Sparking creativity in Brisbane


On Thursday 26th October 2017, Adobe & Apple Education partnered up for a special digital creativity professional learning event at Kenmore South State School, north of Brisbane.


QLD based Adobe Education Leader Kev Lavery and Adobe expert Richard Turner-Jones helped me demonstrate the power of Adobe Spark as a tool to engage young learners and help them construct their learning with their iPads.


Find out more about Adobe Spark in Education via –


Adobe Day with Tuggerah Lakes SC – Tumbi Umbi


On Friday 20th October 2018, a group of about 25 students from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College – Tumbi Umbi Campus visited the Adobe Sydney office for an Adobe Day based on video literacy.


A number of the students already had experience in making videos but for most of them, this was the first time they had worked with Adobe Premiere Pro.

One of the highlights of the day was a tour of the Adobe office.

I was very impressed with the way the students collaborated together on a range of video projects and the way they helped each other master a number of editing techniques with Premiere Pro.

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Special thank you to Tumbi teacher Tarra Southern for organising this event for her students.


IIATE – Adobe Workshop Day


The Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education (IIATE) held its annual state conference last week with a special workshop day on Thursday 19th October at the Adobe office.


IIATEis the key teacher professional association providing professional leadership in the Technology and Engineering Education area for NSW teachers.

Adobe Education Leader Jason Carthew and I ran a day of animation & video production activities for over 40 NSW teachers.

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We introduced many of the teachers to the power of Adobe Animate, Photoshop, After Effects, Adobe Premiere Pro and Character Animator.

NSW DoE Adobe Workshops


The NSW Department of Education and Adobe ran a special all day professional learning event today that involved a range of both face to face and online Adobe workshops.

Click here to see an Adobe Spark video summary of the day by NSW educator Irene Clayton @radical_sab

Jo Cohen and Eric Land from the NSW DoE worked hard with the Adobe Education team to put this event together. We invited Adobe Education Leaders Brett Kent & Andrew On Yi Lai to run the face to face workshops and AEL Ross Johnson ran the online workshop for a group of remote NSW teachers.

I had the opportunity of sharing a keynote on Creativity and Generation Z. My resources for this event can be found via

The workshops were based on four areas:

  • Mobile – Visual literacy (focusing on a wide range of Adobe iPad apps)
  • Web Tools – Presenting information (focusing on the Adobe Spark Tools via a web browser by Andrew On Yi Lai)
  • Creative Cloud – literacy (focusing on a range of Adobe Creative Cloud apps by Brett Kent)
  • Adobe Spark & Creative Cloud apps were focused on in the online sessions by Ross Johnson

We are looking forward to running more of these events in the future.

QSITE – Far Nth QLD Conference



The Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education (QSITE) Far North Queensland Conference attracted close to 300 teachers from a range of school sectors in and around Cairns, QLD.

I was delighted to be invited back as a the starting keynote presenter and had the pleasure to share some of Adobe’s research into preparing Generation Z for the future. All my resources for this event can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via

It was lovely to re-connect with Educational Psychologist Andrew Fuller who was the other keynote presenter. I have been a follower of Andrew’s amazing work since I was a young teacher in the early 1990s.



I enjoyed presenting a workshop focused on how some of Adobe’s mobile apps can add creativity to classroom experiences.

My workshop was one of about 30 that were provided throughout the day. I really enjoyed one of the iPad workshops run by Apple and learned a lot about features of the the new Apple iOS for the iPad.


Congratulations to Mark Holland, Leigh Howser and the rest of the QSITE Nth QLD Chapter Committee for putting on such a great event.


Professor Eric Mazur @ uLearn17


The opening keynote presenter for the 2017 uLearn conference in Hamilton, New Zealand was Professor Eric Mazur, a physicist and educator at Harvard University. Professor Mazur is also an entrepreneur in the area of technology start-ups for the educational and technology markets and was a pioneer of the current Flipped Learning approach to teaching and learning.

Professor Mazur began his talk with a reflection on his own personal teaching practice at Harvard. Like many educators, especially in the senior secondary and higher education, his teaching of 30 years ago was purely (in his words) a one way transmission of information from teacher to student, with a focus on regurgitating what was already available to his students through their textbooks.


He posed the following question to all of us – is knowledge something that can be transmitted? Then he quickly answered in the negative and pointed out that knowledge needs to be actively constructed by the learner and that most classrooms and lecture theaters are set up for passive observers. He said, students need to do something with the information to turn it into knowledge.

There was a point in his teaching career that he realised that he was not an effective educator and he had to change his teaching practice. This lead to the publication of his book Peer Instruction in 1997 which became a instrumental guide to the Flipped Classroom approach to teaching & learning.


Professor Mazur says that each classroom experience should be about engaging the brain. Yet in many (possibly most) classrooms across the globe, students appear to be just passive receptacles of information and expected to do the engagement (the hard & fun stuff) in their own time.

Mazur’s challenge to all educators is to flip the old model and have the students digest the information in their own time before they come to class then spend the bulk of valuable class time doing, sharing, creating & reflecting.


Professor Mazur said that children are born curious, they can’t not ask why. Yet unfortunately, our global education systems are doing a very good job at turning off curiosity.  He said as students go through the ‘education system’, they just want to know the right answer to pass the test.

To help combat this at Harvard, Professor Mazur worked with a team to produce the award winning Perusall system with an aim to prepare every students in advance for every class so they had the facts and figures prior to meeting with each other and their teachers. This system is still in its early days but is already showing dramatic improvement in students overall learning goals, preparedness for classes and engagement in class.

Here is the info graphic that was produced during the keynote session at uLearn17 with thanks to






Kia ora

This week, I ’ve been traveling around New Zealand’s North Island and I’ve lost count how many people have said Kia ora to me – a Māori language greeting meaning have life and be healthy.

Whenever I’m lucky enough to be in this beautiful part of the world, I am consistently amazed by the beauty of the countryside as well as the respect this country has for its indigenous people.


Even the Air New Zealand tea cup pays respect and reminds its passengers about the rich cultural heritage of this amazing land.

It is a humbling reminder that in Australia, we have a long way to go in terms of building our indigenous connections and respect for our long history.



ACEL Conference

The annual ACEL conference brings together school leaders from around Australia and the APAC region to be inspired by other leaders and education researchers. The theme for this year was Respect the Past, Lead the Present, Secure the Future.


In opening the conference, NSW Premiere the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP shared about the value of education for our future growth as a country.



The first keynote speaker was a former Captain in the US Navy. David Marquet is now a leadership expert and the author of the book Turn the Ship Around. He was very entertaining with lots of military anecdotes themed with a compelling  argument for the importance of wise delegation and shared leadership in organizations.


The other keynote that stood out for me was Professor Kirsti Lonka, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Helsinki, Finland. She gave us an interesting insight into the education system in Finland.


Interesting points:

  • The language of Finnish is about 3000 year old
  • In the 1600s, Finnish people needed to be able to read the New Testament in order to be married. No wonder literacy is so popular in Finland
  • Getting into an teaching course is harder than getting into Medicine
  • Primary teachers usually stay with the same group of students for multiple years, therefore become a very significant adult in their lives.
  • Music, Art, Handcraft & Sport are all vital parts of primary education along with literacy & numeracy
  • Education in Finland is free, paid for by the tax payer
  • Students don’t wear a uniform, it restricts play which is a fundamental source of creativity and therefore a fundamental aspect of the Finnish education system
  • Standardised testing only happens once for Finnish students
  • Students are dependent on ICT and schools are slowly accepting that the students personal digital device are a vital learning & communication tool
  • The key to personal mobile devices is to teach students to use them wisely

The Finnish education system is often put on a pedestal but it looks like they have many of the issues faced by most western systems.  It was pleasing to hear Professor Lonka talking about the leading way Australian schools are using ICT. We have a lot to learn from each other.