Meeting Sir Ken at the Future Schools Conference


It is not often that Sir Ken Robinson comes to Australia, let alone to my home town of Melbourne. So when I heard that he was keynoting this year’s National Future Schools Conference, I jumped at the opportunity to hear the great man and had the pleasure to have a few words with him.

Sir Ken is the world authority on creativity in education. He has been named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’ and acclaimed as one of “the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation”.  In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts and three years later he did his first TED Talk (Do Schools Kill Creativity) which has recently gained over 50 million hits on and over 14 million hits on YouTube. This is acclaimed to be the most watched TED talk in the history of TED talks.


Sir Ken was in fine form with an engaging collection of humerous anecdotes and poignant statements about the state of education systems around the globe. I have seen him present live on two occasions and have watched a number of recordings over the years and I am constantly impressed with his oratory skills and the way he can hold an audience for an extended period of time without the use of many, if any, visual aids.


Sir Ken’s main message was based around moving education beyond its current focus on standardised testing. His aim for education (as the above image shows) is to enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them. It appears that the aims of education in many schools and education departments is to get good scores in standardised tests and Year 12 results.


He said that depression is the world’s single largest health issues and that in many cases the systems we have in place in schools can encourage many students to be disengaged and not successful which can lead to depression and anxiety.

He also talked about the power of collaboration and how schools are not encouraging it. Most schools systems are based on individual competition and students are ranked according to how well they can do an examination. Sir Ken said collaboration is as equally a powerful motivation to succeed as competition.


Sir Ken said that we have the resources we need to fix the system but we are not making the connections. There are wonderful teachers and school leaders in every education system who see the issues and are working hard to enhance creativity and provide their students with opportunities to collaborate with each other in different age groups, with students in other countries and with industry representatives. These teachers are making a positive difference by working around the system that is so focused on test results and tend to prioritise certain disciplines over others. Sir Ken says a lot of the things that happen in schools are done to aid efficiency rather than education and learning. We need to revolutionise education from the ground up.


Sir Ken also made the point that it is not just about STEM. He said it is also about the Arts and Humanities. He emphasised that subjects like Mathematics and Science should never be given priority of other curriculum such as the Arts. If our aim is to produce fulfilled individuals and active and compassionate citizens, then teaching Arts and Humanities is as important as teaching Mathematics, Science & Engineering.


He used an interesting agricultural metaphor to describe the current state of education and how it can be improved. He said that traditional agricultural practices with pesticides and aggressive farming techniques ruin the soil and don’t encourage future yields. More modern and sustainable agricultural approaches place a priority on caring for the soil and yields are stronger and  longer lasting.

This is true of education. The traditional approach has been detrimental for many students who don’t fit the traditional model of what it is to be ‘intelligent’. They are left disengaged with the system and with life. A more sustainable approach that values students rather than the test result produces a much better learning culture for all students, a culture where the miracle of learning is common place.

Sir Ken said the teachers job is to encourage miracles and that teachers are in the miracle business, the best business you can be in.




Big Day In – Sydney


About 1,600 students attended two days of Big Day In presentations this week at UTS (University of Technology Sydney).


Professor Attila Brungs, Vice Chancellor and President, UTS welcomed everyone to his university. He shared  about the amazing growth that has occurred at UTS over the past few years and the commitment they have made to link with industry and government to provide their students with outstanding opportunities to thrive and potential build their passions into future work opportunities.


Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Finance, Services & Property officially opened the event. He told the audience about the many wonderful opportunities there are in NSW to build a future in the IT industry. He made the point that many industries can have a positive impact on the world over time but working in IT can make a wide impact very quickly.


I had the honour of being the opening keynote presenter and shared the value of creativity as a skill that will help young people thrive in the future.


My special helper Rob the Robot feature during the presentation to give a robot’s perspective on things like automation and how that will effect the future workplace.


A key part of my message was to encourage the students to develop skills and interest in areas that are not likely to be computerised in the near future. I showed them a study from Oxford that predicted that 47% of jobs are at risk of being automated in the next 20 years.

I showed them part of the recent ISA (Innovation Science Australia) study that claimed that more jobs will demand 21st‑century skills, such as interpersonal skills, entrepreneurialism and creative problem solving. And that 92% of future jobs will need digital skills, and 45% of jobs will need people who can configure and work confidently with digital systems and technology.


I also told them that according to the ISA study, an Australian student leaving school today is likely to have five careers and 17 jobs over their working life. A very different world to when I was their age and when their teachers were at school.

It worries me that our education system is still based on an old mindset that believes the most important thing in education is to get a good Year 12 result so that students can get into university and have a chance at a good career. We don’t live is that world anymore.

I introduced the students to the recent work from Marc Prensky that looks at a wide range of specific skills that are required by the future worker.


And I encouraged the students to learn how to brand themselves in creative ways so they can stand out from the crowd. Of course, I suggested they learn a range of the Adobe tools they have at their schools and encouraged the NSW DoE students to take advantage of the free access they have on their own devices provided by the NSW Government.


Over the two days, there were a wide range of other presenters from companies such as

  • Microsoft
  • Animal Logic
  • TechnologyOne
  • Westpac
  • WiseTech Global
  • BT Financial Group
  • SMB Consultants
  • JAR Aerospace
  • Micro Focus &
  • Tradie Pad

Michael Quandt from Animal Logic, the makers of The Lego Movie (and lots more)

It was great to have the support of Jerry Wong and Anna Nakao (Adobe Customer Success Managers) at the Adobe table as the hundreds of students can streaming past asking questions about how to access and work with Adobe tools.



Special thanks to John Ridge and Kerrie Bissaro from the Australian Computer Society Foundation for the amazing work they do in running these events throughout the country.

I’m looking forward to the next one that I will be involved with in Melbourne on 30th May.



Professional Learning for teachers at the Adobe Sydney Office


A group of very creative educators from a wide variety of schools visited the Adobe Sydney office in Darling Harbour this week for some intensive work-shopping on a range of Adobe products.

I was delighted to have Adobe Education Leaders Brett Kent and Chris Betcher with me to help run the breakout sessions. Brett share some of his breadth of experience with Photoshop in the classroom and Chris focused on the Adobe Spark tools.


I ran two video breakout session, one of Premiere Clip and the other on Premiere Pro.

Collectively we looked at Adobe Character Animator and did an over view of a range of valuable Adobe classroom solutions such as the Adobe Education Exchange –

I used this opportunity to also promote the Adobe Have a Voice project for NSW DoE schools.


Stay tuned to the Adobe Edu Coming Events Spark Page to keep up to date with future event similar to this –

Sparking creativity @ Carey


It was such a joy to go back to my old school (Carey Baptist Grammar School) and work with students and teachers at their Donvale campus last week.

Adobe Spark was the focus for this day and I had the opportunity to work with the Year 6s, 4s & even the Year 3s (which is as young as I have worked with in my time at Adobe).

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My family history with Carey goes right back to 1923 when my Grandfather Charles Ridley Kitchen was a foundation scholar. My father went there in the early 60s, my uncle Rev Tim Costello in the 70s, I was there as a student from 1979 to 1986, I taught the Carey Kew Junior School from 1996 to 2000 and these days I have a nephew & a niece at the school.


It was delightful catching up with Patrick Gray who was teaching a Year 4 class that day. I taught Patrick’s brother Richard in my first years of teaching in the early 1990s at Kingswood College. At the time Patrick was just starting school.


Richard was a very creative student who developed a strong passion for video production with me in the days just before digital editing was available. He is now a full-time movie director based on Los Angeles with currently 9 full-length movies to his name.

Richard Gray’s IMDb site

Special thanks to Kelvin Finger Carey Junior School Donvale, eLearning Advisor for organising this special Adobe Day at his school.

Adobe Day at Surf Coast Secondary College, Victoria


For the past few years, Surf Coast Secondary College have invited me to work with their Year 7 students as well as their senior media students to help improve their use of Adobe products.

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The Year 7s were introduced to the amazing Adobe Spark tools. They worked in small groups to create a series of posters and videos about what they collectively liked.

The senior media students were introduced to Adobe Premiere Pro to help them with their future video productions. Premiere Pro is now considered the industry standard for video production and it is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud which is now available to all Victorian secondary schools for free via EduStar thanks to the Victorian Department of Education & Training.

More information on this can be found via:

Special thanks to Andrew Brown, Digital Learning Leader at Surf Coast SC for helping to make this day possible.

Adobe Day @ Catholic College Wodonga


Catholic College Wodonga is a co-educational Catholic school in the north east of Victoria, near the border of NSW. On Friday 9th March, I had the pleasure of working with a number of students and teachers, sharing the value of Adobe tools to enhance creativity.


Adobe Campus Leader Lisa Mason, is the Year 10 Coordinator and Media teacher at this school. She ask me to work with some of her students throughout the day ans she organised a special presentation for interested students and staff.


If you are interested in joining Adobe’s global Education Leadership Program, apply to join the Adobe Campus Leaders Program via –


Adobe Day @ Wagga Christian College

I had the pleasure of spending a day working with a group of senior secondary students from Wagga Wagga Christian College in NSW on Thursday 8th March, 2018.


A number of the students had been exposed to Adobe Premiere Pro and this day was an opportunity for them to develop their video editing skills to the next level.

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I was very impressed with the way the students picked up the skills & techniques so quickly and adapted them into a range of creative video stories.

Special thank you to David Crick who helped organise this incursion.