Welcome to our Masters in Education series! Check back each month for another profile of an expert educator.
Tom Barrett is one of the most well known teachers in the United Kingdom. For over a decade, he worked as a primary school teacher, connecting students and teachers with the best educational technology. He has won numerous awards, was the first educator in the world to use multi-touch tables in the classroom, and was instrumental in bringing the Google teacher academy to the UK. Barrett is a Senior Consultant for NoTosh, and uses his blog EDTECH, to share his latest ideas and reflections with educators everywhere.
Like a tablet, the SMART Table is a multitouch, interactive surface. It allows multiple students to interact with it simultaneously, serving as a virtual learning center. After its premier in 2009, Barrett was the first teacher to pilot this technology in the classroom. According to Merlin John Online, Barrett was given one to test at the Priestsic Primary School in Sutton-in-Ashfield. The technology was well received by the students and Barrett found the “level of interaction” to be high amongst small (3-4) groups of children.
Being a fan of games-based learning and Google tools, Barrett was instrumental in bringing the Google Teacher Academy to London for its UK debut in 2010. It was the first time Google ever held any teacher-training event outside of the Unites States and Barrett was heavily involved in the planning and presentation of events. He recently wrapped up the second Google Teacher Academy in the UK. Barrett is well known for his ability to utilize Google Earth in the classroom, having created a number of Google Maps resources for teachers to use with their students.
Founded by Ewan McIntosh, NoTosh is a “a global creativity and learning consultancy firm that helps you and your team find your greatest problems, navigate some ingenious solutions and make those changes happen.” Barrett joined the consultant agency in 2011 to work with educational publishers and schools across the globe in the areas of technology, teacher training, and leadership.
EDTECH is Tom Barrett’s personal educational blog, the best place to catch up on his latest projects and musings. In addition to his blog, Barrett has created several collaborative projects on the site: “Curriculum Catalyst,” “Interesting Ways,” “Maths Maps,” and “Shared Search.” Each of these projects is collaborative, a community of educators working together to create solid, innovative curriculum for students. Barrett also has a Twitter account.
Notable Awards and Projects
In 2011, Barrett received an IEEE Computer Society Award for his contributions to public schools in the area of technology. He was also noted for his involvement in the popularity of the TeachMeet unconference, throughout the UK. He was instrumental in the TeachMeet takeover of the BETT (British Education and Training Technology) exhibition in 2010. BETT regularly donates tables to TeachMeet, who share free resources for educators. Currently, Barrett is part of a steering group at Durham University, for its SynergyNet Project that is exploring the future of multitouch tools for the classroom.