Prof. Stephen Heppell is a Senior Consultant with FNI advising clients on a wide range of education and ICT issues. Stephen’s work extends into multiple, but overlapping, domains:
In new media and broadcasting he has been at the forefront of the new media revolution since the 80s, currently guiding a range of organisations from BAFTA and the BBC through to the Teachers’ TV and the innovative sports channel Cowes.TV. A regular broadcaster himself, he received the Royal Television Society’s Judges’ Award for lifetime contribition to educational broadcasting in 2006.
“Professor Stephen Heppell: the UK’s leading on-line education guru” Channel 4 TV 1999
Stephen pioneered collaborative virtual learning spaces. Past projects range from the Guinness Book of Record’s largest internet learning project in the world last century, through a community of 20,000 headteachers to the worldwide Think.com. A string of very-large-scale projects showed and still show just how seductive online learning communities could be and he started these in the pre-web days of the 1980s.
“The father of ICT, Stephen Hepell” think:lab blog 2007
In Architecture and Design his pioneering research work for CABE and RIBA redefined the scope of learning spaces, largely informed by the emerging pedagogies in his virtual spaces. He is involved in the building, or redevelopment, of a mass of learning spaces worldwide, from community and corporate, through to Higher Education and of course a good number of radical, effective and seductive schools.
“when I finally spotted him, Stephen Heppell didn’t look at all like I imagined. This geek of geeks, this net-head of all times, this revolutionary who is yanking the British education system out of its Victorian slumber and shaping it for the digital information age, surely it couldn’t be this genial fellow before me with his whitening Father Christmas beard and Hush Puppy fashion sense” Design Magazine
In 2008 Stephen still does “geeky“. Pioneering projects have consistently reached out for the early adoption of people-power technologies, like Hypercard, into learning. Pioneering CD ROM projects in the 80s led onwards onwards to hand held projects – like the radical eVIVA project with QCA using mobile phones to capture learner narrative in a formal viva.
“Europe’s leading online education expert” Microsoft 2006
(Almost) finally, at the centre of all this, Stephen carries a significant policy portfolio supporting a range of front running nations worldwide. His work ranges from horizon scanning for the DfES/DCSF through to what can only be described as a full policy revolution in the Caribbean. As well as his own policy consultancy heppell.net ltd he sits on a small number of corporate boards and is chair of trustees for the charity “Inclusion Trust” with its remarkable Notschool.net project.
“The most influential academic of recent years in the field of technology and education”Department for Education and Skills (DfES), UK, 2006
But everyone who knows Stephen well, will also know his passion for sailboat racing – from coaching the UK Mirror Class Squad to a World Championship win in Kingston, Canada to his annual campaign around the UK’s Solent and East Coast in his rather high tech (!) yacht Cracker with partner, friends and family. “Sailing” says Stephen, “is what I do – the rest is a hobby”.
In this Mobile Learning Institute film, Heppell makes his way through London, describing his vision for schools, meeting with kids at the Be Very Afraid conference, and exploring ideas for classroom design in a technology pilot school in Teddington.