Thanks for visiting my blog.
My partner and I live with our two teenagers and a miniature schnauzer in sunny Kiama, NSW, Australia.
I am a learning professional currently employed as a deputy principal for the NSW Department of Education, a large Public Education system with many enthusiastic and energetic advocates for changing paradigms to support children and communities to flourish. I worked at the University of Wollongong lecturing each pre-service teachers English method in the Masters of Teaching (Secondary) 2012-17.
I am a keen photographer, blogger and writer.
Hearing Richard Blair read passages at the key locations from Homage to Catalonia was also a treat. The poor man was badgered to sign my first edition of his father’s book at the Poliorama, where Orwell did guard duty while chain-smoking and reading Penguin paperbacks.
I have been presenting my research locally and as far afield as University College, in London. It has been particularly exciting to making some new discoveries about Orwell’s time in Paris and further investigate his experiences in Burma (both published in George Orwell Studies). Recently, I gave a “George Talk” to The Orwell Society about my research.
Here are all my Orwell papers and posts.
Civics and Citizenship
As the father of two children, 14 and 16, I have a perspective that is deeper than it once was about the importance of schools and schooling in our collective futures. We need to focus on learning and community, citizenship and democracy, if we are to thrive. I am passionately interested in civil society and how that can be grown through relationships, trust, education and technology. I see reading as central to learning and culture. This is a deeply held belief.
Actively nurturing democracy in our schools and society is of my utmost personal and professional goals. Students needs opportunities to participate in discussion about the issues of the day and learn about democratic processes. It is important the Student Representative Council (SRC) has opportunities to demonstrate leadership. The ABC radio interview with candidates who participated in our latest political forum (June 2016), the school captain and myself follows.
In January 2017 I traveled to India to participate in the Australia–India BRIDGE School Partnerships Project. This is an exchange so I stay with an Indian educator and visit her school where I will do some teaching. It has been twenty years since I last was in India so this a great opportunity to return. You can follow this project on Twitter and I have blogged about my trip and here are some photos. In May, my host, Sonia Chhabra visited our school and stayed at my home. UPDATE: our schools now have an MoU and a successful homestay exchange has taken place.
We were interviewed on ABC Radio about our exchange.
International perspectives on education are important to me. In 2014 I led a school excursion to Korea and more recently, this year to Perugia, in Tuscany, Italy. Our school is planning new exchanges to China, Japan and Indonesia 2016-18 and will return to Korea and Italy next year. My family and I spent the 2011 European summer living in Denmark on exchange with Carsten Søndergaard. It was great learning more about Danish perspectives on life and schooling. This was a fantastic opportunity on a number of levels. I presented to the 2011 Deputy Principals’ conference, streamed live from Denmark about my experiences at the school, established in 1060. During the 2010 September-October holidays, I was lucky enough to have a 10-day TEV exchange to Shanghai. My PLN assisted with ideas which you can see here and wrote about my experiences here.
I am also a very keen traveller.
Collaborating with colleagues and sharing formally and informally is a high priority and I enjoy presenting at conferences. My articles and teaching units have been published in a number of DET curriculum publications, SCAN, mETAphor and increasingly, online at a range of sites. EQ published my article on social media. I started using blogs with my classes in 2004 and started publishing articles about using (we)blogs with classes in 2005. During 2013-14 I wrote for the ABC Splash education portal and for Australian Teacher Magazine. My ideas about BYOD and libraries were published widely in magazines like Words. Older articles include SCAN (August 2011) and my blog post, the ‘The Future is Here‘, was featured at the IBM 100th anniversary website as ‘hear from the experts’.
One research interest I am passionately pursuing is genealogy. DNA analysis has opened many doors and the digitisation of staggering numbers of archives has led to many more opportunities for research that would have been extremely expensive and time consuming. Family Tree magazine published an article about my research in December 2014. My latest article, Digging Even Deeper (a follow-up to Digging Deeper published in September 2015) appeared in the May 2017.
Helping teachers and educational leaders develop Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) has been an area of interest for a decade. If educators are able to use blended learning concepts to facilitate their own professional development it is more likely students will benefit. During recent years I have presented at many conferences for principals, deputy principals, English teachers, counsellors, technology enthusiasts and administrators on practical ways to collaborate, co-operate and use digital technologies to connect. I was awarded a fellowship by the NSW Deputy Principals’ Association to improve online communications in 2010 and have established a Deputy Principals online blog , twitter account and 2010 conference ning to assist with this matter.
Schools, like the one I serve, are increasingly moving to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model of technology. This means that staff will need to facilitate students developing their own Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) to achieve course outcomes and maintain relevance. It is also essential that digital citizenship is taught explicitly.
The following information probably should be archived as it relates to the period 2000-2010 but I will leave it here for now.
I have been active for a number of years in the NSW English Teachers’ Association www.englishteacher.com.au, especially in my role as Manager of the Web & Technology Committee and was awarded a Professional Teachers’ Council Outstanding Professional Services Award. The ETA annual conferences now have a backchannel using twitter and a ning. This has been very successful in alerting delegates to the potential of web 2.0 for enhancing collegiality and teacher professional learning. I had early professional involvement with the innovative PLANE project. You can read a brief online article, about preparing for 1:1, that was adapted from my blog posts.
Digital photography is my passion. I am a keen user of Flickr and my attempts to engage the local community with this great tool have been recognised in parliament by our federal member. Australian Geographic has featured one of my shots as ‘Photo of the Week‘ at their website. Here are my thoughts about learning photography and HDR. I have established a Facebook page and a blog that I hope you share.
I established my first of many blogs in 2004. Here is a 2011 article in Australian Teacher magazine about my blogging. Increasingly, this blog, Google+ and twitter are my main collaborative online tools, along with my iPhone, Skype, Facebook, Google Docs and Diigo. I have been a keen participant in the rapid evolution of social media into mainstream media.
*This personal blog does not necessarily represent the position of the NSW Department of Education or The University of Wollongong.