Jo Birkinshaw is one of Birmingham’s inspirational design and technology teachers from RSA Academy – She began her steps in to teaching by studying Graphic Communication at Loughborough University before working in industry for 2 years and completing her PGCE in secondary education – ” its the best decision I ever made”
This week we have been talking with Jo Birkinshaw about her work in school using technology.
JO: At the moment I am working on a number of different projects with the different year groups. With the Year 9 graphic students we have been looking at a jigsaw design coaster set designed using 2D Design and created using the laser cutter. With the year 11 they are completing their final POS (point of sale) designs using a combination of hand made and CAD skills and techniques. Students have created some fantastic laser cut logos and detailed pieces of advertising.
BCA: What technology have you used as part of your project?
JO: We have used the laser cutter alongside 2D Design, the Google Sketchup software, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software.
BCA: What did you learn?
JO: I learnt that technology can really open up the imagination element of a project with a student. Some students are massively under confident when it comes to their own drawing skills, the use of technology and computer software opens the students up to pushing the boundaries and trying new things that they may not try normally. Technology also gets students excited and eager to learn and make mistakes in the process of learning new skills.
BCA: What advice would you give someone interested in teaching?
JO: Anyone thinking about coming into teaching needs to know that it is one of the most rewarding careers possible, but it is one of the most exhausting careers both mentally and physically. I have had a range of different part time jobs while studying my first degree at university, and this by far demands the most of a person.
However, you get some moments where a light just goes on that reinforces the reason you came into teaching in the first place. When that D grade student achieves an A* on a mock exam paper and smiles from ear to ear, or when a year 7 come up to you next to the laser cutter and says ‘Miss I love this project it’s so exciting’. It is fantastic! But don’t just come into thinking about the holidays and pay scale – they are well earned!
JO: I think BCA have a fantastic range of skills and experiences that they can offer the world of education. When working with the RSA Academy, the BCA members are extremely approachable and supportive of our students and their ideas and inspirations.