This blog is written by me, Daniel Hunnisett, a teacher/student/thinker/development worker/programmer/writer/mini adventurer/DJ/photographer/mountain biker with an ongoing identity crisis.
My current mission is to learn everything I can about the world of ed tech, brush up on my technical skills and connect with other people and organisations who share my vision for better education through technology.
I am passionate about education, and especially the possibilities created by new technology. The world is changing. In an incredibly short space of time we have gone from a world where knowledge is a scarce and valuable commodity, to a world of information abundance with a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. I believe that our old education ideas need to adapt or be left obsolete, and I want to contribute to this process.
I began my journey to this point with my degree course. I studied Cognitive Science, a mash up of artificial intelligence, psychology and philosophy. It was perfect combination, combining computer science and logic, which have always come naturally to me, with a fascinating wider perspective on thinking and learning.
Following this, wanting to work with people and contribute something of value, I trained as an ICT teacher, and worked for three years teaching Science and ICT to teenagers with social and emotional problems. This was where I first began to see how technology could and should be an amazing tool for learning and motivation. I helped to make ICT an integral part of the school, and in my own teaching began experimenting with animation, film and interactive applications as teaching and learning tools. At the same time, I grew frustrated with how ed tech companies seemed obsessed with keeping their tools closed, expensive and inflexible.
My next step was into development work. I was employed in Guyana through VSO as a Special Needs Advisor for a region of the country. Many of the problems with the education system there were like an exaggerated caricature of our own – too much testing, a rigid approach that expects everyone to progress at the same rate, and a curriculum which step by step turns children off from learning and stifles their curiosity. I began to wonder if the new, connected world could be an opportunity to re-think school in Guyana and back home, and give children and teachers back some autonomy.
After finishing my placement in Guyana, I spent some time travelling in Venezuela and Colombia. Even this experience was transformed by the web – I used Duolingo, blogs and a Kindle to learn spanish, Couchsurfing.org to meet locals along the way and facebook and email to keep chatting to them when I moved on to new cities. As I travelled, I found myself passionately ranting to anybody who would pretend to listen about learning and technology, re-inventing education, the power of sharing, how Wikipedia is the greatest achievement of humanity…
And I knew that I had to follow this passion. So here I am, exploring.