Sarah Jones's Profile Description
I then retrained, doing a one year PGCE at Loughborough University and subsequently began teaching in secondary schools. During this time I gradually became familiar with mobile phones, emails and the www, as they became more widely available. Then in 1999, through a chance opening, I began working for ULTRALAB as an Advisory Teacher on the Tesco SchoolNet 2000 (TSN2K) project. At this point, the potential power and innovative nature of computer technology in terms of communication and learning on the one hand and of time and audience’s geographical distribution on the other, appeared tremendously exciting.
From the TSN2K project, I began working full time with ULTRALAB, on a research project called Talking Heads (now handed over to the National College for School Leadership who run it as Talk2Learn). The project was set up to explore ways of reducing the isolation of head teachers in England and to provide the DfEE (as it was then) with a direct communication link to the head teachers. It quickly became so much more than this. No longer do we think of technology as a novel way of communicating. Now, it provides a new way of learning and indeed has begun to transform learning as we know it.
I have a deep interest in the use of online learning communities in enhancing educational opportunities in a variety of contexts, particularly in the developing world, but also in the health arena. As technology continues to develop so the potential of this type of learning will change and grow. Researching online learning communities, where collaborative learning creates new knowledge amongst like-minded individuals, is where my current focus lies. Particularly I am interested in the ‘immediacy’ of new knowledge creation and it's relationship with the impact that learning has on individuals and their surroundings, both local and further afield and in the case of Health, the impact on Patient Care.
I currently work on two research projects: The Ultraversity Research Project and the Anglia Ruskin Blended Learning Research Project. I began work on the Ultraversity Research Project from it's beginning in 2003 and helped to develop it into what it has now become - a fully online workplace degree that has reflective practice and collaboration at it's heart. I looked after the NHS cohort that graduated in July 2006 as well as co-ordinated the overall research element with my colleague Gina. I am now working with the latest cohort – Cohort 6, which began in the middle of September 2006. I am also module leader for the level 3 module 'Exhibition Preparation'. I have recently completed a period of consultancy with my colleague Shirley, to develop a blended Foundation Degree in Health Studies (Associate Practitioner) with the Institute of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University.
This was part of a bigger Blended Learning Project, where Ultralab were used as consultants to help all five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University to develop one programme per faculty using a blended learning approach. Mid way through this project I took on the Project Leadership role for this and am now in the evaluation stage. This will feed into the Internal FDL validation process for Anglia Ruskin, of which I sit on the working group as well as form the basis of a Case Study paper to be presented at an international conference later this year in Seville.
Finally I work on the MA development programme and also act as the Ultralab consultant on all the health interest, research and work that comes to us, locally, nationally and internationally. I am part of the ‘distributed’ or ‘remote’ ULTRALAB team, working in Yorkshire where I now live, although I grew up in Somerset and spent university and subsequent years in London. I have a dog and two cats and a wonderful partner and we all live in an old barn attached to a farm. Actually, it used to be the foldyard where all the cattle wintered, very fertile garden ;o)
My hobbies, in no particular order, include wine tasting, travel, birdwatching, opera/ballet, scuba diving, skiing, and squash. Perhaps the most memorable thing I have ever done, was to be a part of the First All Female Expedition to the North Pole and subsequently being voted as UK Woman of the Year for 1997, although trekking the mountain gorillas in the Democratic Repbulic of Congo and climbing Kilimanjaro were fun!
If you'd like to contact me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org or please visit my weblog at www.sarahjones.biz
05.01.07 - as of the 31st December 2006, ULTRALAB was disbanded by Anglia Ruskin University. I have transfered part time over to the Faculty of Education where I continue to work on the Ultraversity Project.