The Plymouth University Vice Chancellor Enterprise Awards and Gala Dinner took place in a large marquee on Plymouth Hoe this weekend. It was a grand event, with chandeliers, live music and an excellent dinner, and as you can see, it was a black tie affair (you may never see me dressed so smartly again). My colleagues Peter Yeomans, Oliver Quinlan and I were delighted to be nominated for this year's inspirational teacher award, and we attended in the hope that we might be in with a chance. However, it was a very strong field, with 4 other shortlisted nominees, all doing remarkable work with their learners, and seeing incredible results. We were very proud then, when the envelope was opened, to hear our names being read out as the winners. Making our way from the very back of the hall, meandering around the tables and onto the stage to receive our award while the spotlights played upon us, it all felt a little like the Oscar ceremony, but we didn't get to make a speech, thankfully. We were doubly proud because not only had we been nominated for the award by our university colleagues, but also by our current and past students too. Here is an excerpt from the website nomination, with endorsements from a former student and a current student:

This team has been developing a collaborative, open and meaningful social media presence in e-learning and primary pedagogy. They are developing an innovative pedagogy by working to enable trainee teachers to develop their own sustainable network of professional development and the confidence to draw the best of their contacts into lectures and seminars, to enhance their own student experience. The team has inspired students to learn beyond their course, engaging with national experts and using their own personal blogs to make meaning of the learning taking place on the course. The result is a stream of nationally significant educators, willing to spend time helping our students and seeking to take our students on placements. Some students were able to showcase their dissertations as part of the international PELeCON conference. The goal of their work is to create connected students who are "hammers, not nails", with a credible and deep understanding of their own values and the purpose of education.

The team have put Plymouth on the national and international map amongst the social media in education fraternity. Regularly the team receive complements about the quality of the @plymuni experience which shared with thousands of twitter followers.

"During my time at university they inspired not only me, but many others on my course to think in a way that challenges the norm. Through their influence a generation of trainee teachers were pushed to consider the rights and needs of the children in their care above all other influences. They encouraged us all to be passionate about our work, to think creatively and to make changes to our world. For me personally they have long been a source of support, advice and inspiration. Since leaving the University they have supported me in my new career and their way of working is still a standard I hope to reach. In this way they have empowered me, and many others they work with to continue challenging ourselves to improve." - Alumni.

"They have encouraged me to do things that I never thought I could do. Firstly, I was asked to speak at an event in front of 200 professionals. I then had the opportunity to arrange a Teach Meet conference for like-minded professionals. They have opened my eyes to the world of teaching in a way that no other lecturers have been able to do. They motivate me to get involved with all aspects of University life and because of this, I am now involved in volunteer projects, arranging Teach Meets and I had the confidence to stand for secretary of the Plymouth Education Society, which I was successful with. I know that without the support and dedication that I have been given, I would still be working my way through University without taking part in all of these projects and events that really are life-changing for me." - Student.

That is why this award means so much to Peter, Oliver and I - it is recognition that we are in some small way contributing to inspiring a generation of new teachers who are, or who will soon be, let loose to teach our children, to pass on that inspiration - that zest for learning, and curiosity to ask the what if questions for the rest of their lives. Thanks to everyone who has sent us congratulatory messages. It means a lot.

Photo by Amy Parkin

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Inspired by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported LicenseBased on a work at


Well done and well deserved. The valuable social networking resources, particularly Twitter,I was introduced to, have been excellent, not just whilst on the course but it continues to evolve and enrich my teaching practice. Keep up the good work :-)
Steve Wheeler said…
Thanks Liz, glad the resources were useful to you. We aim to take this concept to another level in the coming years :)
Lenandlar said…
Well done and well deserved. Still one of the best, if not the best edtech blog out there. Keep doing your good work, Steve

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