Long may he remain a friend of Blackpool...
What Blackpool SHOULD know about Prof. Stephen Heppell
(but possibly do not)
Stephen's "eyes on the horizon, feet on the ground" approach, coupled with a vast portfolio of effective large scale projects over three decades, have established him internationally as a widely and fondly recognised leader in the fields of learning, new media and technology. He has worked, and is working, with governments around the world, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, with schools and communities and with many influential trusts and organisations.
Stephen Heppell was invited to open the discussions towards Future Education in Blackpool just 6 short years ago.
He, along with trustees John Rudkin, Prof. Nigel Paine and Nicholas Summer brought the first pilot NOTSCHOOL programme to the town in 2004, dedicated to the education of the most educationally underprivileged learners in the town. Since then Stephen has been a regular visitor and friend, supporting programmes such as "blueIRIS", a dedicated facility for the blind across the area; supporting Blackpool Education and its media work, as well as being a champion for eCommunity work alongside the Town's eCommunity Manager and team. Stephen is currently featured on the latest venture in the town, On Blackpool TV (or www.on-blackpool.tv as it is better known). This project is in its early days, but Stephen was keen to support the initiative. He is also teamed up on an, as yet secret - to be launched project with johnarudkin.net, based on providing a challenged community across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre with a unique way to access and interact with everyone else. Keep your ears open for that one!
In the time Stephen has been working both with Blackpool (initially the Council, now via johnarudkin.net) we have all seen huge changes, both in the direction and the strategies for education nationally. Some may see the changes as having been a backward step, but still others argue that a return to certain core principles was a much needed and bold step.
In that time schools, and especially the impetus on reforming education has been tumultuous, but some things remain the same. One thing has stayed constant - and that is the laser-like vision of a few dedicated and tireless experts whose focus never wavers. This laser-like vision is a beacon for sound educational thinking and the use of whatever is needed to keep learning on track. Stephen is the source of that vision and remains as true to his intentions today as it did in the 80s.
Stephen's ICT career (he is credited with being the person who put the C into ICT), began with the UK government's Microelectronics Education programme (MEP) in the early 80s, after he had been teaching in secondary schools for some years.
Stephen founded and ran Ultralab for a quarter of a century, building it into one of the most respected research centres in e-learning in the world - at one time Ultralab was the largest producer of educational CD-ROMs in Europe - before leaving it in 2004 to found his own global and flourishing policy and learning consultancy Heppell.net which now has an enviable portfolio of international projects all round the world.
Stephen pioneered, and was the guiding "father" of, early social networking with seminal projects including *ESW in the 1980s, Schools OnLine for the UK Department of Trade and Industry in 1995/6, Tesco Schoolnet 2000 from 1999 - the then Guinness Book of Record's largest internet learning project in the world. Think.com with Oracle from 1999, Talking Heads linking every UK headteacher into a community of practice
Stephen lobbied for the creation of (in 1997) and then created in 1998, guiding for ten years Notschool.net, at the time a uniquely effective project to re-engage children excluded from school by behaviour or circumstances.
In recognition of all this work, along with just 51 others including Damien Hirst, Jarvis Cocker, Harrison Ford, Lauren Bacall, Muhammad Ali; Stephen became an Apple Master in the 1990s.
Stephen was a founder board member for Teachers.TV - a UK public service TV and broadband channel for professional development of teachers; he sits on the board of the UK's Skillset - guiding professional development and training in the Creative Industries; he sits on BAFTA's Council have formerly chaired it's Technical Innovation Jury and sat on its Film Committee.
Stephen holds the chair on New Media Environments at the Centre for Excellence for Media Practice at Bournemouth University, where all his PhD students are currently based.
Stephen is at the heart of a global revolution in learning space design, with a string of major new building projects worldwide including a 0-21+ academy in the UK and a complete makeover of a national education system in the Caribbean.
His research project in 2003 exploring for CABE and RIBA in the UK the impact of new pedagogies on the design of learning spaces kickstarted a new rhetoric of school design in the UK and beyond. Recent awards include:
In June 2006 Stephen was awarded the Royal Television Society's Judges Award for Lifelong Services to Educational Broadcasting.
In 2008 he received the BETT for Outstanding Achievement in ICT Education
Stephen's work is worldwide; in the UK Stephen is retained by a number of organisations and governments to help with future policy and direction, including the BBC and Channel 4, is an Associate of KPMG, and is retained by UK government in Horizon Scanning work to advise of future directions for educational policy.
Long may the relationship between Blackpool and the work of Professor Stephen Heppell remain.