Future Focused Learning – Regional NSW


On Monday April 29, I had the great honour of speaking at the 2019 Regional NSW Future Focused Learning (STEM) Conference alongside the The Honourable Sarah Mitchell MLC (NSW Minister of Education), Mark Scott AO (Secretary of the NSW Department of Education) and the wonderful Adam Spencer from the ABC. This was day one of Term 2 for NSW and a student free professional learning day that attracted about 700 participants from all over regional New South Wales.


Cessnock is an old mining town in the heart of the Hunter Valley’s wine region. These days, many jobs in the region are STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based in the aerospace industry with Australia’s new fleet of FA-18 fighters needing to be maintained at the nearby RAAF Base Williamtown.


With such a focus on STEM in education, this conference has become one of the largest STEM related education events in Australia and certainly the largest regional event.


Dr Scott Sleap has been the leader of this initiative, building up up this conference with the creation of the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, (CASE) a partnership between Cessnock High School, its feeder primary schools, and local industry. To help celebrate his achievements, Dr Sleap was one of the winners of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

Adam Spencer from the ABC was again the host this year and did a wonderful job entertaining the educators and introducing all the main presenters. He also provided autographed copies of his new book Adam Spencer’s top 100 to those who are interested during the breaks.


The first of 5×20 min keynote presenters was Mark Scott AO Secretary of the NSW Department of Education and former head of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).

Mark shared some of the amazing initiatives and policies that are being implemented by the NSW Department of Education stemming from their official purpose statement …

We preparing young people for rewarding lives as engaged citizens in a complex and dynamic society.


The second speaker was Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Vice Chancellor and President of The University of Newcastle. He was very passionate about schools and universities working together for better outcomes in science and technology engineering and mathematics. He was also very proud of the way his university has integrated the local indigenous community with over 1000 indigenous enrollments, 50% of them being the first in their family to graduate from a university course.


Professor Zelinsky used this opportunity to launch a new partnership program with schools called Hero Teachers. This is to promote professional development in the University’s online postgraduate programs as well as provide financial assistance with the cost study, professional recognition and access to tools and resources to support in classroom activities for students.

The third presenter was Sarah Chapman,  STEM Ambassador at Townsville State High School and 2019 winner of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award Fellowship. She shared her passion for encouraging girls to be involved in STEM and the plethora of  programs she has developed and been involved with in her home state of Queensland.

Sarah has earned a number of awards during her teaching career

  • Prime Minister’s Science Teaching Prize 2013
  • Barbara Cail Fellow 2016
  • National STEM Ambassador – Science & Technology Australia 2018
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute 2018
  • Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award Fellow 2019

These awards have provided her the the opportunities to visit schools across the globe that a leaders in STEM teaching and bring those experiences back to Australia.


The next speaker was NSW’s newly appointed Minister of Education and Early Childhood, The Honourable Sarah Mitchell MLC. This was her first official presentation to a group of educators in her new role. It was so pleasing to hear her talk about the importance of adding the A for Arts in STEM. She provided many examples of how science, technology and engineering has been at its best when linked with creativity.

Her passion for education was evident and her advocacy for technology and creativity was a great example for the educators at the venue to hear.

This led very nicely to my presentation which was titled Preparing students for the automated workplace where I emphasised the importance of encouraging students to develop skills in creativity.

One of the many sources of evidence I shared was a 2019 study on LinkedIn by the World Economic Forum outlining that creativity is now considered the number 1 most importation soft skills required by employees.


All my slides can be viewed via: http://bit.ly/adobe-FFL19


It was a real thrill to be sharing the stage with the above amazing presenters and I thank the organisers for this opportunity.

I was also asked to run two repeated Adobe workshops titled Making STEM Fun with Adobe. The Adobe Spark apps were work-shopped as and I provided an overview of some of the amazing Adobe Creative Cloud applications that are available in every NSW Department of Education school thanks to a long-term enterprise agreement between the Department and Adobe. Here are some images from the workshop sessions …

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Macquarie Uni – Adobe Creative Cloud Open Day


About 75 lecturers and administration staff from throughout Macquarie University in Sydney gathered together today for and Adobe Creative Cloud Open Day.

Macquarie Uni has entered into an enterprise agreement with Adobe providing all their staff and university owned computers with the Adobe Creative Cloud. The aim of this event was to show key staff what they have access to and how it can be used to enhance teaching and learning.

Daniel Dos Santos (Director, Client Services at Macquarie) gave the welcome to country and set the scene for the day. Then he introduced the first speaker Michael Stoddart – Director, Digital Media Enterprise at Adobe.


Michael shared the value of video as a communication tool, then provided an overview of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Then it was my turn to do the keynote.

My brief was to talk about the importance of digital literacy, education initiatives and share key Adobe resources that help educators and students. Click here to get access the resources I shared via the Adobe Education Exchange.


After my keynote, Adobe Solution Consultants Jane Chen and Jason Grant ran a series of app demo session covering software such as Adobe Spark, Photoshop, Project Gemini, Adobe Capture, XD, Dimension and others.

We then broke into a set of breakout workshop options including:

  • Video For Everyone (Premiere Rush)
  • Photography Bootcamp (Photoshop & Lightroom)
  • Design Thinking with XD
  • Animation Made Easy (Character Animator)

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Special thank you to the following Adobe staff who put this event together for Macquarie University – Jane Chen, Michael Stoddart, Sasha McQuaid, Chris Hansen, Jason Grant, Marty Outram, Emma Li & Ritwik Sing.


Monash Uni Educational Designers & Adobe


On Thursday April 11, I worked with about 20 Educational Designers from a wide range of Monash University faculties to help them enhance heir skills the range of Adobe products.

Educational Designers work with a team to provide educational innovation support and advice to academic and professional staff across the faculty.

According to the official Monash University position description, an educational designer contributes to the design, development, implementation and evaluation of new educational design projects across the faculty with a focus on initiatives relating to blended and online learning, educational technologies, active in-class learning, authentic and professional assessment, continuing professional development and effective use of learning spaces.

To help them with this role, we looked at the following Adobe apps:

  • Spark Post
  • Spark Page
  • Spark Video
  • Premiere Rush
  • Photoshop &
  • Character Animator


Digital Creativity in Wagga Wagga Schools


While I was in Wagga Wagga this week, I was invited to work with students from Wagga Wagga High School and Kildare Catholic College.

The morning of Thursday April 4 was spent with a group of Year  11 and a group of Year 12 media students from Wagga Wagga High to help them enhance their skills with Adobe Photoshop. A number  of these students I had met in previous visits over the years and it was delightful to see the progress they  had made with a range of Adobe tools. Special thank you to Josh McKenzie (Industrial Multimedia Teacher) for helping to organise this day in collaboration with the Australian Computer Society Foundation.

The afternoon was spent with a group of media and drama students from Kildare Catholic College which is located directly opposite the High School.


Kildare students works extensively with Google Chromebooks so are limited in their access to the full Adobe Creative Cloud options. It was delightful to introduce them to the Adobe Spark tools that work very well on chrome books. They produced some very creative posters, videos and even some Spark webpages based on their passions.

Special thank you to Garry Steman, VET Information Technology Trainer & TAS Teacher at Kildare Catholic College for organising this event.


InteractED – Wagga Wagga


The Wagga Wagga campus of Charles Sturt University was the location for about 250 NSW Department of Education teachers from southern NSW who took part in the first InteractED event for 2019.


Apple, Google, Microsoft and (of course) Adobe were all represented at this event running a mix of workshops and keynote presentations. It is not often that these vendors are all together in one place, and especially rare for us all to be together outside a major city. So this was a great opportunity for these riverina educators to hear about the latest digital initiatives from the world’s best digital creativity companies.

The CIO of the NSW Department of Education, Stephen Loquet welcomed everyone and shared some of the amazing projects that are happening to help NSW teachers and students enhance their digital capabilities.


My keynote session was titled Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity and part of it involved looking at the new research coming out of the World Economic Forum and LinkedIN


This highlights how important is it to be encouraging creativity in our classrooms to best prepare young people for the future.

All my resources for this event are available via – http://bit.ly/adobe-Wagga19

Adobe 1 Minute Video Challenge at The Kings School, Sydney


On Tuesday April 2, about 150 Year 4 to 9 students from four different independent schools in Sydney took part in the first ever Adobe 1 Minute Video Challenge.


The aim of this all-day challenge is to have the students works in teams to create a 1- minute video in a day with the use of Adobe software such as Spark Video, Premiere Rush, Premiere Pro, Premiere Elements, Premiere Clip, After Effects and/or Photoshop.

This event was very kindly hosted by The Kings School in Parramatta and it involved students from the following schools:

  • The Kings School (a number of Year 4 teams and some Year 8 teams)
  • Shore School (Year 9s)
  • Knox Grammar School (Year 6 team & Year 8 team)
  • St. Catherine’s Waverley (Year 5 team & a Year 6 team)

The day began with everyone together hearing from Michael Stoddart (Director, Digital Media Enterprise at Adobe) who outlined the growing importance of learning video literacy skills.


Then I went through a range of tips & tricks to help the students make the best possible video stories.

After explaining what was expected of the students, we relieved the secret ingredients that needed to be features in each story.


Every film needed to be  based on the theme of creativity. The phrase Thank goodness we have Photoshop needed to be featured and a drink bottle needed to be included in about 30% of the scenes.

When the students has this information, they went into their Pre-Production (planning phase).

After careful planning and scripting, they went into production mode and captured all the footage, still images, audio files and other resources they needed to tell their story.

Then it was editing time. Some chose to use Spark Video, some Premiere Rush and some even used Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop.

The end products were amazing, especially considering may of the teams had never made a video before. Congratulations to the winning teams from St Catherine’s, Knox Grammar and The Kings School. But most importantly, congratulations to all involved  for displayed great teamwork, collaboration, problem solving, leadership and creativity throughout the day.

Stay tuned for a video about this event coming soon to CreateEdu TV.