2008 Dr. John J. Barnes

The academic career of Dr. John J. Barnes has spanned over twenty-five years focussing mainly within the college and higher education sector. He is a Science Council registered Chartered Scientist and Chartered Information Technology Professional of the British Computer Society as well as being a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

John spent several years as a college lecturer within the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute in Scotland before moving back to England where he has remained teaching within the college sector. His interests focus mainly within information and communications/learning technology development and through the advancement of educational technologies such as virtual learning environments. This interest is focused within a situated learning and communities of practice perspective.

Early in 2007 John approached his employers at Stoke-on-Trent College and requested a period of leave away from his duties to undertake a sabbatical beginning in August of that year. The time was organised to include visits to Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India and the Iona Community in Scotland exploring the cultures of these settings and their engagement with Information and Communication/Learning Technologies as an educational resource. This theme was a continuum of original interests that had previously included working with external partner organisations at the University of Lapland and Rovaniemi University in Finland while employed on the Learning in Networked Communities project within the University of the Highlands and Islands Millennium Institute. 

While in the planning stages of the sabbatical John also applied, and was granted, a Schoolteacher Fellow position at Selwyn College within the University of Cambridge. During this remit he undertook an exploration of educational issues in relation to the onset of e-learning mechanisms within the pedagogical medium. His receiving of the Whiting Memorial Award for 2008 coincided with this undertaking. The time spent at the University of Cambridge proved to be an extremely rewarding experience and led to interacting with the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies and being registered to access the CamTools system within the University. It also offered John the opportunity to explore how the University implemented technology, such as the Semantic Web, within its pedagogical structure.

In the summer of 2008, on the conclusion of his time on sabbatical, John was awarded a Teacher Study visitor position at Pembroke College, also within the University of Cambridge, to continue his work within the area of learning technologies while also continuing his original employment commitments.

John’s Edublog, with regards to his time on sabbatical, can be accessed at www.sabbatical.edublogs.org