Jenny Mackness


Xmas Day 2017


I have been thinking for a while that it is time to update this profile page, but I will leave the text that I wrote in 2013 where it is for now.

Although 5 years have passed since I wrote the text below, it is only in the last 6 months or so that I have come to feel that it is no longer an accurate description of who I am.

About a month ago I realized that I no longer feel enthusiastic about taking on consultancy work. As such, I have taken the descriptor, independent consultant, off my email signature. I am now in my eighth decade and life seems too short to work on things that I no longer feel passionate about.

But, for now, I will keep referring to myself as an independent researcher, since I have co-authored and published a paper this year. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this paper and hope it won’t be the last paper I work on, but I won’t be too disappointed if it is.

With the realisation that my years ‘are numbered’, I am keen not to waste time on things I am not interested in and to remain open to new learning opportunities; these currently lie in philosophical subjects such as epistemology, ethics and philosophical literature. I closely follow the work of Iain McGilchrist and Stephen Downes, both of whom have influenced my thinking. I have realized that at this stage of my life, art, music, the natural world and interpersonal relationships are all becoming increasingly important. This, I think, relates to what Iain McGilchrist refers to as the need for an embodied life.

I have worked so hard for so long as an educator, that it feels strange to recognise that I am in a period of identity change, but I did update my profile photo at the beginning of this year, so that is a reasonable likeness of me as I am now!

Thank you for visiting my blog.



21-04-13. Welcome to my blog.

This is a Wordle of my Linked In Profile Screen shot 2013-04-21 at 17.51.22

It is pretty accurate in describing where I’m coming from although ‘Oxford’ does not mean that I live in Oxford or went to Oxford University, but I have worked for both Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities in my capacity as an independent education consultant.

I live in Cumbria, UK and love walking on the Cumbrian fells.

Jenny walking

I am also an active independent researcher. This is a Wordle of the Abstracts from my published papers, which again is surprisingly accurate. As far as possible I publish in open journals. I have listed my publications here on this blog. See Publications

Jenny's Research Wordle Profile

I can also be found on Flickr and Twitter.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


22 thoughts on “Jenny Mackness

  1. meandsocialsoftware December 18, 2011 / 7:54 pm

    Dear Jenny Mackness,

    I’m a student from austria, and I’m currently working on my master thesis about social media and learning at higher education.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t found any contact of you, so I try this way. 🙂 I would like to ask you some questions if you just could contact me on my blog ( or per mail (

    I’m really looking forward to hear from you,

  2. jennymackness December 19, 2011 / 7:26 am

    Pia – I have replied to you by email. Please let me know if you don’t receive it.

  3. David Rees January 4, 2012 / 5:44 pm

    Dear Jenny,

    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but (I’m 99% sure) you were my year six teacher at St. Thomas’ School, Kendal in 1995-1996.

    In the 16 years since then I read music at Cambridge and am now working at the Royal College of Music in London, where I teach students about new technology and help the College make use of it too.

    I’m really pleased I’ve found your site, and I certainly have a lot of reading to do. Last year, both inspired by and depressed by what seems to be a reduction in exposure to music education in the UK – I started an experiement at, producing online videos and exercises. I’ve been really encouraged by the response and had around 4000 “students” in December.

    I would be interested if you had any advice or feedback as I attempt to turn the site from a series of videos and exercises into something more dynamic and responsive to users. This is no replacement for a living breathing teacher, and I’m still experiementing with the right style for the teaching (I think I need to be much more informal and conversational), but I really see the value of (and enjoy!) producing resources like these for teachers to use or for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have access to one!

    With best wishes,

    David Rees

  4. jennymackness January 4, 2012 / 6:04 pm

    Hello David – Wow! What a blast from the past! I am so thrilled to hear from you and not at all surprised that you graduated from Cambridge, and very interested that you ended up choosing music.

    I am this week in Chennai in India, so would rather wait till I get home in the middle of next week, before replying to you more fully. I would certainly be very interested to talk to you about your online work and discussing possible developments.

    My email address is Could you send me your email address?

    Really looking forward to catching up with you.


  5. Christine Draper August 20, 2013 / 9:39 am

    Dear Jenny Mackness,

    Your blog looks very interesting. I am currently living and teaching in the UK and have started to use the internet to produce educational resources (I have been using moodle at school for a few years now). I have also just published a book called Introduction to Verbal Reasoning: Tips and Techniques.

    Your son, Phin, kindly suggested that I contact you. I am glad he did, as I can see the wealth of knowledge that you have in online learning.

    Kind regards,

  6. jennymackness August 20, 2013 / 12:05 pm

    Hello Christine – many thanks for contacting me.

    I am intrigued by what you are doing and I wonder how many other teachers are going down this route. I would love to know more about how you see the future of this kind of work. With all the recent developments in open courses and open educational resources, the flipped classroom and so on, many teachers must be wondering about how their careers might develop.

    Congratulations on the publication of your book.

    If I can help you in any way with what you are doing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch again. Phin would let you know how to contact me by email.

    Best wishes,


  7. Brenda Kaulback January 16, 2014 / 4:10 pm

    Not sure where to post this but I thought of you re a post on CP2 when you were pondering the relationship between connected and social learning. I highlighted one sentence in the middle of the article that shed some light on the topic for me.

    OK it won’t let me show highlight so here is the sentence: “Notions which place the self and the subject as the fundamental concerns of education become tenuous when we understand the self and discourse as non-separate entities” So, as you kind of inferred in that CP2 post, social learning related to discourse is one way to think about it.

    Hope this makes any sense whatsoever!
    Brenda Kaulback

  8. Max G (@now_teach_this May 22, 2016 / 2:42 pm

    Hello Jenny,
    My name is Maxine Griffiths AKA @now_teach_this. I am currently an AHT in Jersey and I have spent the last year tracking my journey as a connected educator, specifically on Twitter and its impact on my practice, I am currently studying for an MA in education which I am enjoying every second of. Twitter is the focus of my critical reflection, how it has affected my practice, my students and the community and my colleagues. Could I ask you how it effected you as an educationalists? What influence if any has it had on your Practice?
    Kind regards
    Maxine Griffiths
    Jersey C I

  9. jennymackness May 22, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Hi Maxine – yes of course. Happy to help. Give me a day or two to think about it and I’ll get back to you. I have followed you on Twitter 🙂

  10. Hanne Widmer September 13, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    Hi Jenny
    I work for Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) and we’re preparing a capital appeal to raise money for a very special building.

    The new centre will enable us to undertake a significant change to the focus of our work, which we believe will deliver a greater number and better solutions to more children and young people with disabilities. We want to use our centre as a hub of expertise to bring together as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, including children and adults with disabilities.

    We know by providing an accessible and practical work space, the very best solutions can be created. Our sister charity MERU can then create prototypes, undertake market testing and produce suitable quantities for the sector. We believe this innovative approach provides a unique opportunity for practical solutions for people with complex disabilities.

    In order to try and illustrate this in the appeal I’ve been looking for photos from FabLab and found a collaborative type of image in your page (, 2nd photo from the top.

    I was wondering if it would be OK to use the image? If this is not your remit, who can I contact, please?

    Many, many thanks

  11. jennymackness September 13, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    Hi Hanne,

    Thanks for contacting me and telling me a bit about the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.

    You are very welcome to use the photo. Perhaps you could attribute the photo to me and mention that it was taken at Liverpool John Moores University’s FabLab.

    I hope you will be successful in raising the money you need to build the new centre for disabled people.

    Best wishes,


  12. Hanne Widmer September 13, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Many thanks, Jenny. We’ll see how much space we have for attributions but I’m sure we can, at least, name you!
    Many, many thanks again!

  13. H_Juniper June 3, 2018 / 7:55 am


    I sooooo appreciate your delightful, meaningful, thought-provoking series about Iain McGilchrist and his divided brain book. I’ve been reading it and your posts helped me get a deeper felt understanding of certain aspects of Iain’s so-significant insights… and a more personal glimpse into him as an individual, as well. (I esp. appreciated what you shared, that he had disclosed, about his writing process.)

    Thank you so much. I am a teacher, too, and am intrigued to learn more about your work. I’m all the way in the States (I live in Boise) but it’s a treasure to stumble upon a sort of kindred spirit in this technologically interconnected world. (So meaningfully interconnected in so many other ways, also.)

    Best wishes! Hope we will end up connecting in the future.

    Thank you again.

    Heidi Juniper

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