold on the robot arm Alex, sorry.

There are so many more people I could mention, but I think I'd be here forever. Thanks to you all for changing my life for the better. I am a very lucky girl to have met you in 2012. I hope 2013 is half as good :)