This week we want to introduce you to our Global Head of Maths, Ben Hilliam! Ben started at EP just over 2 years ago and has been an amazing asset in developing our NZ Maths content. He now leads our Maths product across both Australia and New Zealand and is a pioneer of the use of technology in the classroom. Outside of EP, Ben loves the outdoors and spending time with his family and friends. We look forward to you meeting him!

“I was able to share my story as a teacher in NZ, the challenge of teaching through the Christchurch Earthquakes and how that forced me to adopt digital technologies into my practice.”

Meet Ben

I’m a father of three who loves cricket and being outdoors. I spent over 10 years teaching before joining EP, including a 2 year stint in the far north of NZ. I just got back from my summer holiday, much of which was spent camping in the Abel Tasman National Park at the top of New Zealand’s South Island.

My particular passion is camping. I like to take my family camping in remote places and set up basecamp. During the day we explore the bush and beach and let the kids experience the great outdoors without internet, TV or electricity. It was great to camp this summer at Totaranui. I had no phone or wifi access for the week. It’s just the tonic for someone who works at a tech company.

Why Maths?

Maths serves as a foundation to logic, reasoning and philosophy. The more we can rationally and logically evaluate and discuss issues the better. This makes Maths a cornerstone of modern society. I see Maths as continuing to be an essential part of any curriculum that is seeking to build and develop critical thinking in our students. I also love the challenge and beauty to be found in Mathematics. I would love to give as many students as possible a chance to find this beauty and experience the satisfaction of overcoming a challenging problem.

 

Why EP?

I used to teach with Bevan Jones at St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch. He left to join EP at the end of 2016. Six months later he pointed out EP was advertising for a Head of Maths, NZ. I had used EP a fair bit in my teaching and had a massive interest in e-learning in general. At the end of 2017, I took the leap over to EP and haven’t looked back.

 

Favourite features

I love anything that enables annotation and handwriting. So on EP this would be the scratchpad and the scripting to maths input. In my ideal world all students would have a tablet and a stylus. EP Maths is flexible enough to work within both a laptop or tablet environment. But I hope to see more tablets in the hands of students as we move forward.

I have worked closely with a few schools who are all after the same thing: Maximising outcomes for students, while freeing up the time of teachers. This usually involves automation of the school’s assessment schedule and working with the faculty staff over the course of the year to transition to a blended learning approach. It’s great to see such an impact on how a department transforms. Staff who were previously snowed under with paperwork, now have a chance to actually think about what they are teaching and how they are teaching it. To me, that is a huge win.

Most excited about

We are still a small company on the global stage. We’ve created a platform that has proved itself in Australia and NZ. I’m super excited to see EP explode globally as we make a concerted effort to expand internationally.

Working at EP has been an amazing opportunity for me. If you’re reading this and you’re a teacher, keep an eye out, because we are always advertising for teachers. It’s a privilege to be involved with a company with an increasing global reach and have an influence on mathematics education to this extent. 

EP in three

  1. We are an NZ based, online, total learning solution for schools.
  2. We tackle our problems from the point of view of the teacher, with student learning at the forefront of our thinking.
  3. We have amazing customer service. We value our teacher customers and always follow through.

Insights from R.E.A.L conference in Malaysia 2019

I was privileged to attend the R.E.A.L. Schools Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur a couple of months ago. I was invited to run a two hour workshop focussed on the future of education in the fourth industrial revolution. The school leaders present had never seen or heard of EP. This gave two edges to this experience: firstly running my first ever Education Professional Development session outside of NZ and secondly working with a group of teachers that have never seen EP before. 

I was pleased to find the issues faced by teachers in Malaysia are very similar to the issues and challenges faced by teachers in Australia and NZ. I was able to share my story as a teacher in NZ, the challenge of teaching through the Christchurch Earthquakes and how that forced me to adopt digital technologies into my practice. This story seemed to resonate with the leaders from R.E.A.L. who are keen to maximise the effect of teachers on the learning outcomes of their students. R.E.A.L. are now trialing EP at their Johor Bahru campus and are working with us closely to validate EP in their context.

I’m always keen to connect with other educators. So by all means, if you want to discuss anything about maths on the EP platform, please reach out to me either by email or Twitter – 

ben.hilliam@educationperfect.com

Twitter: @benhilliam

Instagram: @mathematiciousben

Please do reach out to Ben and help drive positive learning outcomes in the classroom and around the world. Thanks Ben for sharing your story.