When I graduated in 2000, I already was interested in e-learning. One of my teachers, Valère Awouters, was one of the reasons for this interest. When I began to work as a teacher, I started with writing my own course materials. I published them on my website zelfstudie.be. In 2006 people had to start to register to obtain access to the course materials. Nowadays the website has more than 17.000 members and contains more than 7.500 pages of course materials spread over 50 courses, with subjects like webdesign, graphic design, social media, seo, etc. Three of these courses can also be taken by screencasts. The members can ask questions to the author of the course. This enables asynchronous learning. This principle is unique in Belgium.
Four years ago, my school decided to start with distance learning. The reason was the fact our government gives grants to schools who embrace this kind of education. Four teachers webdesign had to teach via web conferencing (blended learning: 50% distance learning – 50% f2f). At that time, we were the first school and teachers of the country who did this. Although we got some training, we all had to figure out ourselves how to teach using Cisco Webex. The credits go to the school for being innovative, but I think the teachers and I who were pioneers in this new kind of education, can be called somehow innovative. After one year, our results were presented to other schools. The TV broadcasted this reportage Continue Reading
I studied at the KHLim college university of Hasselt. As thesis, I built software that didn’t exist at that time. The software enabled to identify a tree, by identifying key characteristics of its leaves. At that time this was only possible by book (Flora). The software was honored by the Toshiba award in 2000, which resulted in an educational trip to South Africa.
In 2000 I converted the software to a website bomen-determineren.com (Dutch). In 2011 I translated the site to English: tree-key.org. In 2012 I created an app (iPhone/iPad). After more than ten years, the Tree Key can be used as it is meant to be: people can take a walk in a forest and identify trees, using the site or app. When I created the Trey Key, I created the potential for change to teachers and students.
The Dutch version of the site was visited a million times, due to the fact the matter is mandatory in the curriculum of primary schools.
To be honest, these facts and figures make me a little bit proud. The strong the fact I’m an innovator. But I’m also aware of my limitations. I’m not a visionary. I didn’t made research on the content. I was fortuned to have to right dose of inspiration at the right moment. Anyway, I have the greatest respect to visionaries and inventors. People who change other peoples lives by their innovations.