Career file: taking remote learning to extremes

What is the Virtual Teacher Centre?

The Virtual Teacher Centre (VTC) is an online professional development initiative for teachers in this province. It aims to bring them learning opportunities, information and resources through new media technologies.

What advantage does the technology bring to the learning?

For our teachers, who are usually based in remote locations, access to professional development is hampered by geography. Internet access means they can participate in the VTC’s online courses, learning modules, tutorials and discussion forums.

What does your role involve?

I lead diverse groups of programmers and educators. I conduct organisational learning needs analysis and subsequent training design. This also requires creative problem solving, instructional design and professional development facilitation, as well as human resource and financial management.

What did you want to do for a living when you were at school?

At one time, I aspired to be a professional cook; at another, I studied engineering; and at yet another, I studied forestry technology. Then there were the times that I worked in the fish processing industry, teaching, curriculum development, program management, art, and now professional development online. One of these days, I’ll run out of things to do!

What is your current major training project or strategic push?

We are designing an interactive curriculum guide to aid curriculum developers to create new courses.

Which of your qualifications do you most value?

I really value my Masters of Art Education, which capped a lengthy exploration of creative and critical thinking, design, empathy, innovation and the implications of new media technologies for education.

Why does this qualification mean so much to you?

I have found that it is the most useful qualification, because it cultivated transferable key skills. For example, it helped me with facilitation, mediation and mentoring.

Aren’t art and technology two totally different areas?

No. The open-ended, inquiring nature of art making, which sparks creative thinking, is as applicable in the worlds of technology and learning as it is to the world of art. I have found that a ‘what if’ approach to every challenge opens possibilities that might not otherwise be evident.

Which management gurus inspire you?

Peter Drucker, whose views on management and management practices opened my eyes to systemic issues in economics, and Edward de Bono, whose sometimes irreverent conceptualisations of creativity and problem solving and the effect these could have on leadership have helped shape me.

What are the best and worst things about the job?

Undoubtedly, the best thing about this job is client satisfaction. The worst is paperwork!

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