ECAWA Conference – 2017

The 2017 Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) Conference was held last Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th of June at Edith Cowan University in Perth. The following video is from a series of short interviews I filmed at the event.

It was personally great to see so many of the Adobe Education Leadership community involved in this conference either as a presenter or on the organising committee.

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Adobe Professional Learning in Perth


About 35 teachers from 30 different Perth schools visited Shenton College last Thursday 22nd June for a special after school Adobe in Education professional learning session. The focus of this session was Adobe Spark and each of the teachers built a variety of Spark products with both the browser and the iOS versions of all three Spark Apps.

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Special thanks to Adobe Education Leader and Shenton College teacher Drew Mayhills for helping to organise this event. The resources I shared for this event are all available on the Adobe Education Exchange via –


Sparking Science @ Shenton College, WA


Shenton College is a large co-educational public secondary school located in Shenton Park, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia. On Thursday 22nd June, Drew Mayhills, Shenton’s Technology Innovation Coordinator (and Adobe Education Leader) invited me to work with a Year 9 Science class to explore how Adobe Spark could help them construct their learning.


Shenton College science teacher Mr Matthews, was keen for the students to revise a range of scientific terms for their up and coming assessment. Together, we used Spark post for the students to build posters about each of the terms.

The next stage of this lesson was to ask the students to build story videos with Adobe Spark Video that featured each other’s posters.

A particular highlight for me was working with two deaf girls and their translators as well as one boy Tom who is high on the autism scale. All three students took to the Sparks apps like a fish to water. Mr Matthews told me that this was the most he has ever seen Tom engaged in a lesson. Tom did a special Spark post just for me …


It was lovely to work with these students and teachers at Shenton College and share with them the educational power of the free Adobe Spark tools.

Creativity in the West


It is such a pleasure to be in Perth this week in Western Australia. After flying in from Melbourne yesterday afternoon, I raced to a professional learning event hosted by The Association of Independent Schools (AISWA).

For many of the teachers, it was an introduction to the Adobe Spark products. It is always inspiring to see how these free products are accepted by educators and hear about the many ways they intend to use them to enhance creative learning experiences in their classrooms.


We also went through some Photoshop techniques, how to build a website with Adobe Muse as well as some Premiere Pro video basics.

Most importantly we looked at a wide range of resources for the teachers to take away and share with their colleagues and students. The slide resources for this event are available on the Adobe Education Exchange via –

Special thank you to the wonderful Jan Clarke and her team at AISWA for helping to make this event possible.


Ben Forta in Brisbane

Ben Forta and I spent Thursday 8th June in the winter warmth of Brisbane with about 450 students at a Bid Day In and later with a group of local teachers.


The Brisbane Big Day In was again held at The University of Queensland and involved about 450 students from all over Queensland. Ben’s key message was for the students to develop their creativity, collaboration and communication skills.


Ben referred to research indicating that industry tends to believe students are generally not prepared for the future workplace.

As a current employer of young people, Ben suggested that a great way to demonstrate skills is for students to establish a portfolio of their work while they are still at school. He encouraged the students to look for opportunities to build websites, make apps, create videos and other digital resources for anyone who needs them or for school assignments and display these artifacts in an ongoing digital portfolio.


My job was to show the students what Adobe Software they should learn to use to help them enhance their digital communication skills.

Ben and I met with many of the students during the breaks and showed them how to work with the free Adobe Spark apps and we gave them links to a range of resources such as the Adobe Help & Support site.


Later that evening, Ben & I ran a special teacher professional learning event for a number of Queensland teachers from a wide range of sectors. This was very kindly hosted by Brigidine College under the leadership of Assistant Principal Paul Bennett.

Adobe Spark was the focus with most of the teachers having little to no experience with these amazing creativity apps.

Julliette Bentley from Mt St Michaela’s College shared some of the amazing work she has been doing with her students as they use the Adobe Spark apps to enhance students writing skills.


Here are some more images from the event …

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Ben Forta in Sydney


Ben had two trips to Sydney this week with a visit to Brisbane in between. The first trip on Wednesday 7th June was to meet with some Adobe Education Leaders, Adobe Campus Leaders and others from around Australia who were visiting the harbour city for the EduTech Conference.


Ben particularly enjoyed hearing how Adobe Spark is making a difference in the lives of indigenous students in rural QLD from a group of teachers from QLD School of Distance Education.

Stay tuned to find out more about this in a soon to be released video on CreateEdu TV.

On Friday 9th June, Ben and I were back in Sydney to help some our partner organisations at the amazing EduTech Conference, at the new International Convention Centre.


Ben capturing AEL Brett Kent and young Max as they demo a vast variety of Adobe applications on a beautiful new Microsoft Surface Studio

Ben Forta in Melbourne


Swinburne University was the venue for about 40 Primary, Secondary & Tertiary educators from Melbourne  who were keen to hear from Ben Forta (Adobe’s Senior Director of Education Initiatives).

Therese Keane from Swinburne welcomed everyone as did  Jamie Sgherza from Winthrop (formally Compterlec) who organised the event.

My job was to help warm, up the audience and introduce Ben who shared some of the findings from Adobe’s recent research on creativity and Generation Z.

Ben also picked out audience members to help demonstrate the three Adobe Spark products. One of the participants was Miriam, a teacher at MLC who I taught when she was only in Year 2. How old did I feel!

All the resources shared at this event can be found via

Resources from this event can be found via –


A Big Day In – Melbourne for Ben Forta

After landing in Melbourne from the USA at 5.45 AM, Ben Forta (Adobe’s Senior Director of Education Initiatives) was soon doing two keynote presentations at RMIT for about 800 students in total at the Melbourne Big Day In event.

The event was opened by Professor Caroline Chan, Head of School – Business IT and Logistics at RMIT. She encouraged the students to consider the importance of ICT in their lives today and how much more important it will be in the future.


Adam Bandt MP, Federal member for Melbourne also spoke to the students. He encouraged them to think about how ICT will be the way we solve some of the world’s major environmental issues.


There were so many students at this event it had to be split into two separate keynote rooms simulations running keynote sessions. Ben and I had the honour of addressing both rooms and sharing about some of the skills that industry is looking for people as they come out of the education system, with a focus on …


Collaboration &


Adobe Solution Consultant Brian Chau as well and Ben & I then had the pleasure of chatting with a large number of students and teachers from a wide range of schools.

As usual, Ben’s notoriety as one of the world’s top coding authors was on show. He has fans everywhere.


Big Day In – Gold Coast, 2017


About 350 students from Queensland’s Gold Coast and surrounding areas attended the Big Day In event at Griffith University – Gold Coast campus.

I had the honour of being the opening keynote presenter for this event. It was a pleasure to set the scene for a day full of inspiring representatives from the IT industry, encouraging students to think about their future and the role IT plays in all industries.