“Technology breaks down the language barriers…and enables [students] to show their full potential.” – Hannah Mathias, UK

Hannah Mathias
E-learning Manager
Cardiff and Vale College
Wales, UK

MIE Expert Hannah Mathias’ favorite quote is, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” For Mathias and her students at Cardiff and Vale College, that door comes in the form of their new Makerspace, where they are combining cross-curricula activities using technology-enhanced learning.

“Our Makerspace is helping develop digital and employability skills for the future, including essential soft skills like communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills,” says Mathias.

One of Mathias’ favorite Makerspace activities includes the learners filming 360 videos around the college, which are then used for virtual tours. She also loves helping her students 3D-print items to hold the Micro:bits or Raspberry Pi’s, which they have programmed, or use Paint 3D to create 3D objects on a topic they are studying, and then turn them in to mixed reality.

“Recently we had a group of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners come in to our Makerspace for a taster session, and just seeing them being blown away by the Hololens, virtual reality, and creating green screen and 360 videos was incredible,” she says. “They were truly inspired and motivated to come back and be part of our student digital leader team, to support other learners and staff in the college, and develop their employability skills. Technology breaks down the language barriers for these learners and enables them to show their full potential.”

Mathias is realistic about the challenges that face educators today, including securing funding to buy the latest industry-standard technologies to provide students with the latest skills — and skills they’ll need in the future — for employability.

“The College has made a significant investment, and we applied for funding to address this issue from Welsh Government,” Mathias says. “We are developing these future skills with our learners and staff. However, it’s a challenge seeking out suitable funding that can help you address these issues, so it’s important to be aware of the opportunities out there.”

You can connect with Hannah Mathias on her Microsoft Educator Community profile, or on her blog.

About Hannah Mathias

  • Educational background: I started out lecturing Music Technology at HE level, then moved into an Edtech advisory role after completing a MSc E-learning. I am now the E-learning manager at Cardiff and Vale College www.cavc.ac.uk. We deliver to learners from ages 14 upwards, from entry level up to Higher Education courses, and we are one of the largest colleges in the UK.
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Hololens and Teams
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Website I check every day: I don’t really check websites, but I use the Flipboard App every day to get bespoke information.
  • Favorite childhood memory: Going to Universal Studios when I was a kid and riding the ET bike.
  • Favorite book: The Shining, Stephen King


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