Now it might sound like this post is a bit of a pat on the back for a mate (well in some ways I guess it is) but I really wanted to put the spotlight on someone who, for me, embodies the best in education.
For me, there are a variety of essential parts to what it is to be a decent education professional. They need to be reflective, risk-taking (informed risks of course), developmental, not be afraid to work out of their comfort zone (because this is where learning can have a high chance of success – that’s the risk!), caring, dedicated…. so forth and so on.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mat in a variety of guises over the last 5 years or so and it was when we were working together recently in Jersey I realised how far both he, and I, had come in that time.
I first met Mat (and yes, I still want to write Matt not Mat) through Twitter (very teacher 2.0 although it does make Twitter sound like a dating agency) when he was working as Head of PE at a school in Bristol. Mat was keen to bring about further learning outcomes in his students and was keen on learning more about mobile technology. We talked and shared ideas and we linked up with other PE teachers from around the country such as Jon Tait, Paul McIntosh and Dan Edwards, among others… I later invited him to the TeachMeet I was organising in Clevedon and so he came on over. We’d talked about him presenting. He was pretty nervous. I remember him talking about how he had practiced his presentation in front of his wife. I remember his nerves. I guess practice made perfect. Check out his presentation below…
Since then Mat started blogging (you can see the latest iteration of his blog at matpullen.com) and sharing his work and his learning journey and his blog is simply jam packed full of ideas, learning opportunities and sharing.
To further his learning Mat took a sabbatical, sharing his now expert knowledge of using technology to enhance PE working with schools all across Wales. It was about that time that Mat became a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator alumni and really showed his impact as a game changer when it came to using technology to enhance learning, not just in PE but across other subjects now too.
He’s released a number of books which you can download for free from the iBooks store including his ‘One Best Thing‘ book that he wrote for Apple on topics such as: Augmented reality in PE, Numeracy in PE, Digital Parenting and more.
He has another specific blog to support the use of iPads in PE now imaginatively titled ‘iPad in PE‘ full of great ideas on how you can use iPads in PE.
Mat decided in 2014 to help schools further and spread his impact even wider by joining with Simon Pridham in his Aspire2Be project. Aspire2Be being a consultancy and training firm based out of South Wales looking to support schools who want to develop their use of technology. It was with Aspire2Be that I spent time with Mat most recently whilst working in Jersey.
To say I’m proud of him would be wrong because it defines the relationship poorly. I learn as much if not more from Mat than he probably does from me both professionally and personally. For me, Mat is the consummate professional. It doesn’t really matter how bad things get – he’s always there, giving it 100%. He’s an absolute legend and holds himself up with aplomb. So yeah, he might have learned a few things from me, but it’s a truly mutually beneficial relationship that I know I get an awful lot from. I have heard him say that he wouldn’t be doing what he does today if it wasn’t for meeting with me and the things we’ve worked on together (or something like that – Mat, you can correct me in the comments if you like). I would really like to finish by saying that I have learned just as much from Mat as he may have done from me; and not necessarily about how to use Ubersense or the latest AFL App. For me, Mat, like many other educators giving up their time to share and help each other on social media, reminds me all the time about how we need to continually grow as professionals and should push ourselves all the time to be better. Not just for ourselves but the students we want to help and support every day in our schools. I’m lucky to count him as a friend.
Check Mat out on Twitter as @mat6453. He’s always willing to help out and is a fab guy to count on in your PLN.