Anne-Sophie has always believed passionately that education can transform children’s lives, and looking around her, she saw plenty of children who needed this help. So it was no surprise to her friends and family when she decided to study for a BA in Education at the Artevelde University, in her native Belgium, where she specialised in primary-years education. Very soon, Anne-Sophie started to notice the discrepancy between what was happening in Belgian classrooms and the multimedia tools Belgian technology companies were creating. “During my degree we considered a few aspects of using technology in the classroom”, said Anne-Sophie, “but even now, I don’t think that technology-enhanced learning is used as well as it should be in many schools. In fact, in Britain they even use technologies we don’t know at all in Belgian schools, like the interactive whiteboards.” Anne-Sophie believes that technology and computers can support a range of learning styles and different educational needs in the classroom, as well as having a huge motivating factor. At the same time, she’s concerned about the potential for social exclusion that using high-tech equipment in learning can create. “You can’t force parents to buy a computer,” she points out, “so there’s a danger that rich children have the best education.”
Hearing about CARET’s pioneering work in the field of technology-enhanced learning, Anne-Sophie decided to take her Education degree in a different direction, and came to join our team of researchers and support staff. She very much enjoys life as an education researcher, where she recognises many of the same issues at Cambridge University that she became aware of in the primary classroom, including disparities in access to expensive technologies. At the same time, she is constantly reflecting on how research methodologies could be taken back into the primary classroom. “Young children need to look at their way of learning at some point, and that can be really hard,” says Anne-Sophie. Because many of the research methodologies Anne-Sophie is working with are about drawing out connections and developing concepts in visual ways, she feels that they could well be used with surprisingly young children. If Anne-Sophie does return to the primary classroom, it’s sure she’ll have a wealth of ideas, experience and research to bring to it.
asd38 @ caret.cam.ac.uk
1st Floor, 16 Mill Lane