What schools should be like every day

The following video clip comes from the 2016 Junior Big Day In which is an initiative from the Australian Computer Society Foundation, hosted at the wonderful Hilltop Road Public School in Sydney’s west.

It is an example of what schooling could be like everyday with links between education and industry driving authentic and vital 21st century communication, creativity and computational thinking skills.

When you are looking at this clip, note the genuine excitement, discovery and engagement in the faces of the students and the teachers. Everyone is learning and making together with a real sense of purpose. This is what education should always be about.

This is the second year of the Junior Big Day In program which has grown to involve over 900 Year 5 & 6 NSW students.


image courtesy of ACS Foundation

Many of the technologies and activities on this day are affordable and accessible to most schools. In my travels around Australia and beyond, I see many schools establishing maker spaces and opening up these types of opportunities in their libraries and classrooms. However most of these learning activities are happening before school, recess, lunch time and after school. It appears as if this type of learning is not important enough to be integrated into the mainstream curriculum.


image courtesy of ACS Foundation

It is my dream that these type of activities are used regularly in classrooms all over the world to enhance student’s literacy, numeracy, science, history, geography, arts & physical skills. In doing so, students will be better prepared for lifelong learning in an every changing and uncertain future.

Wouldn’t it be nice if school was like this every day!

Thought leaders such as Marc Prensky and Professor Yong Zhao regularly share the importance of schools allowing students the opportunity to discover their passions and potentially turn those passions into 21st century employability and entrepreneurial skills such as:


Adobe Education Leader and teacher at Hilltop Road Public School, Brett Kent and his Principal Natalie See were instrumental in the planning of this day with the ACS Foundation. It is great to see some of Adobe’s creativity software being featured in the video.


Special thanks to John Ridge and Kerrie Bisaro from the ACS Foundation for putting this event together.


Here is the video story I put together from the 2015 Junior Big Day In




Award winning NSW student work

Talented NSW Adobe Campus Leader Andrew Lai from Northern Beaches Secondary College Freshwater Senior Campus, very proudly shared with me the following video that helped Monique (one of his Multimedia students) come first in the state for Industrial Technology this year.

She used a range of Adobe tools to produced the wonderful short film.

Well done Monique! Well done Andrew!


Proud NSW teacher, Andrew Lai (Adobe Campus Leader)

If you are a NSW DoE teacher, make sure your students take advantage of free access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud software via https://nsw-students.onthehub.com Click here to find out more.

21st Century Learning at Woorana Park Primary

Every so often, I come across a school that is doing really amazing things in terms of ICT integration in the curriculum. Woorana Park Primary in Melbourne is one of those schools.

Kieran Nolan (@kdnolanT) is the school’s Education Technologist and the programs he has set up with the teaching staff are an outstanding example of what is possible in a Primary School.

Terry Cantwell (Adobe Campus Leader) from Real Time Learning (@rtlaustralia) has very creativity used Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Character Animator, Photoshop and Audition to produced the following YouTube clip about what the school is achieving …


CreateWorld Conference 2016


It was a privilege to be invited back to keynote and support the CreateWorld Conference in Brisbane at the Griffith University, Queensland College of Art.


The theme this year was “The Creativity of Things” – a play on the internet of things, and (as it says on the conference site) an exploration of how innovative people are using small, ubiquitous, connected devices to create art, to stimulate learning, to inspire, and to share.

This event involved educators from universities from all over Australia and New Zealand. It also, for the first time, included a number of arts and media related teachers from K12 schools in Queensland.

A personal and professional highlight for me was hearing from and meeting Natalie Rusk from the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group.


Two of my biggest education heroes come from this group. Its founder Seymour Papert and its current director Mitchel Resnick. Natalie, a research scientist,  has worked with both of them for many year. She is a lead developer and co-founder of Scratch, a graphical programming language that enables students to design and code interactive animations, games and a range of other creative projects. She also started the Computer Clubhouse after school which has over 100 sites in 20 countries.


I was very pleased to be able to complement much of Natalie’s messaging during my keynote presentation  with supporting quotes from Seymour Papert and Mitch Resnick. A quote from Resnick that we both consequently shared was, Success in the future – for individuals, for communities, for companies, for nations as a whole – will be based not on what we know or how much we know, but on our ability to think and act creatively. Resnick said this in a webinar hosted by Adobe Education in 2014 (http://bit.ly/mitchresnick-adobe14).


My friend and colleague, Brisbane based Adobe Solution Consultant Richard Turner-Jones, shared some of the new developments at Adobe that came out of the 2016 Adobe Max conference.


JB Tinker from XCERIO (Adobe’s certification partner) talked about the value of doing Adobe certification and used this event to launch the 2017 Adobe Certified Associate World Championships competition.


Richard and I ran a series of very well attended workshops throughout the conference including:

  • Adobe’s 3D Solutions with Photoshop, Fuse and Project Felix
  • Great looking Websites without coding using Adobe Spark Post, Spark Page,
    Photoshop & Adobe Muse
  • HTML Animations & Mobile App Development with Adobe Animate CC
  • Simple Video Solutions with the free Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS & Android) &
    Adobe Spark Video
  • Mobile App Design with Adobe Experience Design

The day 2 keynote was Adam Jefford, Head of Creative Industries at Pimpama State Secondary College. Adam talked about some of the really creative ways his school is challenging the traditional curriculum and inspiring its young people to think outside the square and prepare themselves for an unknown world. Earlier this year, Adam was awarded a Good Design Award for Jump Start – a design thinking and social entrepreneurship program he co-founded empowering school students to make a positive change in the world through design-led creativity and entrepreneurial endeavours.


Another highlight for me was catching up with my friend Hohepa Spooner from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Hohepa did a presentation titled Creating Apps and eBooks for Education with Adobe Experience Manager Mobile and the Adobe Creative Cloud. His presentation looked at the Mobile Apps and eBooks that have been created at the AUT Centre for Learning and Teaching, and the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development – Te Ara Poutama and how they are used in teaching and learning in various faculties and departments within the university with a focus on the use of Adobe Experience Manager.


Another feature of this event was The Shed where a number of vendors had displays for the participants to tinker and play. I enjoyed playing a 3D printed electric guitar.


Universities involved in CreateWorld 2016 included:

  • AUT University (NZ)
  • Charles Sturt University (NSW)
  • Griffith University (QLD)
  • University of Auckland
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Waikato
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Wollongong

Congratulations to Daniel Della-Bosca, Seth Ellis, Dale Patterson and Tony Gray for putting this conference together.

Adobe resources shared at this event can be found via – bit.ly/adobe-createworld16

Paul’s legacy lives on


The Paul Kitchen – Junior Teacher of the Year – St Vincent’s Clinical School

One of my father’s passions was teaching medical students from The University of Melbourne during their clinical experience at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne. Each year since his passing in 2011, a trophy in Paul’s honour has been awarded to encourage the medical teaching staff at St Vincent’s to continue in his tradition of great teaching.

This year, the trophy was awarded to Dr. Peter Iser, a General Medical Physician who works at St Vincent’s and Geelong. Peter was taught by Paul, and fondly remembers him as an inspirational teacher and surgeon.


The 2016 graduating medical students from St Vincent’s Clinical School

The Paul Kitchen Junior Teacher of the Year award is announced annually at a special graduation mass at St Vincent’s that precedes the student’s graduation ceremony at The University of Melbourne when they officially become doctors.

My mother Merrill spoke about Paul’s passion for progressive education and how he helped drive the teaching program at St Vincent’s to a more problem based and inquiry approach. I recall many past conversations with Paul about the value of this approach in K-12 education.

This is the first year when the graduating students would have never been taught by Paul at any stage. The medical students may have never met Paul, but many of the teaching and administration staff  remember him fondly and it is always a pleasure and privilege for our family to be asked to pass on this special award and continue Paul’s legacy.


Click here to see my tribute to Paul posted in 2012.

Click here to see the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons write up about Paul

ISV – Maker Fest 2016


Independent School’s Victoria (ISV), invited Adobe Education to be involved with their first ever Maker Fest this week. The Fest involved a range of activities for teachers and students with an aim to encourage students to construct, tinker and learn lots in the process.

One of the highlights for the teachers was hearing from Adrian Camm, Head of Teaching and Learning at The Geelong College. Adrian is passionate about progressive education methods and he shared some of his experiences and philosophies. He recommended five key points for school leaders to follow to make a difference …

  1. Create a shared vision among the staff & students
  2. Switch from passive to active learning in the classroom
  3. Provide permission
  4. Make your default answer to requests “yes”
  5. Always remind people (especially teachers) that they are awesome

Other highlights of the day included seeing a number of students working with robots and circuits and simple programming applications to solve problems and build things.


The students worked in groups and were given the opportunity to share what they had made and learned to the visiting teachers.


I had the pleasure of showing the teachers some of the great Adobe resources, including the Adobe Education Exchange which now involves close to 350,000 teachers globally. The Adobe Spark products were also popular at this event.





It was also great catching up with my friend Luke Kerr from  who is making a big difference in the area of STEM education with his team at Real Time Learning.


The maker movement in education is the latest adaptation of Seymour Papert’s Constructionist Learning theory. I’ve often referred to Professor Papert as the godfather of ICT integration in education. His learning theory supports a student-focused, inquiry approach to teaching and learning where students use existing information to build new knowledge. With this approach, students learn through doing with a project-based focus, making connections between various ideas facilitated by the teacher rather than dictated by the teacher.

Click here for my  article about the recent passing of the great Seymour Papert.

Special congratulations to Lynda Cutting, Irene Anderson, Melinda Hargreaves and the rest of the ISV team for making this day such a success. I’m looking forward to being involved again in 2017.

AIE – Academy of Interactive Entertainment


AIE (the Academy of Interactive Entertainment) has been celebrating it’s 20th anniversary throughout 2016 and I was invited to be part of their end of year celebrations this week.

I am always amazed at the quality of work AIE students produce each year. As future film makers and game makers, these students have developed skills in a wide range of digital creativity software including Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator and After Effects.


Everyone has the capacity to be creative with a small c but AIE is developing Creatives with a capital C, those unique people who have the ability and passion to produce unique and outstanding digital art.


It was lovely catching up with Head of School Laurie Costabile (centre) and some of his teaching staff.