I take every opportunity to understand the value of relating to and embedding digital technology skills into my classroom practice. As a writer and academic, I have authored numerous articles and reports on the subject, including six text textbooks. I have more than twenty-years hands-on experience in facilitating educational programmes. I enjoy applying my fundraising skills to my facilitation and consultation of projects in the arts and education sectors. I specialise in helping schools, education businesses to grow their sources of revenue so that they can create excellent educational experiences for young people, their families and the wider community.
I bring over 25 years of teaching experience, as well as ten years experience as an educational consultant, researcher and writer in both primary and secondary schools. These have been predominantly in drama education and in creative ways of teaching literacy and thinking skills in primary and lower secondary classrooms. Participating in the education still excites me very much: particularly in motivating students to attain high academic results. I continue to research and write in ways of enabling students to achieve results via arts-based pedagogies in Creative and Critical Thinking, Learning Strategies and Inquiry-Based Projects.
I am currently enrolled in the Master of Education (Digital Learning) at Monash University.
Aptly named, the journey to the Matheson Library and seminars along Ancora Imparo Way on the Clayton campus, strikes me as a having a choric quality as I read the street signs sotto voce ‘ I am still learning’. I imagine my grandparents repeating the same phrase to me regarding their lives, and now as a grandmother myself, I know it’s true for me too. I feel like I have only just figured out ‘what I wanted to be’ … a writer or is it more accurate to say that becoming a writer now suits me in every possible way, having done my long apprenticeship in ‘fits and starts’ as a curriculum writer, theatre historian, theatre reviewer and playwright over the years.
But… why a Master of Education (Digital Learning)?
As I watch my children, now young parents, I reassess my different roles in education as a drama teacher, curriculum leader and textbook writer in drama.
Have I been a help or a hindrance to the vital project of inspiring and engaging children in our schools? More importantly, can I now ensure my kids and grandkids participate, as I have done as a ‘baby boomer’, in an egalitarian Australian education system?
The solution for me in addressing this question is not to reminisce about the ‘good old days’: the past can distort the reality of the present like a ‘hall-of-mirrors’ can reflect back your misshapen form. Besides which, I admire the way my children’s generation are evolving their solutions. I like what I read and see about new forms of thinking such as DESIGN THINKING. I enjoy participating in new AGILE project management systems that enhance collaboration. I am impressed by new communication systems which understand the importance of CONTENT STRATEGY to help manage the many platforms and software services that are part of living in a digital age. I like the way in which viewing the internet through the biological metaphor of an ECOSYSTEM assists meet individual and social needs.
It’s a new world after all.
My current work contracts with Fantastic Learning Systems P/L and Red Wool Editions have challenged me to address how I will change in authoring arts-based education content, write theatre history and create plays. Put another way, what will it mean for me as a baby-boomer to author content, design curriculum and be a playwright in a digital age? How will the principles, concepts, skills and literary conventions that I carry with me, help or hinder me in creating work for contemporary teachers, students and theatre audiences?
The answer is: I don’t know.
So, it’s time to think again and learn all I can about the impact of digital technologies on teaching and learning, as well as creative industries.
At the very least, I believe, it would be good that my children and grandchildren see, as I did my grandparents, how to remain awestruck by the fact that ‘I am still learning’.
I’ve instinctively always believed in the saying “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been”. So, by way of giving you a context, the timeline set out aboveof my ‘mostly interesting career’ in education includes the milestones of
- Beginning as a secondary teacher of Drama, English, Humanities and Sciences,
- Setting up a community youth theatre during my years as a young mother and returning to teaching in a part-time capacity,
- Introducing drama into upper secondary,
- Returning to postgraduate studies
- Completing a PhD in theatre history,
- Setting up Fantastic Learning Systems P/L at the Biscuit Factory Arts Centre as a curriculum laboratory to explore how creative and critical thinking works for students in multimodal contexts,
- Relocating to London to carry out further research and writing in digital learning and arts education,
- Returning to Australia to continue to develop FLS as a curriculum development/ digital learning service for busy teachers, and
- Completing a Masters of Education in Digital Learning at Monash.
What drives me
It would be true to say of my career that it has been one which has seen me move in and out of K-12 teaching and has brought me into the realm of research and writing about theatre history and curriculum development. It’s also true to say that since 2000, when I set up FLS at the Biscuit Factory Arts Centre in Fremantle, I’ve had an abiding interest in how digital technologies would impact on performance for young audiences and what elearning offered the embodied learning practices in the arts. Here’s an example of one of 30 projects I ran with schools, local arts orgs (Freo Festival) and artists.