Postgraduate teaching qualification for Mathematics
Postgraduate degree in Mathematical Logic and Theoretical Computer Science (distinction)
MSc Pure Mathematics (distinction)
BSc Mathematics, class 1
I love problem-solving. Nothing makes me happier than a really big problem – especially if it involves big data. So working at Sparx is a surefire way to get my daily fix! I just want to work my brain and put it through its paces, which is what I now get to do every day!
The fact that I’m exercising my own brain by always thinking about something difficult or the challenge of how to create something ensures that the Sparx Brain is always in the best possible shape too. This is the database that I look after and which sits within the application and decides what happens next in the classroom.
I’m responsible for analysing the mass of data generated as students use the system and for refining the algorithms that we use to deliver lessons to be more adaptive to meet individual learning needs. It’s how we find the best way of delivering the content to the students.
Learning from failure is the best way to progress quickly. We work on a ‘fail fast’ method here at Sparx and I find that makes me think more critically.
It reminds me of a computer game I used to play when I was younger – Populous. In the game, you’d have to try all sorts of different approaches to get your people to prosper. In trying, you would inevitably fail and in failing you would learn a little more about why you failed. Our approach at Sparx is very similar. We’re learning all the time, analysing what is and isn’t working. And what we learn from failing is so valuable.
I’ve never had any formal training in coding, I just taught myself. I was about 10 when I started – with a 1KB ZX81 machine, writing games using text! Since then I’ve learnt all sorts of languages, including LUA (the language we use for the development of the brain), Fourth, LISP, C, C++, Pascale, Python… I’ll teach myself a language overnight if I need to. And I love contributing to open source projects, such as GeoGebra, which I’ve written a lot for.
One of the things I value most about working at Sparx is the amount of freedom we have to follow our own ideas. We all contribute to the discussion and everyone’s thoughts and suggestions are considered on their own merit, which is great.
The team is a really diverse group of people too. So my love of Lego, independent films and international literature – and my dislike of big budget films and their oh-so-boring special effects – all contributes to the rich tapestry!
What I do when I am not at Sparx
Developer for GeoGebra
Play the classical guitar and Go
Swam competitively as a teenager
Self-taught programmer by age 10
Wrote a LISP system when I was 16 in order to learn LISP
Qualified teacher and have taught for 10 years in English schools and 4 years in French universities