Big Day In 2017 in Sydney



About 850 students from over 40 schools took part in day 1 of the Sydney Big Day In at UTS (University of Technology Sydney).

The Big Day In events are run all over Australia by the Australian Computer Society Foundation with an aim to encourage young people to consider a career in the IT industry.

Hon Victor Dominello MP, NSW Minister for Finance, Services & Property, along with Professor Attila Brugs, Vice Chancellor & President of UTS and Andrew Johnson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society set the scene be welcoming the students and encouraging them to make the most of this opportunity to engage with a wealth of IT industry experience.


Hon Victor Dominello, welcoming the students


John Ridge (Executive Director of the ACS Foundation), Andrew Johnson (CEO of ACS), Hon Victor Dominello MP, Professor Attila Brugs (Vice Chancellor UTS)

Anna Emmerson, Google Engineer, was the first of a series of presenters from a wide range of IT and Media companies, all with similar messages about what skills young people should be developing to prepare themselves for the future.


Anna Emmerson from Google

Another highlighted presenter was Dan Bowen. Dan is Microsoft’s STEM/Minecraft and Imagine Academy Lead. He explored future trends and technologies from the cloud to artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Dan Bowen from Microsoft

Other presenters on this day Fergal Murphy from IBM, Jimmy Taylor & Kristy English from Westpac, Richard White from WiseTech Global, Adam Smith from the Australian Government ICT Apprenticeships & Candetships, Ellena Thompson from the NSW Department of Industry, Dr Tony Wagner from the Commonwealth Bank, Matt Deshomn from TechnologyOne and Michael Quandt from Animal Logic, the makers of The Logo Movie and the soon to be released The Lego Batman Movie.


Michael Quandt from Animal Logic


Me & Michael

Michael was a hard act to follow, especially at the end of a long day for the students but it was my job to finish the day with a bang and encourage the students to think about the key messages from all the presenters and the many common themes.


Here is my keynote session from this event …


It was a pleasure to share with the students some of Adobe’s recent GenZ research ( and to encourage them to develop the skills to brand themselves in creative ways so that they can stand out from the crowd. My key message was for them to see themselves as life long creators.

Between the presentation there was time for the students to meet the presenters and others from a wide range of IT companies.


Special thank you to Jerry Wong & Anna Nakao from Adobe for helping to look after the Adobe stand.


Future Teachers at Monash University


Today I had the pleasure of presenting a two hour digital creativity workshop with teaching staff and pre-service teachers at Monash University’s Faculty of Education. Monash is considered one of the world’s top 20 universities with a national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research.

Dr Michael Henderson, Associate Professor in Educational Technologies and lecturer Dr Michael Phillips helped to drive this event with an aim to provide the students with a better understanding of Adobe’s amazing creativity and productivity tools, with a focus on online publication.


Dr Michael Henderson, Dr Michael Phillips, Me, Dr Amber McLeod & Roland Gesthuizen

We started with one of my Adobe quizzes to give everyone a better idea about the company and what we provide. This involved a brief look at new features within Adobe Photoshop and introduction to Character Animator and a overview of the reach of Premiere Pro within world of film and TV.

Then we had a play with Adobe Spark Post and everyone built posters about why they want to become educators. I also demonstrated how Spark Post can link nicely with Adobe Photoshop Sketch to layer extra images within the Spark posters.


We then played with Spark Video and learned how to make a Spark Page that embedded a Spark Video and Post.

IMG_0136 IMG_0133

One of the highlights was showing the value of Adobe Premiere Clip as a very simple and accessible video production and editing tool.


It was lovely to catch up with my friend (and well known Australian educator) Roland Gesthuizen who began teaching at Monash at the start of this year after a great career as a pioneering Science & IT teacher in Victoria since the early 1990s.


A particular personal thrill for me was catching up with my nephew Trent Adams who has recently started at Monash as a student teacher.


It’s always a privilege to encourage the next generation of educators. As I said to them all at the end of today’s session, being a teacher is one of the most important jobs there is.

The Academy – a school focused on AFL


Me, Alex Rance & Luke Surace

On Wednesday 15th March, I met with two very passionate and impressive men who have put their talents together to come up with a school for students passionate about AFL called The Academy.

Current AFL Player Alex Rance from the Richmond Football club and his business partner and close friend Luke Surace have teamed up with a few others to make The Academy a reality.

The aim of the school is to provide students with opportunities in sport outside of the traditional pathways. Graduating students from The Academy earn a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL Certificate) as well as a rich source of life skills to equip them with for a a future with or without an AFL career.

Alex and Luke shared with me some of the frustrations they have had and seen with the general education system and the strong focus on the ATAR (The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank ) and other standardised testing and puts so much unnecessary pressure on so many young people. They set up The Academy as an alternative, with a particular focus for students with a passion for AFL football.

All the students at The Academy have iPads and the general workflow, according to Alex & Luke, is as paperless as possible. Luke is from a learning design background and Alex has had experience developing apps so they are familiar with what Adobe has to offer. It was my pleasure to show them how the Adobe Spark Apps are making a difference in classrooms around the world and how other Adobe iPad touch apps such as Premiere Clip can be used to help student develop their video literacy and general communication skills.

I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with Alex & Luke and supporting them in this exciting venture into the world of education & training.

Click here for a great article by Emma Quayle from The Age about The Academy

Sparking Creativity with the Strathy Year 7s


On Tuesday 14th March, I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with all the Year 7 students at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School in Melbourne with an aim to get them familiar with the Adobe Spark products on their iPads.

The girls began each session learning how to make quick digital posters with Spark Post. Then they mastered Spark Video to make short video stories and with the remaining part of each lesson, they were shown how to put a Spark Post & Video into a Spark Page.

It was a joy to see the way the girls engaged with the software and very quickly built creative and entertaining posters and stories. The concept behind the Adobe Spark tools is to get content out there quickly and not be too worried about design concerns. Unlike some of Adobe’s professional tools, these tools are easy to master and a great way to be introduced to the world of digital creativity with Adobe.

Find out more about Adobe Spark via and/or watch the following videos …



The 2017 ICTENSW Conference began on Friday 10th March with events at Microsoft, Google and Adobe and it was my pleasure to run the Day@Adobe.


About 40 NSW educators spent the day at Adobe’s Sydney office work-shopping a range of Adobe solutions and how they could be used to enhance creativity in the classroom.

We had an ambitious plan for the day, and managed to keep to it.


For many of the teachers, it was the first time they had seen the Adobe Spark products in action. It was great to see how inspired the teachers were with the potential of these great products in the classroom.


The afternoon session was focused on video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. I was very impressed with what the teachers were able to achieve, especially the ones who had little to no previous experience with this professional tool.


Special thank you to Leanne Cameron (President of ICTENSW) for helping to make this event such a success.


Leanne Cameron, welcoming everyone on behalf of the ICTENSW Committee. Chris Woldhuis (Adobe Education Leader) in the background with the camera.

My resources for this day are all found via

Big Day In – Wagga Wagga


Over 550 High School students from the Riverina Region of NSW met at the beautiful campus of Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga for the first of a series of Big Day In events that are planned around Australia.

The Big Day In events are coordinated by the Australian Computer Society Foundation. They aim to encourage senior High School students to consider a career in the field of Information Technology.

Adobe had been a proud supporter of The Big Day In since 2015. In 2016, there were 11 Big Day In events involving over 6,500 students, 177 speakers, 167 exhibitors, 77 organisations. This year’s roadshow will be run in at least 15 locations nationally so even more people will be involved.


I had the pleasure of being the opening keynote presenter for this event and my message was based around being a life long creator. I encouraged the students to think about what their passions are, to think entrepreneurially and turn their passions into job before they leave school.


I shared some of the agreed perceptions between teachers of Gen Z and Gen Z students themselves that came out of Adobe’s recent Gen Z study.

I also pointed out that half of what were considered the world’s best multinational workplaces in 2016 were IT companies.


Another focus of the presentation was to highlight the recent work of Marc Prensky who has collated the many skills that industry is looking for in young people as they come through the education system.


It was a pleasure meeting hundreds of the students at the Adobe stand during the breaks and encouraging them to learn Adobe software and use it to help brand and promote themselves.

Special thanks to Kerrie Rhodes and John Ridge from the Australian Computer Society Foundation for putting this event together.


John Ridge (ACS Foundation Executive Director) with me at the Adobe booth


The local WIN News did a story about the day. It was great to see the Adobe banners on show in the background. If this interview with John was framed better with the rule of thirds, you would see me in the background demonstrating some Adobe software. Oh well!

Special congratulations to Mitchell from Mount Austin High School, in Wagga for winning a 12 month Adobe Creative Cloud License.


Creativity on the Mornington Peninsula

One of the most beautiful regions of Victoria, Australia is the Mornington Peninsula. It is also the home of Toorak College one of Victoria’s oldest and most well established girls schools.


On Monday 6th March, I had the pleasure of partnering with Luke Kerr & Terry Cantwell (ACL) from Real Time Learning in some teaching sessions with Year 11 & 12 students and then an afternoon professional learning session with teachers from Toorak College and surrounding schools.

During the teaching sessions we worked with senior art students who were studying various photography techniques. We were able to show them some tips & tricks with Adobe Photoshop to help them enhance their digital images.

The afternoon professional learning session involved teachers from Toorak College, Elisabeth Murdoch College, Dromana Primary School, Clayton North Primary School, Woodleigh School, McClelland College, Padua College and more.


Luke Kerr from Real Time Learning began by explaining what his organisation does to support collaboration between education and industry with a focus on STEM. He is looking to set up a series of these types of events to encourage connections between schools and, very importantly, between education industry.

Recent studies from Adobe have indicated a gap between what industry is expecting from education and a frustration from students and teachers that the education system is not necessary preparing students with the modern skills required for the 21st century work force.

Part of my messaging was to share Adobe’s new Gen Z research ( and I also provided a wide range of ways that Adobe software can help enhance creativity in the teaching and learning process.

During the workshop sessions, Terry Cantwell introduced Adobe Premiere Pro for teachers who were interested in some serious video editing techniques and I ran a Flipped Learning workshop.

The resources that I shared for this event are available on the Adobe Education Exchange via –

Special thank you to the staff at Toorak College and Real Time Learning for helping to make this event such a success.

Fun with Photoshop @ Forest Lake


Forest Lake State High School is a fabulous school located about 30min out of Brisbane and I enjoyed spending yesterday with wonderful group of students to help them further develop their digital literacy skills.

We started the day with a quiz about Adobe as a company and how the nearly 100 Adobe applications and services are used in education and a wide range of industries.


The focus for the day was enhancing images with Adobe Photoshop and the students mastered a number of skills such as:

  • making 3D banners
  • content aware fill
  • clone stamp tool
  • perspective warp tool
  • puppet warp tool
  • the liquify filter and lots more

Special thank you to Alison Hirini, MJ Raatz and the staff of Forest Lake State High School for helping to put this event together and giving their students an opportunity to enhance their 21st century creativity & digital literacy skills.


Adobe Edu in Brisbane

Following my keynote with all the staff of Brigidine College in Brisbane (Queensland) at the start of this year, I returned this week for a special Adobe Education workshop/presentation with about 30 teachers from around the Brisbane area. Then returned again the following day for a video workshop with a group of students.


About 20 schools were represented at the professional learning event by teachers keen to know more about how Adobe is making a difference in enhancing creativity and 21st century communication skills in classrooms all over the world.

As you can see from the image below, we had an ambitious plan …


Most of the plan was achieved and all my resources for this event can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via:

Similar events are planned throughout Australia this year. Find out more via the following links …

To thank Brigidine College for hosting this week’s PL session, I ran a video focused Adobe Day for a group of Year 9s the following day. It was a pleasure to show them a range of video production techniques and teach them the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro.

The students started by creating a title background for their video story using Adobe Post.

Then we moved to the school’s green screen studio to do some filming


The rest of the day was spent getting familiar with Adobe Premiere Pro and using it to construct each of the video stories.


I was very impressed with what the students were able to achieve in such a short time.

Special thank you to Brigidine College Assistant Principal Paul Bennett for helping to organise these two days of Adobe creativity.