Validators

Victor McNair

Victor is the Digital Schools Award Validator for Northern Ireland. He was a senior lecturer at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland with responsibility for Postgraduate Technology and Design students at the University’s Jordanstown and Coleraine campuses. With 17 years’ prior experience in teaching technology and design, four of these years as Head of Department, his challenge has always been to enthuse learners, to provide a positive and constructive atmosphere and to create the spaces in which learning can flourish. He derives a great deal of enjoyment from watching this happen, striving to encourage learners to develop resilience, autonomy and innovation in their learning.

Victor’s research included the strategic deployment of ICT, e-portfolios and effective teaching strategies. He has been involved in teaching Masters and PhD students in a range of disciplines and in supporting professional development of teachers and lecturers.


Alan Armstrong

Alan retired recently after 40 years working across Scottish education, spending nearly 30 years at national level with Education Scotland and its predecessor organisations. As Strategic Director, he led a very broad range of innovative programmes for the development and implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, liaising with education leaders, practitioners, Scottish Government and Ministers. Alan’s digital responsibilities included leading Education Scotland’s support for the national Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy and Glow, Scotland’s national digital learning environment.

Over session 2020-21, he played a key role in initiating and leading the National e-Learning Offer, in partnership with local authorities, schools and practitioners, to provide innovative digital access to high quality learning opportunities for learners during school closures due to Covid-19. Alan is passionate about the role of digital in promoting and extending learning beyond school, enabling practitioners, learners, parents and many others to connect, collaborate and improve learning experiences. He also has an extensive background in quality assurance and both external and self- evaluation. Beyond Scotland, as President and Board Member of CIDREE, the European network of 20 countries, Alan actively promoted the exchange of information, expertise and skills in national and international trends, including digital, amongst professional educators and policymakers. As an education consultant, Alan looks to promote his interests in sharing and caring to improve experiences for learners of all ages.


Catherine Cunningham

Recently retired, Catherine has been a teacher for 41 years, 18 years of this as a Head Teacher and the last 18 months as Head Teacher of two schools. Catherine has always been interested in digital technology, as have her staff and as a school they have wholly embedded technology across the curriculum and as a result they were one of the first schools to gain a Digital Schools Award. Catherine’s school also received three Scottish Education Awards, two for Learning through Technology and currently hold Microsoft Showcase School status for the second year running. They have also been successful in the First Lego League, getting through the UK and Ireland final. Central to all their technology use in school is Glow, Scotland's digital environment for learning.

As a school leader, Catherine set and shared the vision for technologies with the school community. Catherine ensured staff had access to effective training to enable them to feel confident, skilled and capable of providing rich learning experiences for all pupils. With careful budgeting and succeful bids for external funding, Catherine ensured children had access to appropriate technology and exposure to appropriate applications so they could become digitally competent, with an awareness of digital safety and etiquette.

Catherine is currently working as a tutor, which takes her back to her roots. Catherine loves unpicking learning, identifying gaps and misconceptions and building on strengths and interests. Catherine has a particular interest in additional support needs and likes to introduce technology, particularly assistive technology, as a tool for all learners.


Karen Doherty

A former primary Headteacher, Karen has retired from her role as a local authority Primary Science Development Officer supporting local and national STEM development in association with The Wood Foundation and Education Scotland. In this role she contributed to the creation of digital resources for blended learning, shared by Education Scotland.

In her own school Karen led a pilot, cloud-based energy monitoring project; the first of its kind in the UK. This project enabled primary school children to collaborate with a German company to design characters based on endangered species which then served to illustrate real-time energy usage in individual classrooms. This learner focused project enabled youngsters to engage in contextualised data handling and to develop environmentally friendly habits.

At cluster level, Karen planned and delivered a three-year initiative for pupils in P5, 6 and 7 to develop and use digital skills to address climate change – locally and globally. This project was subsequently adopted by a global manufacturer to be implemented at schools adjacent to its sites around the world.

Karen is passionate about the benefits of digital tools to empower disadvantaged youngsters, especially those who are care experienced.


Peter Heaney

Peter is one of the Digital Schools Awards validators for Northern Ireland.  He retired in 2012 after 40 years’ experience teaching in both primary and secondary schools.  During this time, Peter was seconded several times to work with DENI, CCEA & C2k to support the implementation of ICT across the curriculum. Peter’s interest is in the application of ICT across the curriculum and its potential for developing thinking skills and creating learning links across communities particularly with the use of videoconferencing and VLE.


His classroom work attracted a number of awards including:

  1. JA.Net UK national award for innovation using videoconferencing, (this initiative linked his own class with schools in Africa, Scottish Highlands, England and Poland)
  2. PITCOM (Westminster Parliamentary IT Committee) NI regional winner award
  3. BECTA UK National ICT in Practice (Primary) award (Runner up)
  4. Oracle / Think.com European Teacher Award (ICT)

He was a member of the UK national judging panel for the BECTA / BETT ICT awards from 2005-2007. 

During the UK City of Culture year in Derry, at the invitation of Oracle USA, Peter lead a number of ICT initiatives that used videoconferencing and VLE to link learning between schools in Derry and Kentucky. This initiative also involved local schools in creating story telling presentations using digital media.

From 2001-2014 he lead an initiative for the Pushkin Trust (A NI based arts development organization) to develop and use a VLE platform where children from NI, ROI and Russia could collaborate and share learning. This was a literacy, creative and cultural experience for the children and teachers involved.

Peter has published a number of articles and support resources on the use of ICT in the primary classroom for CCEA, most recently a Key Stage 1 & 2 support package on how coding and specifically LOGO can support the development of shape and space concepts within mathematics.

In collaboration with Dr Linda Clarke (Director of School of Education, University of Ulster) he co-authored a study of classroom practice on using asynchronous conferencing to develop literacy skills for BJET (British Journal of Educational Technology).

He has also published articles for Oracle / Think.com on the use of VC and VLE to support the development of literacy and encourage cultural awareness between school in NI / UK and South Africa.

Currently spending a lot of time on the river Foyle enjoying renewing my rowing skills now that retirement has presented the time and opportunity.


Sarah Jenkins

Sarah is a primary school teacher working in Dundee City Council with 15 years teaching experience. She has a passion for teaching digital literacy with a particular focus on the use of technology for accessibility, enabling all learners to engage in learning in a way that meets their needs.

Sarah is Digital Lead in her school where she supports pupils, staff and families in the use of various apps, websites and digital devices. She runs the Young Stem Leader programme, First Lego League club and has developed a cohort of Minecraft mentors. She has also set up a STEM group within her school cluster, allowing teachers to support and guide each other in the progression of STEM teaching within their own schools.

Sarah enjoys exploring innovative approaches in education which has resulted in successful funding applications to develop Digital classrooms in both Dundee and Angus. Pupils have access to 1:1 devices as well as a flexible seating approach. This year the focus has been on developing her school’s Maker Space. This is an area that incorporates all aspects of STEM, allowing pupils the freedom to demonstrate design principles using practical handheld tools as well as incorporating digital technologies where appropriate.

Sarah is a Minecraft Global Mentor, Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, Seesaw Ambassador and CRIS mentor. She has worked in close partnership with V & A Dundee, developed a design partnership between her own school and a school in Helsinki, Finland.


Joanna Maclean

Joanna is a Digital Schools Award Validator for Scotland. She is a dedicated educator with over 28-years expertise in embedding technology to enhance lessons and engage students of all ages: nursery, primary, and secondary. As a certified coach, she strives to empower others through a culture of coaching and servant leadership, and is part of the GTCS's National PRD & PL Steering Group. Joanna is a certified project manager (PRINCE2 Agile) and devised the vision which led to her Primary school being the first school in Scotland to receive the Digital Schools Award in 2016. Her Secondary was the first in the UK and Ireland to receive this coveted award in 2017. As well as pedagogical expertise Joanna is digitally astute, administering devices, systems and processes e.g. MIS, VLE, BYOD, and MDM’s. She is a Microsoft Innovative Education Expert, Apple Teacher and is Google certified. Joanna is a member of Education Scotland’s National Technology Network, however her focus is on pedagogy over technology, in particular the development of Meta-skills, which is the focus of her PhD thesis in Educational Technology at Lancaster University. Joanna is affectionally known to her family as Joanna.com as she is passionate about all things digital.


Jen McKay

Jen has worked in education for 26 years beginning her teaching career in a primary school in East Lothian. Having been asked to be the 'ICT Coordinator' for the school, Jen developed a passion for technology and using it to enhance childrens' learning. This passion saw Jen taking on the first ICT Development Officer role in East Lothian working with early years, primary and additional support needs bases.

From here she went on to work on the national Tesco SchoolNet 2000 Millenium project and then NOF training across Scotland. Then as a contractor with Learning and Teaching Scotland she had the opportunity to work on the successful online communities Masterclass and Heads Together.

This lead to a role working on Glow as a Development Officer, a role which allowed Jen to work across Scotland helping enhance teaching and learning for both practitioners and young people. Laterly in Education Scotland, Jen worked in the Digital Learning and Teaching Team managing Glow TV and ePortfilio implementaion in Scottish schools.

Having recently left Education Scotland Jen has set up her own private tutoring business which she feels has taken her back to her roots!


Beverley McCormick

Beverley is a teacher and advisor for ClickView UK. In this role she supports schools across the UK in their use of video to support learning and teaching. Her role includes providing product guidance along with teacher training to support schools in their use of digital technologies through the use of recognised pedagogical approaches.

Previous to this role, she was the EMEA Mathematics Educator at 3P Learning, helping to create engaging and pedagogically sound maths products for over 3 million users worldwide in more than 17,000 schools. She qualified as a teacher in 2003 and taught for 16 years in Northern Ireland. As a teacher, she created opportunities for her students to develop skills of inquiry and discovery through project-based learning which infused the STEM subjects. She was presented with the GTCNI STEM Teacher of the Year Award in the same year that her students also received the both the Junior Innovators Communications Award at SciFest and the Best Overall Primary School Award at The Big Bang Fair. During her teaching career she was also nominated and awarded a Highly Commended status for IT Teacher of the Year Award by BCS(NI). In 2021 she attained a Masters in Education during which she researched the use of video in the primary classroom, research that is now invaluable to her role in ClickView.

Beverley’s love of infusing technologies into teaching and learning and for developing both creative and inspiring learning opportunities is also demonstrated by her passion to support educators on their professional development journey. She firmly believes that teachers should be equipped with digital technology skills to support their teaching and that this should be underpinned by the safe use of digital technologies. She founded the first Code Club in her school, is a STEM Ambassador and both a Raspberry Pi Educator and Community Trainer and Microsoft Innovative Education Expert. Beverley enjoys opportunities to share her knowledge and passion for education with others and in doing so, hopes to have an impact on the next generation of teachers and students.


Janet Moffat

Since retiring in 2018, Janet currently works part time as a teacher providing support to early years’ partnership settings in East Renfrewshire.

She has worked in education since 1993. Firstly, as a teacher in early years and then as a head teacher in two nursery schools in Glasgow. Along with a Bed (hons) degree, her qualifications include, the Scottish Nursery Nurse Examination Board Certificate, Post Graduate Certificate in Early Education, Post Graduate Certificate in School Management, and the Froebel in Early Childhood Practice Certificate.

Her enthusiasm for digital technology started through setting up Apple Macs in the playroom and then continued into using desktop computers and resources to enhance the learning experiences of 3-5 year olds.

As part of a learning community development, she introduced the Promethean Board as a tool to access all areas of the curriculum. This work was shared as part of the Scottish Learning Festival in 2005.

As a head teacher responding to the needs of learners, she developed the use of iPads as a learning resource in 2012. This led to Janet being the early years’ representative in the local authority’s ambitious Digital Learning Strategy.

She has used social media and to provide parents and carers with information on the school’s life and to share the involvement of family learning opportunities and celebrate children’s achievements from home. In 2013, the nursery school was one of the first in the authority to use Twitter to highlight learning and teaching.

As well as gaining Apple Teacher status and the European Computer Driving License to confirm her skills, she enjoys challenging digital technology to create learning opportunities and resources in the school setting.


Malcolm Wilson

Malcolm is a Digital Schools Award Validator for Scotland. He had nearly two decades experience as a classroom teacher in primary schools, including in promoted roles, before taking up the position of Digital Learning Education Support Officer supporting educational professionals across a local authority in their use of digital technologies in learning and teaching. This included support for developing digital literacy, use of all aspects of Scotland’s national education intranet Glow, mobile devices, computing science/computational thinking, interactive presentation technology, blogging, social media, digital tools, as well as digital citizenship/online safety/digital wellbeing, all to align with local and national digital learning strategies. Malcolm supported the development of pupil Digital Leaders in Falkirk schools and supported many educational establishments in developing and progressing their digital learning journeys. He led many hundreds of professional development sessions for thousands of education professionals and presented on numerous occasions nationally at events about digital learning and teaching. He created and maintained several online sites (for which he achieved national and international recognition and awards), working with many partners to help them develop their online presence. Malcolm attained Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Master Trainer recognition, Apple Teacher and Skype Master Teacher and Global Learning Mentor recognition and was recognised with the UK-wide EdTech 50 accolade.