Schools of the Future Conference – Sydney Opera House


The iconic Sydney Opera House was the venue for the Schools of the Future Conference on 5th & 6th of May. About 300 teachers and education leaders from around Australia took part in this event which aimed to look at what schools should be like in the future with a focus on creativity and innovation.

Valerie Hannon (co-founder of the Innovation Unit in the UK) was the first keynote speaker. She challenged the participants to consider that education has to be about learning to thrive in a transforming world. Her latest book Thrive: Schools Reinvented for the Real Challenges we Face discusses how the education system needs to be addressing acute concerns around rising unemployment, especially among young people. In her address, she questioned how an education system so focused on standardisation can effectively equip young people for an unknown future.



Kevin Brookhouser (The20time Project) from the USA was the second keynote. He shared many of his experiences as an educator in California and his passion for encouraging students to learn to code.


Kevin’s book, Code in Every Class, How All Educators Can Teach Programming outlines how Computer Science is still very much an option in schools, yet it should be a fundamental part of the curriculum for schools to best prepare their students for the future.

Stephen Harris, Principal of the world renowned and very innovative Northern Beaches Christian School, was the third keynote for day one. He shared some of the amazing facilities that he has been able to build to provide NBCC students & teachers with an innovative environment to learn and teach. He also provided some of his thoughts on where education should be heading in the future.


I had the privilege of  running a creativity workshop at the end of the first day with a focus on Adobe’s free Spark tools. Most of the teachers and leaders in the room had not used Adobe Spark before so it was great to show them what was possible. It was particularly helpful to have a group of NSW Adobe Education Leaders (Chris Betcher, Brett Kent, Gary Poulton, Daniel Rattigan & Andrew Lai) with me along with Adobe Customer Success Mangers Jerry Wong and Anna Nakao. They moved around the room assisting the teachers to produce some creative digital outcomes with Spark Post, Spark Video and Spark Page.

Here is a set of images from the event …

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My resources for this event can be found via –

Special thank you Frank Newman and his team from the Sydney Opera House for putting on such a successful event. Adobe was proud to partner with you.