Meet the Team: Vicky Rose (Instructional Design Assistant)

Hello and welcome to my first EVER blog! Please be gentle with me as I’m new to this and have a lot to learn, but learning is what this year (and hopefully many years to come) is all about.

My journey to PIXELearning has had many twists and turns, has spanned the globe and the breadth of emotion, from dismal lows to euphoric highs.

The result of this winding road means that it’s tricky to know quite where to start but I’ll give it a shot! My need for creative outlet led me to take an art and design foundation course followed by a degree in studio crafts in glorious Brighton.

Somehow there wasn’t too much call for my strangely bovine, anatomical, silicon rubber creations, so I took a job designing mousepads featuring the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and South Park…(from high-brow to how-low-can-you-go-brow!). Then to London approving products that featured Noddy (or Oui-Oui as he’s known in France- snigger) – thus began my career in branding/ licensed merchandise.

I worked for a few years for Warner Bros. (DC Comics, Scooby Doo, Harry Potter ++) and then headed up Product Development at Entertainment Rights (Postman Pat, Rupert Bear, He-man, Trap Door+) These were fun times; concept design for pre-sales, lots of collaboration, perks like visiting Diagon Alley or Cosgrave Hall the stop-frame animation studios. It wasn’t all frivolity though, licensed merchandise brought in huge revenues and was sometimes the only reason the program existed. We jumped on the bandwagon of educational toys to widen our market and increase sales, “Edutainment” it was called (bingo). This planted the seed of an interest in education – particularly through play/ games.

Gradually I realised that I was peddling toxic, plastic ‘one-liners’ destined for the landfill, at children. I saw The Story of Stuff and I knew I needed to move on. So after a year working and travelling I fell in love with Western Australia – the laidback lifestyle and space was the antithesis of my previous London existence. They needed teachers so I decided to undertake a Post-Grad teaching qualification and emigrate there!

The teaching course at Murdoch University was fantastic, I relished the challenge and the joy of learning in its own right, but the subject fascinated me – how people learn best, how to motivate and engage students.

Then life threw a curve ball! Australia decided it didn’t need teachers after all – so I wouldn’t be able to get a visa to live or work there.

Back in the UK, I discovered that my Aussi teaching qualification was useless for long term employment. I felt pretty lost.

But then I began to make connections – how could I bring together my experience in the entertainment industry, with my new found passion for learning and development?

My dad introduced me to David Wortley who formerly headed up the Serious Games Industry in Coventry, before setting up his own business and is a mine of information. He introduced me to some of his contacts for which I will be eternally grateful.

I began by working as an Intern for PlayMob at Tech Hub back in London. They’re doing some amazing work with ‘GiverBoard’ which facilitates charitable giving through in-game virtual goods.

I came to Coventry and met the team at PIXELearning, did a couple of days work with them and went through some interviews, and when a job came up assisting Helen Routledge in Instructional Design I jumped at the chance.

I’m in my third month now and I can honestly say that I have never felt happier in my work and life. There is so much variety, from brainstorming learning opportunities in games, to programming dialogue, and decorating virtual worlds (!) to creating artwork and meeting clients.

In the end my work is creative and conscious, education is about empowerment – and I’m living in the countryside with three pet pigs.

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