David Palmer

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I am interested in positions where I can continue to develop programs that enable students to go out into the workplace with relevant and valuable practical skills. I hope to use links I have developed both nationally and internationally through the internet. These include an invitation to take students to Space Camp in the USA as the guests of the Americans and multinational data projects.


1991 > 2012
Head of IT Dept, Housemaster, maths & physics teacher, Ackworth School
My job at Ackworth was described at interview as 50% staff training, 50% technical and 50% teaching. I would say that the proportions in some areas have probably increased slightly since I took the position!

I have always found it easier to absorb new skills when they are demanded by a situation rather than for the sake of gaining new skills - and I am pleased that this job has consistently produced enough challenges to make it interesting. I had to work very hard to get our ISDN connection into an optimal configuration when the line was set up. I have set up and run three very different server configurations and I am currently installing a wireless network. Our latest server delivers Citrix Winframe and this has been a very good solution since it has allowed us to keep our legacy machines online as very potent workstations. Citrix lets us offer an up-to-date desktop with a very small bandwidth demand. I believe that the wireless network will eventually carry more than just computer data and may well be used for communications too. This makes it a very cost-effective exercise and will have big safety impacts as well. We also have Apple computers in the Art and Design areas and we have been able to get them to run a Citrix client making it easy to share data across the different platforms.

I believe that the use of our internet portal and the increasing development of our intranet will allow us to offer much improved functionality by delivering curriculum material, self-paced revision and testing (and recording of data) through the medium of web pages. Ackworth was one of the first schools in the country to set up a web site and every year we have been involved in a variety of international projects and competitions. We were asked to host web exhibitions for the Artranspennine project and I learned to use Javascript for this purpose. I am currently learning (and teaching) Flash which uses vector based graphics to produce small (and so fast) interactive web programs.

I have been involved in a support group for network managers through which I came to know Peter Cochrane (Head of Research at BT Labs) and Prof Stephen Heppell (from Anglia University). I have been invited to speak twice at Bradford University and was invited to the launch of their Internet Law degree.

If I was to try and sum up what I do briefly I would say that I facilitate an environment where students can become confident and progressive IT users. One of the times that we get positive feedback that this is happening is when they go on work experience - and we always get a high number of good comments on their IT skills.

1987 > 1991
Senior Master, maths & computer teacher, Hillcrest Prep, Nairobi
At Hillcrest I was part of a very successful administration team - the school had a growing waiting list! It was a very pleasant environment and the school had an excellent racial mix. I started a program to involve the students with local schools and another which brought in speakers such as Richard Leakey. The contacts I had made on my two year safari were very useful. My maths groups got very good results in the Common Entrance, no fails and in one year the lowest grade was 'C'.

1984 > 1987

Computer technician, maths and science teacher,
International School of Kenya
This school has a superb campus and superb resources. As well as my teaching - my groups got very high scores on the American SAT system - I edited the school yearbook and took part in expeditions to the coast. I did the lighting for school shows and this led on to doing lighting for shows at the National Theatre.

1982 > 1984
On Safari!
I was fortunate to be invited on a number of research trips into the African bush. Since my original motive in coming to Africa was to see something off the beaten track, this was really wonderful. I lived in the Serengeti, worked on films and a large-scale hydrological survey and drove a mud car in the Safari Rally.

1980 > 1982
Maths & science teacher, Braeburn School, Nairobi
As well as my teaching duties, I started a very successful program to involve our relatively advantaged children with a village school in the shanty town just over the school fence. I also sat on the committee of the President's Award Scheme with special responsibility for expeditions. (This is the Kenyan branch of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme)

Maths & IT Lecturer, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology
While I was waiting to go to Kenya I worked for 3 months in Galway lecturing in the college that became GMIT.

1978 > 1979
Physics Teacher,
International School of Frankfurt
I taught, did stage lighting, played squash and learned to ski on an amazing 10 day trip when the whole school - 1200 pupils - go skiing!

1976 > 1978

Maths & physics teacher,
Dubai College, UAE
This school has superb equipment. I was involved with the sailing club and expeditions into the sandy wastes of the interior. I was actually invited to return to the UAE as an expedition leader.

1972 > 1976
Maths teacher & Housemaster,
Brickwall House, Sussex
This is a school for boys with learning problems and I found some of the research into the (then very new) phenomenon of dyslexia absolutely fascinating. I enjoyed the nice settings (140 acre park!) of this school and the small class sizes.


I completed the first distance learning course with
Manchester Metropolitan University.
M.I.I.T.T. (Member of the Institute of IT Trainers)
B.Sc. (Maths, Physics & Psychology), University of London
Certificate in Education, University of Exeter
3 'A' levels & 7 'O' levels, St Aloysius College, London.


I was a Visiting Assessor and Moderator for Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate in IT. I edited the magazine RM User, which went out once every half term to network managers and IT staff. This has given me very useful trade contacts.

I have been very active within the Area 8 organisation in their annual meetings for IT teachers from independent schools in the North West sector. I have either hosted or presented at each of the last three meetings. I spent a year on the subject committee (in IT) for the North Eastern Examinations Board.


Since putting Ackworth School on the internet (as the 9th school in the UK to arrive there) I have been delighted with the response from our students and other people all over the world. I mainly use Frontpage Express for day-to-day edits, Dreamweaver for developing new ideas and Notepad to read code and make sure it is not too bulky. I learnt to use javascript for an art project and I know which image formats and animations work best. All my sites are tested to make sure they load quickly and are friendly for special users.



Martin Dickinson
Head, Ackworth School
Tel: 01977 611401

Lionel Hill
Head of Technology Dept.
Ackworth School
Ackworth, West Yorkshire

Jonti Marks
Hillcrest Prep School
PO Box 30365
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 002542 724782

Dr Brian Place
Dublin Road
Galway, Ireland