Great to get a gig at DiG

It’s been a busy week this week, with an ‘Ignite’ style presentation on Tuesday night at the Delaney as part of the combined Lunaticks Society and SlingshotRipItUp‘ event.  logo-1For some reason, I got to be the first presenter on the night in a program full of great ideas, and an emphasis on creativity and the harnessing of ‘killer ideas.’

Within that context, it was good to ask the simple questions about whether, (when we are seeking to encourage and support the dreaming of dreams, and the building of the skills and attitudes necessary for entrepreneurship and vision); our current policy and community vision of what’s important in ‘schooling’ is still relevant.  Five minutes: 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide.



On Wednesday night, it was down to City Hall for the Newcastle Institute Candidates’ Forum.  I had the job as MC for the night and the candidates from the 2 major parties in both the seats of Shortland and Newcastle were put through their paces with a ‘personal’ chat with Felicity Biggins which sought to underscore the fact that political candidates are still fundamentally human beings and have personal values and priorities which drive their decision to seek office.  Then, all candidates presented their 5 minute ‘policy pitch,’ before being asked a number of questions by Newcastle Herald reporter Jason Gordon.

There was some chagrin expressed online afterward about the fact that only the candidates from major parties were involved and even that other seats weren’t involved.  No doubt those expressing these concerns haven’t caught on to the fact that the Newcastle Institute is simply a group of volunteers trying to promote and stimulate discussion and interest in topical matters within Newcastle and simply doesn’t have the resources beyond the small donation requested from event attendees.  That aside, it was great to see so many people turning out on a cold July Wednesday night to hear from our major party candidates.

dig-slide-03Also announced this week was the speaker lineup for the inaugural DiG Festival coming up in October this year.

The DiG Festival and Conference is loosely based on the extremely successful SXSW festivals in Austin, Texas which are run over 3 weeks and cover Film, Music and Interactive. Over the years SXSW has helped Austin become recognised as a leading technology centre with a vibrant artistic culture. SXSW now contributes over $100 million to the Austin economy annually.

The Australasian DiG Festival and Conference will feature a series of Keynote Presentations, Panels, Performances and Workshops lead by international, national and local industry leaders. There will be a strong emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and ethical business.

We aim to attract several major speakers to anchor the event and ensure that it is seen as a truly national or international event.


Featuring a great lineup of keynote speakers and a host of ideas in the areas of Design, Interactivity and Green Tech, I’m thrilled to be presenting a session on Designing Education Futures.

DesigningEducationFuturesHave a look at the full lineup of speakers and program outline here. If you have ideas about what you think is important in designing education futures; from a community, parent, student or educator perspective, why not click the ‘Comments‘ link below and leave your thoughts.

6 Replies to “Great to get a gig at DiG”

  1. Got some ideas about what education futures should look like? Why not add them here?

  2. Being a addict, I have watched a number of speakers talk about education. Ken Robinson and Salmon Khan stand out as being very inspiring. Salmon talks about using video to teach maths. The viewer can replay the video as many times as they like to understand. It’s a bit hard to get the teacher at school to rewind with so many kids in the class.

    As a parent, I can see what inspires my kids. They have a wonderful quest for learning and some teachers can help bring that out in class. Other teachers are bound by what they are directed to teach. These teachers deliver the regimented coursework and if the student does not fit into ‘line’ then they are quick to tell you.

    One teacher realising my son was as good as his mother at spelling recommended he use a computer to type his written work in class. As my son’s wordsmith, flow was broken because of bad spelling. Why not, we use spell checker in the office. Then another teacher focussed on my other son’s poor handwriting. Honestly, the last time I wrote a note was…..I can’t remember.

    1. Thanks Corinne, very true. It’s interesting how passionately some people will defend the teaching of certain things ‘just in case’ they’re ever needed. While there are some foundation skills we could argue for, there is also a great need to focus on being able to determine what is most important in ‘just in time’ learning. Let’s hope some others share their ideas too!

  3. Positive education which focusses on & builds student wellbeing should be the basis. The development of students in a more holistic way, other than one which is purely academic. Helping kids to find a language to express & explain how they’re feeling. Encouraging and inviting curiosity. Helping to create flourishing human beings! And of course ensuring our teachers too have the skill and commitment to work in this way.

  4. Gee, Roger, your presentation really resonates with me. My daughter gave school the finger in kindergarten!! I wasn’t expecting it and felt I had to act to offer her and her siblings more of what I thought they may be looking for to be engaged. No school’s perfect but we’ve struck a reasonable balance. I take my role as educator seriously..exposure to different places, people and learning opportunities. I don’t have the answers but the concept of a school of life appeals to me not specifically alain de botton’s school of life, I don’t know much about this, more the notion of going to school to learn skills for life, critical thinking, healthy risk taking. In my opinion we need to break the “fear of failure” syndrome that seems to have its roots in schools. Making mistakes is how we learn, let kids make mistakes in a supportive environment. They want to feel their way they don’t want to be taught to. That’s my observation.
    My 10 year old is a real sponge yet is often not interested in school. Her little one liners make me smile, “I love the smell of pages of a new book” and “music is part of who I am Mum”… I figure she’ll be OK!

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