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Makerspaces for Learning: STEM/STEAM in the Early Years: speaker biographies

Conference organised by Early Education, University of Sheffield (MakEY project) and STEM Learning UK


Karen Brunyee
STEM Learning UK

Karen is a professional development leader in Primary STEM at the National STEM Learning Centre based at the University of York. She delivers training in STEM subjects and pedagogy to primary teachers from across the UK and develops teaching resources to support in the classroom. She was a primary school teacher in North Yorkshire for 14 years, teaching classes from FS2 to Year 6 and is now a governor for a primary school in York. She has a real passion for child-centred, enquiry-based hands-on learning.
She holds chartered science status with the Association for Science Education. She has recently been a partner on the European LINKs project, which studied best practice in STEM education across five European countries.
Karen helped to develop the successful Polar Explorer Project, which looked at STEM through the context of Polar Exploration and the launch of the RHS Sir David Attenborough research ship.

Dr Angela Colvert

Angela is Senior Lecturer in English Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead (Ed Tech and New Media Arts) at the University of Roehampton with expertise and experience in using digital games to develop children’s literacy. She has been involved in the development of award-winning educational games, including the Bafta-nominated 'Teach your Monster to Read' and completed her PhD research into alternate reality games (ARGs) in education at University College London, Institute of Education. She was recently awarded a national research prize for this work. Her current research focuses on the intersections between, and the educational potential of, digital gaming and immersive theatre in school settings.


Fiona Godfrey


Fiona has been the Head teacher at Kate Greenaway Nursery School in Kings Cross, Islington for 9 years. Kate Greenaway  has become well known for its’ innovative and progressive approach in Early Years under her leadership.

Prior to working with the Kate Greenaway team, Fiona worked in other senior leadership roles in Early Years In both Islington and Haringey.

Chloe Hinkson

Chloe is an Early Years educator at Kate Greenaway Nursery school, working in the nursery class. Chloe leads on our offer of "playful technology" in the school and has played a leading role in the STEM CHINA project throughout this year.

Dr Louise Kay


Louise is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the University of Sheffield. Her doctoral thesis explored the beliefs of two Reception teachers using Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). The ways in which 'school readiness' was constructed through pedagogical practices was identified, and the tensions and contradictions that emerged between these practices and the beliefs of teachers were explored in depth. She has a particular interest in curricular and assessment policy frameworks and how these impact on teachers and children.

Steve Mackenzie


Steve Mackenzie is a Concept Development Manager for LEGO® Education, working from Billund, Denmark – home of the LEGO brick. Over five years at LEGO Education, Steve has developed concepts, curriculum and training content for new and existing LEGO sets, including the new FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. Discovery STEM program. Prior to moving to Denmark, Steve spent 13 years as a teacher in the UK. He gained his MEd from Cambridge University, focusing on children designing and leading their own learning experiences.

Professor Jackie Marsh


Jackie Marsh is Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jackie has led numerous research projects engaging children, teachers, parents and children’s media industry partners in research on young children’s play and digital literacy practices in homes and schools (e.g. ‘Technology and Play’, and ‘Social Media, Television and Children’). Jackie is Chair of COST Action IS1410, DigiLitEY, a network of 35 EU countries focusing on research in this area. She directed the 7-country H2020 project on makerspaces in the early years, MakEY

Professor Cathy Nutbrown


Cathy Nutbrown is a Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield where her teaching and research focuses on Early Childhood Education. Cathy began her career as a nursery teacher and has since worked with children, parents, teachers, and other early childhood educators, in a range of settings and roles.  She is author of over fifty publications on aspects of early childhood education, including 10 books. She chaired a year-long Nutbrown Review - providing independent advice for government on early years and childcare qualifications in 2012.  Her work has been recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council, with the prize, in 2013, for Research with Outstanding Impact on Society. In the same year, her commitment to the early years was recognised by the Nursery World Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently President of Early Education.

Professor Elizabeth Wood


Elizabeth Wood is Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses mainly on early childhood and primary education, with specific interests in play and pedagogy; curriculum and assessment in ECE; teachers’ professionalism and professional knowledge; policy analysis and critique. Her work on play has international reach and influence, and she is Visiting Professor at the University of Auckland, and Australian Catholic University Melbourne.