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Close up: Meet the team, Bharat Asar

This series of blog posts is about getting to know the Firefly team a bit better. This time we're introducing Bharat. You might have spoken with Bharat on the phone, where he answers enquiries from partner schools. We find out what got Bharat into technology and ask how he is finding his new role.

Name: Bharat Asar

Team: Client Experience

Time at Firefly: 2 months (joined Nov 2015)

What have your first few months at Firefly been like?

I have been at Firefly for 2 months now, and it has been a really positive experience. The team I work in has been very welcoming, as has everyone else at Firefly, so a big thank you to all. It certainly helped me to settle in quickly. It has been a steep learning curve in certain ways, but I am really enjoying it. I was a little nervous about being at Bett in January, but all the hard work put into place by the fantastically talented individuals helped me to overcome those nerves, and by the end of my stint, I came back feeling even more positive and passionate about Firefly.

What’s your first memory of using technology?

It may come as a surprise, but when I was growing up I was more involved with sports like cricket and cycling. But, I do vividly remember as a kid meeting up with friends for a couple of hours once a week to check out this thing called Space Invaders on a little box called an Atari 2600. That was the mid-80s, and arcade machines were starting to get really popular in Bahrain (where I grew up). This was the start of my interest.

I bought my first computer, the much revered Commodore 64, when I was about 14, but literally weeks after that Kuwait got invaded, throwing the whole region into turmoil. Going out suddenly became a more restricted activity and inevitably I ended up spending more time indoors playing on the computer.

Was technology part of your experience at school? Are you surprised by how quickly technology has become part of day-to-day school life?

Computers and the option to study computing came fairly late in my schooling, around Year 9 or Year 10. By then technology was starting to become more widely used in Bahrain, so I was intrigued and decided to study it as an extra subject. My brother suggested that rather than just playing games that I should try to learn how my computer actually worked. But little did I know that this curiosity would lead to a career in technology.

Of course, when I look around now, 25 odd years later, I am amazed at how technology has become so important to our lives. But, having worked in schools for the several years, I still find the use of technology is often lacking, whether it is due to poorly designed solutions, or a lack of confidence due to historically bad productions or services. I think this should change - and that is a big reason why I joined Firefly, as I believe what we are doing is a big step in the right direction.

What do you think classrooms in the year 2115 will look like?

Tricky one!

The way technology has been transformed, largely thanks to Apple, in the last decade has made a lot of people sit up and take notice. I think it was a really positive change, away from the same old desktop PC.

But, even a decade ago, I don’t think we knew how powerful mobile devices would become. Today, mobile and tablets could totally transform education, as classrooms are reinvented or perhaps even become unnecessary, and students across the world can communicate with each other instantly.

In the far far future, perhaps we will be able to learn wherever we are - students could simply connect to the nearest access point or kiosk, as humans travel through the galaxies, and learn effortlessly as we travel from X to Y.

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