The ease of taking a trip down memory lane…

In 1973, this was the toy I got for my eighth birthday. I remember how desperately I wanted it, and how disappointed I was when I finally got it. What looked amazing on the television ad paled in comparison to the clunky experience it was in real life.

I was talking about this to friends last night over dinner (can’t recall what spurred the memory!) and no-one at the table could remember this toy. So of course, as you do in today’s world, we retreated the Internet to help fill the gaps. And it didn’t disappoint.

This began the search for other childhood memories. Drowsy, my close friend’s favourite childhood doll, was found.

Smash up derby cars, a boy’s dream.

And then we found the ultimate object of desire for young girls in the early 1970’s. Chrissy, she of the hair that extended when you pulled her ponytail. I vividly recall standing in a local store looking longingly at this doll, hoping that it would be mine one day.

We had so much fun recalling childhood memories, and the experience was made that much better because we could find the original television ads. TV, the visual medium we consumed as we used up our cognitive surplus sitting in front of black and white screens in the early 70’s. The new medium our children consume is what we sourced last night. The difference for the children of today will be that they are less likely to be exposed to the repetitive screening of ads selling them a message. What will their memories be like when they are older recounting their youth. Will they be recalling memes? YouTube stars? Apple ads?

Who knows? Even more intriguing, what will they be using to revisit those memories?

Starting a new job is like…

…becoming a Mother for the first time.

There’s the anticipation of something new. The transition phase you move through as you leave one life behind and approach the next. The sense you have of being competent in what it is you do and a quiet assuredness that this next stage will be OK, you’ll be up for it.

Then it happens. The birth of the new. There’s the intake of breath when you walk through the door and appreciate the expectation, the responsibility that lies with you.  The realisation that you really don’t know the rules, that you have so much to learn. You need to understand the personality, appreciate that it’s developed and you need to work with it, not fight against it.

You leap in, because it demands that you do. Sometimes there is calm, but often there is chaos as you stumble from one new experience to the next. You are constantly learning, and it engulfs you. You feel out of your depth and you seek reassurance  – you are grateful when others reach out and offer support, a kind word, an encouraging smile.

As the weeks go by, the new becomes more familiar. There are ups and downs, moments where confidence reigns and moments where it plummets, but gradually, you begin to find a routine. You begin to move in step with the new.

You’ve reached an understanding, a reciprocal relationship. You’re in this together.

School’s out Friday

Otherwise Engaged from Jack Sidey on Vimeo.

You know, if this didn’t make me laugh so much I’m pretty sure I’d be crying instead.

What’s happened to moments? What’s happened to shared experiences between two people that necessitate and deserve alone time? Why do we feel a need to share beyond the moment?

I don’t have the answer, but I do know that I participate in this new era of sharing beyond the moment. I did it tonight, although not in the context of a moment like a marriage proposal. My husband and I were at a trivia night, and I was engaged in a dialogue via text message with a new colleague who is making my life at a new school joyous. We were sharing repartee via text about my husband’s purchase of a sleeping bag that weighed enough to warrant the hiring of a sherpa when my son ventures on a school trip to Central Australia.

And you know what, even though it took me away from the people I was sitting with, it was a shared experience with someone who is making a difference in my life, someone I truly value right now when life is tough negotiating a new landscape. And that means something. So, even though we exit real life spaces for brief moments to engage in online spaces with others, sometimes we do it because the connections there matter deeply.

Is that enough of a answer to the questions posed above?

Maybe. It worked for me tonight.

Have a great weekend. Make a connection with someone. Face to face or otherwise, just make a connection. :)

Graphic notes from Rachel Dight – lucky me!


Earlier this year I presented at the AIS ICT Leadership Conference in Canberra. My session was about Deploying Google Apps, and I was thrilled when I saw Rachel Dight walk in the room with a whiteboard!

Rachel was creating visual representations of speaker’s talks and I’d been impressed with the work she had done of Jane Hunter’s Keynote (see a pic of Jane and I and her board at the bottom of this post). I love seeing how great graphic artists interpret a speaker’s words and to have a visual artifact of what I said meant a lot to me. I was completely immersed in delivering the presentation and wasn’t concentrating on what Rachel was doing during the session, so I was really surprised to look at it at the end and see her interpretation. It’s a fabulous representation of what I was saying and I think it’s easy for someone who wasn’t in the room to gain comprehension of my words.


I have no idea how an artist like Rachel does this. She needs to listen intently to subject matter that is not within the realm of her normal life and come up with creative ways of representing these ideas. It’s no mean feat. It’s certainly a gift I don’t possess!

If you’re looking for a great graphic artist to attend your conference and create lasting artifacts of a presenter’s words, then take a look at Rachel’s website. There’s an array of examples from presentations she has recorded as graphic notes- I’m sure you will agree that she is one very talented lady.



School’s out Friday

This caught my eye this week. It’s Jeff Scardino’s relevant resume video. Jeff is senior creative at Ogilvy & Mather and professor at the Miami Ad School in Brooklyn, and his creative approach to the traditional resume has seen him score eight responses and five meeting requests from ten job applications lodged. Here’s the approach he took;

He designed what he calls the relevant résumé — a résumé littered with your failures, bad references, and non-skills.
His personal one highlights several losing pitches during his time in the advertising industry, “missed honors,” his inability to remember names, and even romantic failures from his time at Ohio University…

In today’s world, creativity may be required to make you stand out from the crowd. I’m wondering, how many career’s advisors are tuned into thinking like this? What are we doing in schools today that might be helping our young people learn to stand out from the crowd?

Not enough, I suspect.

Have a great weekend. Contemplate your failures and find a way to make them work to your best effect! :)

Scaling change – Spark talk for Digicon 2015

I presented a Spark talk at Digicon 2015 on Friday just gone. It was part of their fringe festival and presenters were asked to put together a 12 minute talk for the event. My presentation was entitled, “Lonely childhood no more – time to scale” and the focus was on what I think needs to happen at scale in schools to build capacity in our teaching workforce and as a consequence, help our students make the most of the potential offered to them by effective use of technology within learning programs.

There wasn’t a huge audience, and I was grateful to Jenny Ashby who used Periscope to record the talk and share it via Twitter. As you can see, I’ve uploaded it to YouTube so you can take a look. The sound might not be so great, and it’s a narrow frame view, but you’ll get the message if you tune in for the 11 minutes and 14 seconds it takes to watch it and you’ll understand the reference to ‘lonely childhood no more’!

In the talk I make reference to the recently released 2015 K-12 edition of the Horizon Report. In it, they identify scaling teaching innovations as a wicked challenge. Below is a screenshot from the contents page of this edition. I would highly recommend you follow the link to the report – it’s extremely pertinent to leadership teams in all schools today. 2015-07-26 19-44-52