Speakers

Professor Genevieve Bell AO

Day One – INNOVATE

Cultural Anthropologist Professor Genevieve Bell is a recognised world leader in the ethnographic approach to the development, shaping and use of technology. She is the Director of the 3A Institute, Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, and a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University (ANU) as well as a Vice President and Senior Fellow at Intel Corporation. Prof Bell joined the ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science in February 2017, after having spent the past 18 years in Silicon Valley helping guide Intel’s product development by developing the company’s social science and design research capabilities. She was the first woman in the company’s history to be appointed an Intel Senior Fellow. Prof Bell now heads the newly established Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute, launched in September 2017 by the ANU in collaboration with CSIRO's Data61, tasked with building a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data, technology and their impact on humanity. In 2017, Bell presented the highly acclaimed ABC Boyer Lectures, discussing what it means to be human, and Australian, in a digital world. Each year since 1959, the ABC Boyer Lectures have encouraged national discussion about critical ideas. Prof Bell has pioneered futurist research looking at how different cultures use technology, and helped guide Intel’s product development by developing the company’s social science and design research capabilities. She completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University in 1998.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

How we might think about taking AI to scale, safely, responsibly and sustainably.

What is one idea you think would help improve schools under the theme ‘Innovate’?

Investing in new ways to teach and encourage engagement with the arts, imagination, wonder and embodied learning all feel especially important in a time of screens, a relentless focus on STEM and digital technologies.

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

The internet and Amazon Prime.

What sports team do you support?

The National Australian women’s and men’s cricket team.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

I read, swim and collect mid-century Australian household ceramics from Guy Boyd.

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

Purchasing my first coffee machine!

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Adele Ferguson AM

Day Two – MOTIVATE

Adele Ferguson is a multi-award winning journalist for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and AFR and is a regular guest reporter on ABC's Four Corners and 7:30. She is the author of the best-selling unauthorised biography on Gina Rinehart and the award winning Banking Bad. Some of her exposes include the 7-Eleven wage fraud scandal which resulted in $160 million in back pay to thousands of foreign workers and her investigations into the banks helped bring about a royal commission. Adele has a Bachelor of Economics and Arts (Honours) degrees. Her journalism awards include eight Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley, multiple Kennedy and Quill awards, a Logie and the Graham Perkin Journalist of the year. She is a director of the Copyright Agency, an adjunct professor at La Trobe University's business school and in 2019 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

As an investigative journalist, I expose corruption and unethical conduct in business. I will talk about the various industries and companies I have looked at in my work and highlight some common themes including how poor business practices and misguided financial incentives can motivate poor behaviour and create a culture of poor ethics and morals. It will also look at the motivation of whistle-blowers and why they should be embraced rather than sacked or ostracised.

What is one idea you think would help improve schools under the theme ‘Motivate’?

Push the limits of virtual reality to allow students and teachers to work remotely and expand their access to educational material.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

Technology changes will continue to challenge traditional schooling methods.

What was your favourite thing about school?

Learning!

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

Reading, watching true crime documentaries and shopping.

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

I binge watched Seinfeld and gave Netflix a thrashing.

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Dr Richard Harris OAM

Day Three - INTEGRATE

Dr Richard “Harry” Harris works in anaesthesia and aeromedical retrieval medicine in Adelaide, South Australia.

He has expertise in diving, wilderness and remote area health. Harry is the 2019 Australian of the Year for South Australia and the joint 2019 Australian of the Year with his dive partner Craig Challen. His passion for cave diving goes back to the 1980’s and has taken him to the corners of the globe in search of new adventures. Harry and his colleagues have explored the Pearse Resurgence in New Zealand to 229m depth, Daxing Spring in China to 213m and Song Hong Cave in Thailand to 196m to name a few. He is an enthusiastic but inferior UW photographer and videographer who is resigned to capturing opportunistic images via helmet cams. Harry has a professional and voluntary interest in search and rescue operations, establishing the first sump rescue training course in Australasia. By building relationships with emergency services locally he has been preparing for such an event. The 2018 Thailand cave rescue was an opportunity to put this training to work. In 2018 he received the Star of Courage, Australia’s second highest civilian award for bravery, and the medal of the Order of Australia for his role in the Thailand cave rescue.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

Using the story of the Thai Cave Rescue, I will explore the themes of personal courage, resilience, teamwork and preparation.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

I imagine urban population growth will require higher density schooling e.g. multi story buildings in the CBD.

What was your favourite thing about school?

All the activities the school offered especially photography, woodwork and metalwork. These gave me some skills for life which I might not otherwise have acquired.

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

Air conditioning!

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

Cave diving (obviously!) and motorsports, I have a classic Morris Mini which I race.

What sports team do you support?

None really, my kids say I’m “Sportistic”!

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

A new podcast called Real Risk.

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Dr Charlotte Keating

Day Two – MOTIVATE

Dr Charlotte Keating is a psychologist, with a PhD in neuroscience, specialising in adolescents and executives. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, particularly for young people. Charlotte is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and an Associate Member of the College of Clinical Psychologists.

She is uniquely placed as a result of her expertise in psychology and neuroscience to understand the needs of young people and adults and effectively communicate about them as a media personality, psychologist and researcher. Her scientific understanding of how the brain behaves enables her to provide accessible, intriguing insights into why we respond as we do as humans, that truly resonates with audiences. She is a Member of the National Centre Against Bullying, an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation that aims to keep young people safe in the community, on the Advisory Board for Dolly's Dream and an Advisor to The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Charlotte is an Associate Editor and Member of the Editorial Board at the journal, Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews. She is recognised for her segments as the Resident psychologiston ABC Radio Afternoons in 2016-2018. She has regularly appeared on Radio National and ABC podcasts related to mental health. She has appeared on channel 10’s The Project and was featured as the psychologist for the ABC documentary “Surviving Schools: My Year 7 Life” where she discussed the challenges and triumphs faced by young people in transitioning from primary to secondary school.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in neuroscience. I work with adolescents and executives. As adults, we are really just grown up adolescents – some of us more grown up than others!

What is one idea you think would help improve schools under the theme ‘Motivation’?

Tune into their why.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

Research into the future of work indicates that young people will have more than 17 different jobs and 5 careers. Are we mapping opportunities for the development of transferrable skills and flexible mindsets at school, to ensure young people are empowered to transition into a changing world of work?

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

Education about the importance of mental health and wellbeing. We can and need to do more, but even a little can go a long way.

What was your favourite thing about school?

I loved science, especially biology. I remember feeling of wonder when I really understood how plants and animals functioned on a cellular level. Understanding how things work ignited my passion for understanding what’s happening in the brain and to answer the questions of why we think, feel and do the things we do.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

I love getting out into nature whether it be for a jog, or hiking. I’ve been grateful for the simplicity of being able to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the pandemic.

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Dr Jordan Nguyen

Day One – INNOVATE

Dr Jordan Nguyen, is one of Australia’s most innovative engineers, who is committed to improving the lives of as many people as possible and to help become a driving force behind both human and technological evolution as we move into the future. An internationally renowned engineer for humanity, Jordan designs life-changing technologies to transform the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly through his role as founder of Psykinetic, a social business committed to bringing positive, sustainable and life-altering change, and shares his adventures through documentaries across the world. Inspired by human endeavour, Jordan has big ambitions to see our world step consciously and creatively into a better future. Jordan is a passionate ambassador for STEAM education, adaptable mindsets and big-picture thinking and holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, First-Class Honours, Diploma in Engineering Practice, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (Chancellor’s List) from the University of Technology Sydney. He has taught university engineering master’s students in Artificial Intelligence design and Biomedical instrumentation, and has supervised many research students. He believes our young generations are the change-makers of tomorrow and have the potential to create solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. The past few years alone have been significant for Jordan. In 2017 he was a finalist for the NSW Australian of the Year. He made the list of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers by Create Magazine 2016, was named in Onalytica’s Top 100 Global Influencers on Virtual Reality in both 2016 and 2017, travelled on tour with Think Inc and Steve Wozniak in 2016, won the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) ‘ICT Professional of the Year’ Digital Disruptors Award in 2017, and had the honour of being MC in 2018 for An Evening With President Barack Obama on his recent visit to Sydney.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

I’ll take the audience through my adventures in humanity and technology, including glimpses into the past, present and future of science and technology from around the world and my own projects. From robotics to AI to biomedical technology to extended reality and much more. But more importantly, the lessons learnt along the way, about how humanity can thrive, how we can adapt in these times of rapid change, where our collective future is headed and how we can work towards building a more inclusive world, and along the way what we learn about what it means to be human.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

The rapid pace of science and technology will undoubtedly continue to change many facets of schooling as well as what opportunities beyond school, meaning that teaching and learning will also adapt with the times. The integration from what is learnt in the classroom to the real world will continue to tighten, as students become more prepared for an uncertain future, one in which they will require the ability to adapt to. They are moving into a world that they will have more opportunity to steer than any young generation prior to them, so we must guide them well ahead of their next steps into the world.

What was your favourite thing about school?

Friends! A few lifelong mates were made. As for subjects taken at the time, I loved software and art.

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

Connection to the internet, videos about real world careers, TED talks, and kits for learning to code.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

I’ve been a tennis player since I was young, I love stargazing and astrophotography and to be honest, most of my work is made up of hobbies that I turned into my profession e.g. electronics, animation, film and documentaries, and generally learning about all the things!

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

Watched all seasons of Survivor!

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Adam Spencer

Day One – INNOVATE

For over two decades, Adam Spencer has been one of Australia’s best and foremost event hosts, keynote speakers and facilitators. His attention to detail and ability to improvise are the hallmarks for which he has been regularly invited back to many events. Adam has interviewed, among others, bestselling authors, astronauts and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies; winners of Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards and AFL Grand Finals. He has shared the stage with every Australian Prime Minister since Whitlam but he is equally adept at bringing to life the everyday stories of ordinary people who deserve acknowledgement for their achievements. Adam’s greatest strength is his versatility; there is virtually no topic he doesn’t enjoy getting his head around and presenting. That said, given his background in mathematics, Adam is particularly strong at presenting on science, technology, the digital world, medicine and health. Adam’s 2013 TED Talk on massive prime numbers (check out the video below!) has received over 2 million views and was voted in as one of the 10 best ever TED talks on Mathematics. And after he interviewed the greatest chess player of all time, Garry Kasparov, they played a match. The result of that momentous event … is not important!

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

All schools should be covered in solar panels and sucking power down out of the natural environment to run themselves and swathes of the local community. And students should be shown from day 1 how this actually works and the amazing science that underpins renewable energy.

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

All of the acquired knowledge in human history within three clicks of a button, what an asset. Then again, we didn’t have to wade through knee deep sewage, racial hate, fake news and porn every time we went into the library.

What was your favourite thing about school?

4 unit maths classes and high level debating competitions. Yeah I was a rebel.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

I would give anything to be a significantly better chess player than I am. It’s a true love hate relationship. Exhilarating highs and crushing lows, but I keep going back, always seeking that perfect middle game. A bit like life really.

What sports team do you support?

The 2021 Toyota AFL Premiers …The Sydney Swans.

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

I lost 17kg and got myself a life-changing awesome girlfriend. In your face Covid-19!

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Arron Wood AM

Day One – INNOVATE

Arron Wood is a sustainable business expert who is also Deputy Lord Mayor, Chairing the Finance and Governance portfolio for the City of Melbourne, and is a News Ltd Telstra Micro Business Award winner. At the pulse of what makes Melbourne an incredible city, Arron is a council representative on the City of Melbourne's Audit Committee as well as CEO of the Employment Matters Committee. Arron is Chair of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and currently serves on the committee for Melbourne, the South East Water Board, Melbourne Art Trust and previously chaired the Melbourne Ecocity World Summit Advisory Board and was a member of the Fisherman’s Bend Ministerial Advisory Committee. In 2020 Arron was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to local government, to the environment, and to the community of Melbourne. Arron is the founder and Managing Director of Firestarter Pty Ltd, an environmental communication and education consultancy business. He initiated and runs the highly successful Kids Teaching Kids Program for students from around the world which has attracted $30 million in funding over the life of the project (single-handedly raised by Arron) and seen 135,000 students participate in the program. Kids Teaching Kids won the prestigious 2010 People’s Choice Banksia Award chosen from 55 finalists across 10 categories. As the 2007 Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award winner Arron speaks passionately about the need for Australian businesses to be at the forefront of the new green economy to secure the nation as an environmental knowledge and technology leader.

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

I’ll address the question “Why should sustainability education be a key program in schools?” With the booming renewable energy sector, the challenge of addressing urban heat and climate change, the push towards closed loop waste systems and the need to better manage water on the direst inhabited continent on earth we need our kids to understand their natural environment. It’s critical to the jobs they’ll go into, to the future of the planet and play and important role in mental health and wellbeing. I want to take you on a journey of how I grew up and why I’ve dedicated my life’s work to sustainability education through the award winning Kids Teaching Kids Program.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

Not only does the school curriculum need to prepare our kids for a sustainable future, our schools themselves need to be living examples of sustainability. Solar on buildings, energy efficiency systems, closed loop waste and recycling, organic processing and sustainable buildings. There’s money to be saved for sure, but parents will also choose schools with sustainable facilities and integration of these into the school curriculum. One example of schools needing to adapt is increasing urban heat. This one impact alone can mean the need to redesign school grounds and retrofit heritage buildings.

What was your favourite thing about school?

I loved creative writing. Coming up with a story that people enjoyed reading made me really proud.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

I love to run, snow ski and scuba dive. Anything active helps me take my mind off things!

What sports team do you support?

Sadly I’m a mad Essendon supporter. Not much joy there for the last 20yrs!

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Professor Yong Zhao

Day Three - INTEGRATE

Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He previously served as the Presidential Chair, Associate Dean, and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. Prior to Oregon, Yong Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. Yong Zhao has received numerous awards including the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association, Outstanding Public Educator from Horace Mann League of USA, and Distinguished Achievement Award in Professional Development from the Association of Education Publishers. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the International Academy of Education. He has been recognized as one of the most influential education scholars. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success (2019) What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education (2018) and Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for All Children (2018).

What can delegates expect to hear from you?

I will discuss how students need to become co-owners of learning and the learning environments.

How do you think external environmental factors will affect schools in the future?

They will force different and possibly new approaches.

What are three ideas to improve schools under each ASBA2021 Conference theme?

Innovate: Personalised curriculum
Motivate: Students acting as the owners of their learning
Integrate: On-line and off-line needing to be integrated

What was your favourite thing about school?

A space where people get together.

What do kids today have that you wish you had access to at school?

Everything!

What was your guilty COVID isolation pleasure?

Writing and reading as well as attending a range of Conferences and Webinars.

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