Young People, Mobile and Internet Technologies 2008 - Maximising Opportunities, Addressing Challenges

Date: Monday the 20th of October 2008  -  Venue: Richard Ley Development Centre, DVLA, Swansea

Speaker Biographies

Ann Beynon, BT Director Wales

Ann joined BT in June 1998, as National Manager, with specific responsibility for developing and implementing the company’s strategy for Wales. In July 2004 she was appointed as Director Wales. 

As one of the few senior female executives in Wales, Ann is well known in the business community and, in February 1999, she was appointed as a member of the Royal Commission for the reform of the House of Lords under Lord Wakeham. Prior to joining BT, Ann was employed as Director of Business Development at the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation.  Previously Ann held a number of key roles at S4C, the Welsh Language TV service. 

Ann represents Business Wales on the EU Programme Monitoring Committee for West Wales and the Valleys and is a member of the CBI Council for Wales. She was a member of the Wales committee of the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission) until September 2007. She is the Chair of Business in The Community (BitC) Wales Advisory Committee and a director of BitC UK. She is a non-executive director of Opportunity Wales, an eCommerce project to support Welsh SMEs embrace new business technologies.  She became a member of the Council of the University of Wales, Bangor in April 2004. Ann graduated from Bangor University, where she studied languages, with a first class honours in Welsh. She is married, has two children and lives in Cardiff. She was awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Years Honours for her contribution to business.

Sangeet Bhullar, Executive Director, WISE KIDS

Sangeet is the Founder and Executive Director of WISE KIDS, a non-profit organisation providing innovative training programmes and consultancy in New Media, Internet and Mobile Technologies, Internet Proficiency, Literacy and Safety. An older Digital Native, trained as an Electrical Engineer, she believes strongly in the potential of Internet and Mobile technologies to transform learning, youth, community and business development.

WISE KIDS works with
a wide range of partners including Schools, Colleges, Youth Organisations, Community Projects, Private and Public Sector Organisations. Sangeet is also on a number of government and non-government groups where she promotes Digital Inclusion and New Media Literacy. These include the Welsh Assembly Government Communities @One Advisory group, WISP- Wales Internet Safety Partnership, the newly formed UK Council for Child Internet Safety, and the BBC’s Broadcasting (now Audience) Council for Wales. She has spoken at conferences, been an external examiner, written guidance and provided training across Britain, Singapore and Malaysia.

Mark Blois, Lawyer, Browne Jacobson

Mark is a partner with Browne Jacobson at its Nottingham office. He leads the firm's education team providing advice to schools, colleges and Local Authorities.

Mark is named as a leader in his field in both Chambers and Legal 500, is an Executive Committee member of the Education Law Association and is a Local Authority governor at a special school in Nottingham.

He writes extensively on education law and has had published over 60 articles in national publications. He is also the author of chapters in Optimus' Education Law Handbook, the IBC Distance Learning Course on Education Law and Croner's Special Educational Needs Handbook. He has recently been appointed to the regional council of the Learning & Skills Council.

Alan Davies, Conference Chair

Born in London in 1955, Alan is a Welsh-speaking Welshman with deep family roots in West Wales. He now lives in Cardiff and is the proud husband of Mari, and father to 2 sons, Tomos and Tecwyn both of whom are at Aberystwyth University (2008).

Alan spent 18 years in the British Army before embarking on a successful business career in Wales which saw him involved in leading various business start-ups and in creating several hundred jobs in high tech companies.

During one of these roles he was NTL and Virgin Net’s representative on the Internet Watch Foundation and has a great personal interest in the use of technology in business and personal life. Alan regularly comments on TV and radio on a number of issues, predominately related to his military experience and understanding of technonlogy.

Tim Davies, Practical Participation

Tim Davies is an independent consultant, researcher and social entrepreneur focusing on projects linked to youth work; civic engagement and participation; social technologies; and social change campaigning. After a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics; four years working with The National Youth Agency as a trainer and consultant in youth participation; six years of running a web development and ICT consultancy for the not-for-profit sector; two years focusing on training and research around the use of social media tools for collaboration and social change; six months as the communications manager for a Fairtrade shop; and a grand total of 23 years being himself, Tim has still not learnt the art of writing a biography. Instead, he tends to find it easier to just point to or
John Davitt, Keynote Speaker

John Davitt is a writer, broadcaster and education technology specialist. He has worked in the education sector for the last twenty-five years as an English teacher, senior manager and regional adviser with the EU Flexible Learning Project. As a journalist he writes for the UK Guardian, The Times and The Observer, with a regular feature in the Education Guardian. John has worked extensively with teachers in schools in UK, China and Africa and he is committed to levelling the playing field regarding access to new learning opportunities. He is the author of the book “New Tools for Learning” (2006) a  practical guide as to how to make the technology fit the learning need, and the WordRoot CD, an interactive guides to words and their etymology. He has recently developed The Learning Score, a tool that lets teachers map out and share learning intentions as a graphical event - rather like a music score. His new book "Setting Learning Free - The Difference Engine runs again" will be published in December 2008. 

Josh Dhaliwal, Co-founder mobileYouth

Josh co-founded mobileYouth eight years ago having spent several years spent in broadcast television production and new media.

His interest in wireless media stems from working at news broadcaster ITN where he worked with UK network operator Orange on the development and strategy for launch of their online and mobile internet portals as well as Europe's first mobile news service.

Josh is a regular speaker and commentator on the subject of young people and technology an area in which he has chaired several industry conferences as well as being an expert for the media. His media credits include appearances on CNN, Sky News, BBC Breakfast News, Tonight with Trevor McDonald and BBC Radio.

Will Gardner, Deputy CEO, Childnet International

Childnet International is an international children’s charity (set up in 1995) that is working to help to make the Internet a great and safe place for children (see ). As well as showcasing the incredible ways that children are using new technology for good, Childnet works to respond to the potential risks facing children via new technology, and run awareness campaigns on Internet safety, and contributes to policy development in this area.

Will Gardner has been at Childnet since October 2000, working in the area of research and policy. Will is a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (and previously the Home Office Task Force on child protection on the Internet), and has been part of the group drawing up ‘Good Practice Guidance for Industry’ for chat, instant messenger, search providers, and social network providers. He also looks after the website, and has given advice to thousands of children and adults who have contacted him via the chatdanger website on issues relating to Internet safety. Will has also given advice to a range of industry players and governments, as well as other organisations, on issues relating to internet safety.

Will has run several international projects on children and the internet, including on the risks of and advice needed for interactive services, and the identification of child victims of child abuse images online. Will is a member of the UK Department for
Children Schools and Families (DCSF) Cyberbullying Taskforce. He has recently headed up the work drawing up the DCSF’s guidance for schools on preventing and responding to cyberbullying, and its accompanying DVD ‘Let’s Fight it together’, see He has also recently co-authored the Fair Game? report looking at the extent and nature of commercialism on children’s favourite websites and online environments, see

Ruth Hammond, Manager Safeguarding Programmes, Becta

Ruth is a graduate teacher with experience of the primary, secondary and FE sectors.  Since joining Becta in 2002 her work has involved collaboration with a wide range of national agencies, government departments and subject associations on effective practice using ICT.  Since 2003 Ruth’s work has focussed on Becta’s advice and guidance relating to Internet Safety, representing Becta on the Home Secretary’s Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet and the Associate Parliamentary Media Literacy Group.  She has been invited to represent Becta on the UK Council for Child Internet Safety set up in response to the Byron Review.  Ruth was seconded to CEOP prior to their launch and continues to work closely with their Education team and other key agencies striving to ensure the safeguarding of children online.  Recently she has worked closely with TDA, Childnet International and Microsoft to produce online e-safety training and CPD resources for trainee and practising teachers.  She was invited by UCLAN to be an external examiner on the validation panel for the University Certificate in Child Safety on the Internet.

Helen Penn, Head of Education, CEOP

Helen has worked extensively in child protection and the internet safety arena both in the UK and the developing world. With a background in teaching and youth work, she joined Childnet International in 2003 to manage their education and outreach programmes before being seconded to the National Crime Squad in 2005. Here, she led on developing an Education programme for the Virtual Global Taskforce and the creation of CEOP’s Thinkuknow agenda.

Helen now heads up CEOP’s Education department, creating new and award winning programmes for young people, parents, educators and professionals using intelligence from national and international cases. Helen also sits on the Home Secretaries Task Force for Child Protection Online.

DK, Founder, MediaSnackers

DK is the founder of MediaSnackers. MediaSnackers was a term he coined back in early 2006 whilst describing what young people were doing with media—the site was launched a few months later in June. He has an educational background in communications and media, plus a professional background in local government (he was the UK’s first and only Corporate Youth Officer!) He’s done lots of things and had many roles, but his passion for working with young people (and youth professionals) has been his main focus for the past eight years. MediaSnackers is his ‘bat and ball’—do you fancy a game?

Fiona Lennox, Ofcom

Since joining Ofcom's media literacy team as a policy executive in 2006, Fiona has been responsible for developing a comprehensive programme of media literacy research. She was instrumental in developing the successful International Media Literacy Research Forum and continues to be one of the UK's leading experts on media literacy research, presenting across the UK and Europe.

Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. Ofcom has a duty to promote media literacy under the Communications Act 2003.

Previously Head of Standards at the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Fiona joined Ofcom in 2003. She has a degree in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and was awarded a Commonwealth Relations Trust Bursary to study broadcasting in Malaysia

Victoria Read, Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Bebo

Victoria is Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Bebo, covering policy areas such as internet safety, advertising, content regulation and media literacy. She joined Bebo in October 2007 having spent two years at the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) – the UK government's advisory group on broadband – where she led the digital media policy work programme. 

Prior to joining the BSG, Victoria spent three years at the Publishers Association, representing educational and academic publishers to government and other stakeholders, and started her career in publishing. Victoria is a graduate of the University of Sheffield and has an MA from Oxford Brookes University.

Kieron Sheehy

Dr Kieron Sheehy is a based at The Open University. His background is in educational psychology and he has a particular interest in teaching children with severe learning difficulties, inclusion, pedagogy and new technologies. He is a founder member of Schome, a group which has made extensive use of virtual worlds, such as Schome Park, an island in the Teen Grid of Second Life®. This aims to give people 'a lived experience' of radically different models of education. Kieron has researched and written about learning in virtual worlds and the issues and opportunities that this presents. His current research is looking at ways in which the borders between ‘traditional virtual’ and real worlds are breaking down as we move towards augmented realities, and the impact this could have on education.

Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Keith Towler was born in London and came to Wales as a young child when the family moved to Cardiff.  He graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Fine Arts and then became a Social Work Assistant with South Glamorgan County Council. His career path has given him a strong background in youth work, youth justice and children’s rights.  He joined NACRO (the crime reduction charity) in 1998 as Head of NACRO Cymru and became NACRO Director of Crime Reduction (England and Wales) in 2001.

Prior to taking up the post of Children’s Commissioner for Wales in March 2008, he was Programme Director for the Wales Programme of Save the Children for 2 years and Chair of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Monitoring Group for Wales

Keith lives in Llandeilo with his partner and their son and daughter.



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