Melbourne – 20 Years On…



In July 1995, over 400 teachers from twenty-two countries met in Melbourne for the second I*EARN international “One-World” Teacher’s Conference [Archived Site]*.  

To mark this 20th anniversary of the Melbourne conference, I would love to hear from the pioneers and leaders we assembled in 1995 to get your perspectives, insights and wisdom.

Where are we now?

  • What did we get right?  
  • What did we miss?
  • What challenges remain?

I am also very interested to SEE the changes that have occurred and encourage you to share any OLD and NEW photos of changes to your classrooms and teaching practice!

The internationalisation of education has perhaps never been more important.

Twenty years is a long time, yet I wonder what hindsight and reflection provides for us ‘down-the-track?’. We find ourselves in 2015 with un-imagined connectivity, networked infrastructure , devices such as phones and tablets that were truly “science-fiction” in 1995. This was a year before Australian scientist John O’Sullivan patented wi-fi technology.

More importantly, the canon of research in to teaching and learning has expanded significantly. I am interested to hear your observations on teaching practice and its relationship with networked technologies. [See below for comments!]

In the October of 1995, the “CONNECT” magazine, focussed on student participation and produced by Roger Holdsworth, documented some of our early work in their October-Decemer double issue [PDF].

This was a time when “the internet” was still a concept unknown to many and certainly schools, education officials and governments were still very much in the earliest stages of developing responses to this technology. Yet Victorian schools were at the epicentre of telecommunications and online collaboration. Australian and particularly Victorian schools, were, in the early stages, amongst the global leaders to connect their classrooms with the world.

[ Learn WITH the world, not just about it! ]

Such efforts appear [to me] even more relevant today than in 1995.

ABC News Coverage    SBS News Coverage [Requires Real Player ]

In particular, but in no order, my colleagues in the WhaleSong Foundation [Archived site]*

  • Andrew Hocking,
  • Trish Bulluss, 
  • Cathy Coppinger,  
  • Kathy Skidmore, 
  • Frank McNamara and
  • Ian Parry

were genuinely at the global forefront of the telecommunications revolution. It seems such a mis-used term “revolution” but the work of these people to engage not only their students, but hundreds and hundreds of other SCHOOLS and teachers, was quite a feat, considering all were volunteers and working full-time.

This group became the nucleus of the first iteration of the IEARN Australia Centre [Archived Site]*.

Video Call to GATES- School Seattle
[ First Official Video Phone Call – V.C.A.B 1991 ]

Between 1989 and 1993, six schools in particular,

Of course, much of this was “pre-browser” technology.

In addition, we partnered with the Asia Education Foundation to support their MAGENET Schools programme. Ten Pilot schools, in total, were selected with at least one from each State and Territory in Australia. Each school received personal training and then linked with I*EARN schools in Korea, Japan and China, as well as other I*EARN Schools in the USA. 

An End to Intolerance - 1994
[An End to Intolerance – Holocaust Genocide Project]

By 1994, a number of us had spent time in Argentina with Daniel Reyes, Rosy Aguilla and Adriana Vilella at the inaugural IEARN Teacher’s Conference in Puerta Madryn, Argentina. 

The driving force of Peter Copen and Ed Gargert and the rest of the International Management Team had established a global network of schools and educators.

We knew the classroom would change, We suspected the classroom had to change,   Twenty years on, has it changed? In what ways?

The Global Classroom Project

In November of 1994, The Directorate of School Education in Victoria agreed to support the Whalesong Foundation’s design of a 2 year plan to co-ordinate and implement a Statewide telecommunications project for *all* Victorian Schools based on the I*EARN Model.

This saw the establishment of the Victorian Global Classroom project [Archived Site]* and a HUGE response from the teaching workforce to engage in the use of this technology. Bruce Rigby and later, Rita Ellul from the Dept. of Education were instrumental in assisting the group and expanding this further into one of the longest running projects of its type.

ABC Television Documentary – Internet Kids

Participating schools were given access to electronic mail, conferences and other Internet services including the World Wide Web, Gopher and Usenet News

In July of 1995, these many hundreds of educators gathered in Melbourne.

It is worth noting these pioneer schools and their teams. If you work in these schools or with colleagues that were involved in the 1995 Teachers Conference, I encourage you to leave a few thoughts in the comments section.

We look forward to hearing from you, 20 years on…

Some of these pioneers are [thankfully] still in front of a classroom or involved in education in some way, so if you have a chance to “pat” one of these amazing educators on the back and say “thanks”, you should do so….

“The Originals” Phase 1 Global Classroom


Irymple Primary School


Wodonga Primary School Goroke Secondary College


Bandiana Primary School


Puckapunyal Primary School Mansfield Secondary College


Kyneton Secondary College


Lakes Entrance Secondary College Sunshine SC West Sunshine Campus


Swan Hill North Primary School


Sale High School Lake Bolac Secondary College


Grovedale West Primary School


Southwood Primary School Essex Heights Primary School

Hoppers Crossing Secondary College

Bendigo Senior Secondary College Grovedale Secondary College






















“The Originals” Phase 2 Global Classroom

  • Andersons Creek Primary School – Des McKenzie
  • Bairnsdale Primary School – Bernice Burke-Kennedy
  • Bairnsdale Secondary College – Margaret Scott
  • Ballarat Secondary College, East Campus – Stan Szydzik
  • Ballarat Secondary College, Wendouree – Allen Jones
  • Beaufort Primary School – Jeff Pinney
  • Bell Park North Primary School – Peter Hansen
  • Bellbridge Primary School – Dea Middleton
  • Benalla Primary – Dennis Leseberg
  • Brauer College – Greg Allison
  • Broadford Primary School – Matthew Itter
  • Buckley Park Secondary College – Linda Green
  • Camberwell High – Heather Shawcross
  • Charlton College – Kelvin Baird
  • Cobram Secondary College – John Stava
  • Commercial Road Primary School – Ross Mckinlay
  • Derinya Primary School – Brian McFall
  • Doncaster Secondary College – Rod Allen
  • Edenhope College – David Hatherell
  • Edithvale Primary School – Paul Weigall
  • Elwood College – David Earl
  • Euroa Primary School – Ross Dean
  • Euroa Secondary College – Gary Golding
  • Footscray City Secondary College – John Widmer
  • Galvin Park Secondary – Robyn Smith
  • Gisborne Secondary College – Albert Stefani
  • Gladstone Park Secondary – Peter Bowen
  • Glen Waverley Secondary College – Dianne Peck
  • Greensborough Secondary College – Rod Webster
  • Grovedale Primary School – Jon Hosford
  • Healesville Primary School – Noel Hyndman
  • Heatherhill Secondary College – Andrew Hamilton
  • Irymple Secondary College – George Connor
  • Jamieson Park Secondary College – Eve Matheou
  • Jells Park Primary – Judy Magee
  • K.O.D.E. Campus Kurnai College – Karen Kain
  • Keilor Downs Secondary College – Nikki Deighton
  • Laburnum Primary – Victor Byrdy
  • Lake Bolac Primary School – Wendy Graham
  • Langwarrin Secondary College – Ron Craven
  • Lindenow Primary School – Judy White
  • Lyndale Secondary College – Jenny Rawlinson
  • Lyndhurst Secondary College – Nia Holdenson
  • Macleod Technical College – A. Minko
  • Melbourne Girls College – Suzanne Clarke
  • Mentone Girls Secondary – Winn Dennis
  • Mildura Primary School – Mark Jackson
  • Mildura Senior College – Barb Kelly
  • Moonambel Primary – Maryanne LaMacchia
  • Mooroopna Park Primary – Cliff Downey
  • Mount Erin Secondary College – Valerie Wardle
  • Myrtleford Primary School – Danise White
  • Nathalia Secondary College – Alan Sage
  • Oberon High School – Rowden Moore
  • Orbost Primary School – Terry Hooper
  • Princess Hill Secondary College – David Williams
  • Ranfurly Primary School – Terry Massey
  • Red Cliffs Secondary School – Geoff Richard, Roberts Miller
  • Reservoir District Secondary – Terry Twomey
  • Robinvale Secondary School – Jim Donnelly
  • Rochester Secondary College – James Strate
  • Royal Childrens Hospital School – Kai Saldaneri
  • Simpson Primary School – Barb Kerr
  • Springvale Secondary College – Ross McKenzie
  • St. Helena Secondary College – Neville Cook
  • St. Kilda Primary School – Clare Hanna
  • Strathmore Secondary College – Phillipa Grounds
  • Syndal South Primary School – A. Vander Werf
  • Templestowe College – Rose-Mary Serong
  • The Lorne School – Geoff Bird
  • Torquay Primary School – Dale Constable
  • Underbool Primary School – Rod Robinson
  • Wallan Primary School – Phil Sutton
  • Wandong Primary School – Michelle Nash & Roland Gardiner
  • Werribee Secondary College – Kevin O’Neill
  • Wilsons Promontory National Park School – Graeme Baxter


* – The Archived Sites are still functional BUT over 20 Years old and may not work reliably on all devices. Many are within “frames” for display purposes.



Comments (31)

  • John Steele August 13, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Hello Bill

    Have just read the (electronic) mansfield Courier this week. The kids we taught are now parents with careers mortgages etc etc. I keep in touch with some. There was a girl in New York – Tara Helfman, who was the other end of those UNEP things. She is now an associate Professor of Law at Syracuse University in NY. She went to Yale, edited the Yale Law News (as did Mr Obama) was asked to do a post grad in International Law at Oxford and and London, very clever girl. I once asked her why she is teaching and not lawyering. She said that she was inspired by her teachers at school and in particular all that International conferencing with other countries.

    Google her and be impressed.

    So sorry to hear about the fires. I was at Billanook College when they hit Marysville. The school had two sets of orphans, and another 60 plus kids who were seriously effected. I had previously emptied our Merrijig house, and really not certain if it would survive.

    I can understand the ongoing impact of a fire. The house I lived in while at Princes Hill Camp burnt down in 1976 . I lost a significant collection of slides and photos from various exploits in Tasmania, NewZealand, Scotland and a lot of family stuff. and it still nags me

    It sounds like you are looking for iearn stuff from the 1990s. I have some magazines, copies of emails, and agendas for meetings etc. You are welcome to them. I think I still have a stack of photos we took in Argentina, water watching etc and i think the video we made is still around.

    Am living at Dromana now. Still have Merrijig. It didn’t burn down, but the tenants house in Tolmie was destroyed.

    Happy to help.

    Say hello to Cathy

  • Kathy Skidmore August 5, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Firstly – I agree entirely with Nikki – some of our initial ideals have been subsumed by the reality of how the “internet thing” has evolved, but which, in hindsight, are entirely predictable.
    Nevertheless, here are my observations:
    1. I just got back from a year 7 class where two incidents highlight how things have radically changed. One kid asked “so how much is left of the circus maximus in Rome?”. I simply said “check google earth and get back to me”. We then spent a few minutes, along with a few of his mates, looking at the images and interpreting them. Another kid asked “did all the people in Pompeii end up as casts?”, to which I replied “No idea – I’ve never asked that before. Where can you check that?” She discovered within 2 minutes that it’s supposed that 2000 people died, and they’ve found 1100 casts – so we had a quick chat about what might have happened to the rest. Easy!
    Kids are very empowered to find knowledge, and if led correctly, interpret that really well.
    2. Do they communicate better? Our initial projects focused on global discussion – I think that’s been lost – at least in the classroom sense. Why? My first gut reaction is that it takes time and effort, and we’re generally not willing to set aside that time.
    3. How do you measure what my year 7s just did? Given the headlines about NAPLAN results this morning, measurement of data rules the educational world right now, and we as a society have forgotten just how much better kids are today at gathering information and processing it – because we don’t even try to measure it.
    4. Inequality of access is a personal bugbear of mine – it costs a lot to be “globally connected” and while we have a great take-up of students with IPads at year 7, as the devices age, and the IPads break, the % of kids using them regularly at year 10 is quite low. Parents are, quite rightly, skeptical about the seemingly endless need to upgrade, while adding to Apple’s bottom line. Many kids quite simply, can’t afford them. Perhaps we did it better when we had just a couple of devices and we had to share more!
    5. Corporatisation and bureaucratisation of the whole idea. I subscribe to a blog by Diane Ravitch, who bemoans the influence of Pearson education and Apple in the push to privatise education in the USA. The influence of the “grass roots” movements of groups such as IEarn have been overtaken by big money, with the subsequent loss of control by practitioners of the profession. Our original ideals have become slaves to those in society who want to put things into tick boxes.
    6. We haven’t fully worked out the etiquette of the internet age, and the negative sides of human nature have, predictably, muddied the water. As a year level coordinator, I spend a lot of my time dealing with cyber bullying – but as Nikki mentions, we’re dealing with the nouns here – kids clearly used to throw ink at each other in the “good old days” – the technology is somewhat irrelevant.
    So yes – we’ve come a long way, but overall we need to wrest back the control of what we do, and stay strong about what we originally envisioned – communication, understanding and empathy.
    We did it so well in the 90’s because we were all fired up by something new and exciting – and we saw the very best of people and what they could do. Re-discovering that excitement with the new is our challenge now.

    • Bill August 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Kathy,

      Thanks so much for your insightful and [as always] laser-beam focus. Although we have not been in touch for many years, I can’t help but be reminded of the fierce commitment and motivation you brought to educating young people. This [clearly] has not waned.

      You say:

      My first gut reaction is that it takes time and effort, and we’re generally not willing to set aside that time.

      This too is my sense. I agree that the “ownership” of these early initiatives was clearly rooted in the classroom and the power of “practitioners” leading such large-scale projects was indeed one of the unique aspects of the early years. I believe there is still a strong teacher presence in many of these programmes, but the “systemised” nature of ‘whole-of-government’ thinking did [and does] limit the nature of innovation in TEACHING practice and replaces this with infrastructure ratios and asset management considerations.

      Some of the whole-of-government examples of “IT in education” have simply been woeful in the past decade, primarily, I believe, because they were “top-down” and lacked grounding in what occurs in the classroom and HOW things occur in the classroom.

      I agree with your views about the nature of “control”. There was clearly a shift [not necessarily *all* negative] from “classroom and teaching” focus to one of “technology deployment”.

      You say:

      We did it so well in the 90’s because we were all fired up by something new and exciting – and we saw the very best of people and what they could do. Re-discovering that excitement with the new is our challenge now.

      I think this hits the nail on the head. Joan Price [@JoanPrice16] a teacher from Jindivick Primary School who has just returned from the 22nd I*AERN Conference in Brasil asked online the other day – ” OK, so why isn’t every school in Australia using it????”

      I think it really comes back to what you said about “re-discovering the excitement” of connecting and collaborating on a global-scale, with genuinely authentic audiences and creating unique,challenging and very *real* learning experiences. This certainly improved the MEASURABLE and IMMEASURABLE outcomes from my classroom all those years ago. It is clear that it still does in yours.

      Thanks for your time and thoughts Kathy. Thanks for what you did for kids in Broadford 25+ years ago and thanks for what you still do today!

      Kind regards


    • Nikki Deighton August 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Great to see you online!

      You know the use of connecting technologies is really quite seductive….but what does it mean for the students we teach for the classrooms and learning environments in which we seek to ignite a passion for learning?

      Last year I was talking with some Year 10s in a school who do skype or polycom linkups routinely…it’s no big deal to them to talk with an expert in the US or a tecaher in India. But when i asked them what this meant for their learning, for themselves as learners, for themselves as global citizens, they looked at me like I had two heads.

      Intercultural understanding?
      Global citizenship?
      Meaningful connections?
      making a difference?

      I was taken aback with the silence.

      It seems we knew more about what we wanted our learners to be able to be and do…and we need to go a bit old school again on this. Instead of saying “let’s get cracking on a global project” because it’s educationally sexy…get involved because these kids can make authentic connections that help to make the world a better, smaller, more connected, more empathic, more tolerant and kinder place. But also build in that metacognitive reflection. 🙂

      These kids are more connected now that ever before in human history – with that comes great potential (and great fear for some)….but they need to know how to navigate this world, be empowered, responsible, thoughtful citizens of the world that they can change and be in.

  • Campbell McKay August 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Bill,

    Wow I didn’t know we were part of this ground breaking work…

    I’ve had trouble logging on to the hyperlink so hoping you might be able to do this for me?

    At Swan Hill North Primary School we took the step to go 1:1 devices in 2007 which was initially met with mixed feelings.

    Today in 2015 we have ever child in the school (except prep) with their own device (Preps have 1:2 J)

    iPads have become our preferred tool because of ease of use and limited breakdowns & their broad spectrum of tools within one device -more info on our reasons on our website then look up iPads.

    What did we get right:

    We use the SAMR model to guide our work and quality of task “The Task Predicts Performance” as defined by Richard Elmore.

    This ensure that tasks are done in such a way that are not a ‘substitute’ for what could be done without technology but that they are done in such a way that could not have been achieved without technology.

    SAMR Model Overview

    • Substitution (Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change)
    • Augmentation (Technology acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement)
    • Modification (Technology allows for significant task redesign)
    • Redefinition (Technology allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable)

    What can we learn?

    Although we were ground breaking in our work back in 1994, very little had occurred in terms of global learning when I started in 2007. Then it took many years to support staff to have the skills and the confidence to use technology daily.

    We found:

    • That the use of technology every day had to be mandated (every session). Not every child every session, but the use of technology every session in some way.
    • That you plan first what you want children to learn…then after this consider how technology can make things better…
    • Staff need to be challenged and extended every staff meeting…this technology thing is not going away
    • ‘Expert’ teachers need to be released to support teachers at all levels of abilities. Extend the top end and support all others…
    • The teachers who worry less about how to use technology do better. They might only know the capabilities of a program or app but know roughly what it can do and let the children collaborate to discover and solve.
    • Technology should mostly be for creating… A video editing program, crossed with a music program, crossed with a slide show equivalent and combined with web info – has endless opportunities for creating.
    • Flipped learning has huge potential.
    • Survey your staff and allow them to share their concerns…then address these.

    What have we missed:

    • I still believe we are not using our video conferencing tools enough…limiting global learning.
    • Challenges:

    • Keeping the quality of task high.
    • Assessment of tasks.
    • Too many schools have put technology into the too hard basket.
    • Great models of use ‘exemplars’ need to be identified and be ready to share everything.

    Well done with pulling all this together.

    Kind regards,

    Campbell McKay


    Swan Hill North Primary School

    • Nikki Deighton August 5, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Campbell,

      We’ve got a couple of your staff involved in the ‘Leading Schools in the digital Age’ course we’re currently running (Marty and Jared). Good guys.

      Embedding digitech in the learning, with a vision of student engagement that we have to have is crucial.

      Hard to believe that some people are only becoming aware of global projects now!

  • Andrew Hocking July 31, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Hi All
    I can still remember the Argentinian and Melbourne I*EARN Conference vividly. Especially working all night with you Bill the night before the Melbourne conference. The whole I*earn experience was fantastic and it is great that it has grown and there are teachers and students all over the world committed to its ideals.
    I work for a larger global corporate organisation and use all of the tools and “verbs” mentioned most days to work with people across the world. The skills, capacity, capability and cultural understanding that I*earn builds is as and probably more important now than when it all began years ago.
    Best wishes for the next conference and future endeavours.


    • Bill August 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comments and insight. To say that you were pivotal to the early success of all this work would be an understatement. .

      The seven days in Melbourne with 400+ educators was certainly “out of the box” and I have no doubt created the incredible momentum that saw 300+ new Victorian schools [and thousands of teachers] take on “ICT” for the first time in the space of just a few months..

      You drove so much of this work and your passion and professionalism really led the way. Reading the student news from the 1995 Melbourne Conference still brings a smile to my face, considering this “new thing called HTML” was all the rage…

      Your contribution to and leadership within the early stages of Al Gore’s Globe Project, [travelling to Denver while a full-time Science teacher], is still something that amazes me. The notion of “internationalising” learning and science education [specifically] at that time was still very new, but it seemed so natural for you. I have no doubt working around the world in a global company would be an easy next step…

      Roger Holdsworth and his CONNECT project [still running] documented much of the student participation in the 1995 double issue [PD].

      You say: The skills, capacity, capability and cultural understanding that I*earn builds is probably more important now than when it all began years ago.

      I could not agree more. It certainly is interesting to contrast the work on things like international collaboration on OZONE depletion and the current debates around Global Warming.

      Thanks again for your leadership and vision all those years ago.



  • Mark Ridgeway July 29, 2015 at 11:28 am

    It is great to see this still happening after 20 years. One of our teachers, Dave Francis, (now retired) was part of the original implementation 20 years ago and he continued actively with the project for about a decade or more. We still have staff who contributed assistance and advice at the time. I am not sure that we have quite lived up to the promise of those early years in creating the ‘global classroom’. Certainly technology has become all pervasive and we now regularly use it for a range of tasks only dreamed about twenty years ago, but I am still yet to see our students regularly interacting with students around the world. So we still have something to aim for! I have certainly seen it working in other schools both in Australia and in other parts of the world. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project and looking forward to the next twenty years.

    • Bill July 29, 2015 at 11:45 am


      Thanks so much for your thoughts. I have very fond memories of the work of Dave Francis and Kyneton Secondary College. Dave and Kyenton were truly recognised globally in those early years.

      I am pretty sure Dave was heavily involved with the early work on Global Environmental monitoring which included Water Quality monitoring [set up by John Steele in Mansfield], Ozone depletion and the work with Vice President Al Gore’s “Globe” project

      I think Kyneton was also one of the very early schools to get involved with the “First Peoples Project”. Kyneton certainly helped lead the way.

      I agree with you that the idea of the “Global Classroom” seems yet to be realised and the challenge, as you say, is to find ways to make interactions for our students more commonplace. This is so important, particularly for rural and regional communities such as ours.

      Thanks for you contribution and your ongoing commitment to educating our young people.



  • Nikki Deighton July 26, 2015 at 9:37 am

    20 years… was time then – time to make connections, create new projects (like Lewin), explore exciting opportunities that had never been available to educators before. It was inspiring.

    And yet, now 20 years on, with more connectivity at our fingertips than in human history and a myriad of devices available, has the conversation about educational innovation and learning depth moved forward as far as we had hoped it would?

    I wonder really how far we have come as a system?

    Thanks for the reflection prompt Bill – hard to believe it’s been 20 years!

    • Bill July 26, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Nikki,

      Thanks as always for your input. Although we are no longer “at-the-coal-face” you and I both know many who are. It is my sense, based on their experiences, that the progress appears sporadic, uneven and in some cases, hard to identify at all. I think your question about systemic reform is the real question.

      The original global classroom and related projects were very much about teachers, teaching and classrooms. Classroom practice, classroom design and collaboration across systems and cultures was what energised so many thousands of teachers [and still does].

      Predictably, when leadership of such innovations turns from practitioners to system-level actors, invariably, the focus and often even the premise of the original innovation changes. Computer-student ratios, infrastructure, system-wide-productivity, standardisation and contractual design while often necessary in early stages [certainly to ensure equity], often overrides and ultimately consumes the premise of improved teaching and learning.

      The “what” and the “how” consumes the “why?”

      I think you would agree that we have seen many examples of that, both at home and internationally.

      You ask:

      I wonder really how far we have come as a system?

      You were one of those genuine “practitioner-leaders” and yet I sense [without wanting to put words in your mouth] that you have the same mis-givings as me. The “project” remains “behind-the-curve”.

      My current answer to your question is; not nearly as far as I thought!.

      I am still very surprised that we have not seen profound changes in the teaching and learning of [for example] languages.

      I saw the power of a small country high-school in 1990, begin to link classrooms of French, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese students and source that very rarest of educational opportunities, NATIVE speakers sharing CONVERSATIONAL language on a periodic and regular basis. It was obvious that this was the future for access to languages, yet at that time, it was supported only with email, and very expensive VIDEO PHONE CALLS and standard calls.

      I still wonder why in 2015 we do not have commonplace access to partner-classrooms for all language students? Skype, video-conferencing, international character support of all major operating systems and yet I observe many language classrooms that are teaching the same way *I* was taught in the 1970’s??

      This confuses me. [Some say I am easily confused [grin]

      I also ponder professional development and collaborative leadership networks and whether the technology has assisted in improving practice in these areas?

      I could certainly make similar cases regarding the teaching of mathematics, history, geography, literature, earth sciences and others. Of course I am very aware of the exceptional examples of progress and change, but these have not been systemised [as far as I can tell?] and still remain exceptions-to-the-rule.

      What do you think?

      I am very interested to hear what the wonderful group of educators that began the journey 20-25 years ago believe are the gains made and the challenges that remain.

      • Nikki Deighton July 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        I think that the past 20 years have seen a focus on the tools – the resources, the devices, the bandwidth, the apps – with less emphasis on the teaching and learning we want to see happening.

        Prensky uses a nice description which I now share with the school leaders I encounter – let’s focus more on the VERBS (what we want our students to be able to do such as: communicate, collaborate, create, problem-solve, negotiate, build awareness, share, investigate etc etc) rather than the NOUNS (the tools, like the apps and devices).

        Doing so is device-independent and future-proofing. It’s what I*EARN was all about 20 years ago: making authentic connections, devising engaging problems to solve, recording students’ learning journeys and celebrating their progress.

        If we can revisit this more profoundly, and move away from the seductive love affair with the NOUN…then I reckon we can pave the way for deeper innovation.

        Instead of competing against our neighbours (they have 1:1 so we must have it, they use this LMS so we might as well) and focussing back on what they want students to learn and how they want to learn it and (as I*EARN did and still does) raising and celebrating student voice…..then who knows what might happen next?

  • Ed Gragert July 24, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Bill, Great idea to update where everyone is 20 years later. I have such fond memories of the conference in Melbourne….and of my first scuba experience on Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef after the conference. I’ll put some thoughts together and send them to you.

    Tomorrow I head to Brazil for the 2015 iEARN International Conference. I’ve been soooooo fortunate to have attended every one of these amazing conferences since we first all came together in Argentina in 1994.

    • Bill July 25, 2015 at 7:46 am

      Dear Ed,

      Thanks for your input my friend. I too have very fond memories of Melbourne in 1995 and I look forward to reading your thoughts! I will send you access so you can add things directly if you wish.

      Good luck and best wishes for Brasil.

      Kindest regards


Comments are closed.