Goodbye Gilroy, The College of Knowledge. . .

In 2 weeks I finish up at Gilroy Catholic College after 6 and a bit years to move on and forward into a new position at Emmaus Catholic College as Director of Innovation. I have moved through all the emotions of excitement, sadness and anticipation since applying, interviewing and accepting the position. I thought the best way to reflect on my Gilroy memories was to blog. . . .


Educational blogs are always full of “top lists” – so in no particular order here is my top 7 of G-Roy ! 


1. Construction training and uniform

I am proud to say I was the FIRST female in our CEO to be trained in VET Construction in 2009. Over the years VET students have always been proud to work on school projects that better their facilities. My favourite competencies are in the concreting units, this is because of the applied mathematic skills the contrast between this type of outdoors/team work and “regular” classwork. Students pictured are all wearing a Gilroy branded high-vis shirt, this replaced a plain clothes and apron uniform. I started this uniform in 2011, students and VET staff wear it with pride.

2. Charity and community work

I have a personal drive to support charities in a means that takes “participation” so that there is a connectedness to the giving, over the years I have organised crazy hair days, shaved a students hair, dyed my own fluro pink, knitted for months on end and my homeroom since 2009 have sponsored a child in Honduras.

3. 1:1 iPad program and E-Learning role

At the end of 2012 I formally took on the role as Leader of E-Learning. Prior to this role I had always been an informal tech support for staff and a driver for innovative PD which I organised and presented. In the role I have been so humbled by the support and trust from fellow teachers and students, they have been so supportive of change – even when it has been challenging and frustrating. I have seen the iPad and 1:1 device program grow stronger, this is all relational to the positive development staff and student skills.


 4. TAS spaces

The TAS workshops and classrooms have gone through many renovations and remodeling since I started. I have taken personal ownership of the spaces I use to make them comfortable and inspiring for staff and students.  Applying Dr Suess vinyl quotes, a secondhand couch, comfy chairs, posters, visuals, accessible resources and even sewing machine covers!


5. Friendship and community

Sigh, this is the hardest part of starting a new adventure. . .

6. Love of learning

Inspiring a love of learning in my classes and KLA has been most rewarding, to see students talents grow over the years and their skills improve. I have so many amazing photos of all the proud moments of mess, challenge, completion, smiles, fun, these are just some. . .

7. Edmodo

I first started using Edmodo in 2009, by the end of 2010 it became our preferred LMS. I drove its implementation by sharing its success in my classroom and developing good practice with staff. In education many technologies and tools date quickly like fashion. I have seen fads come and go, Edmodo has been a constant. This frequent or fleeting change can a negative impact on technologies perception in schools. I consider the positive impact Edmodo has had on Gilroy an exceptional mark to leave, I had the sense in 2009 to spot a good thing and the tenacity stick with it – with the team at Edmodo supporting all the way!



With thanks to the IIATE, I have used 3D printers and laser cutters in my classroom

 I LOVE manufacturing technologies, I DREAM about students producing projects using 3D printers, however, I do NOT work at a school that has a 3D printer. We don’t have a CNC machine either? Or a laser cutter? But my students STILL use them as part of their course work.

I am a teacher of technology. I specialise in Design Technology & Industrial Tech – Timber in senior years and in BOTH syllabus documents students need to understand how manufacturing technologies work. In an ideal world they would design and produce projects that would use them, just as they do in industry. Unfortunately, the school I work at doesn’t have ANY appropriate equipment to do that, I only achieve this with an extended network of teachers and the IIATE.

The IIATE is the INSTITUTE of INDUSTRIAL ARTS TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION, they are my professional association, much like English teachers have the ETA. They organise professional development, a yearly conference (this year we are joining forces with other states to create a NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE!) AND also the loan program for 3D printers. The concept is SOOOO rad that the Technology in Education Magazine recently did a cover story article on it! – – – >

The IIATE council do a fabulous job of providing members/teachers with opportunities to provide for their students, without the 3D printer program my students would not have had access to this experience. Without the networking opportunities the IIATE create my students would not be able to use other schools manufacturing equipment.

The IIATE is a non-profit organisation run by teachers, if you are a TAS teacher NSW you should be a part of the association too! In VIC there is DATTA, and in QLD a similar association called INTAD. Whatever your area of teaching, I urge you to join your supporting professional association.




Your PERSONAL invite to join the TechED Forum

About a year and a half ago I got REALLY frustrated, I am a member of the IIATE, subscriber of ESNET and TEANSW email groups, I use twitter, I blog/read others, I connect with teachers at TeachMeet, I share and always find obliging people who help in return.

BUT I selfishly wanted just ONE place where I could go to and ask subject specific information, I found I would trawl the interweb for hours?? . . . looking for THAT Stage 5 Industrial Tech Timber resource?? As a sweeping generalisation I have found that subject specific TAS resources such as: suppliers? materials? and process tutorials are harder to come by online, so with the help of some friends I created the “TechEd Forum”:

TechED Forum

I am not a computing teacher, and although I am competent in using technology I really stretched my technical expertise in getting this to work, and could NOT have done it without the help of my friend’s Husband Jeremy. The graphics and “logo” was designed by an ex-student now studying graphics, he decided the forum logo should “visually promote communication”, the forum now that it is set up is easy to manage, and doesn’t cost me a cent!

But, what this forum REALLY needs to prosper and run are MORE PARTICIPATING MEMBERS!! 

There are questions in many of the forum topics ASKING for assistance and advice, others OFFERING to share assessments and resources. I know that many of us use Edmodo, Twitter and TeachMeets to resource and crowd share, but the aim for this space was a very different one – to create subject specific discussion areas that can house documents, links, contact details, that could be referred back to categorically and easily. Does this sound useful?

You're invited!

You’re invited!


It doesn’t matter if you work in Tasmania, a primary school or TAFE, which sector of education you come from or if you are still studying – you still have something to contribute. The forum is free, it doesn’t cost me a cent to run- and therefore won’t cost you either. I hope that by joining you benefit from the space how it was intended. If you have any ideas for how forum could improve- let me know!

Who says a TEST OF KNOWLEDGE has to be an EXAM?


The Industrial Technology Timber scope and sequence for year 10 set from last year is crap. Yeah, that’s kind of harsh, but the over testing of repetitive outcomes, lack of diversity in tasks (folio, prac, exam, folio, prac, exam **repeat) and the minimal GAP between assessments has been driving me bonkers all year.

I spent AGES re-creating a year 11 Design and Technology assessment – with the focus of “making it real” – this task was so successful that the idea of issuing year 10 Timber students with a hour long test that replicated the content/outcomes in the half yearly was absurd! With the need for modified tasks to be issued, not all students could even access the test?  – – CUE teacher frustration!!

After an awesome chat with our Leader of Pedagogy a few weeks back about HOW I could get the diversity I wanted into a scope and sequence that was already set he said “Who says a TEST OF KNOWLEDGE has to be in the form of an EXAM?” – – – (clever guy our LOP, you should follow him on twitter! @MarkOConnor1976 )



This is what I knew I wanted in a task:

  • I wanted to make an assessment that was UN-GOOGLABLE
  • An opportunity to apply subject knowledge in a real world contexts
  • Allow for self-driven practical experiences
  • Test plan reading/numeracy – been a real focus of improvement this term
  • Have OPTIONS that would test the same skills/knowledge but allow students to have some CHOICE in the assessment process/format

There are quite a few students in the course that receive modified assessments. Due to the nature of the course and the level of improvement students have demonstrated since year 9, they are gradually doing tasks that resemble a “full” assessment. HOWEVER, if a class test was issued in the format of multiple choice, short response and extended response was to be issued, they would NOT be able to complete it. Whilst writing the task, I kept those students in mind, knowing that many of them would be continuing with the HSC course and building confidence in presenting knowledge is important, more so than “practicing exam techniques”.

I have included the NEW task below, I would love your feedback, thoughts and maybe you could share what you do!

Task Description


When writing re-writing the scope and sequence for next years year 10 Timber, I will take into the account that SO MUCH THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE is in the year 9 course, but not so much the year 10. Ideally I would like to RE-WRITE the WHOLE STAGE – balancing this out, but until a new cohort start year 9 I think this task is great. 

What can YOU do with a piece of fabric? . . .or a length of timber?

What can YOU do with a piece of fabric?

My fave part of teaching in a practical course is watching students transform their fabric/timber into items of soft furnishings, clothing, toys or timber products, decorating them to their individual tastes and styles and employing skills and processes learnt in technology units.


This is only a quick post, but I wanted to collate some of the extraordinary and creative work Gilroy students have done in my classes- and as you can see from the images, even though they work to a design brief and with constraints their final outcomes are unique and demonstrate some clever use of recycled materials and processes.


Projects pictured include:

  • Year 7 textiles technology – interior design/cushion
  • Year 7 mixed materials technology – product/light design
  • Year 9 Industrial Technology -timber: treasure chest
  •  . . . and a whole heap of random pics 🙂


What an awesome year it has been !!!

IMG_3786 IMG_3733 IMG_3726 IMG_3724 IMG_3699 IMG_3648 IMG_3647 IMG_9570 IMG_9552 IMG_9541 IMG_9540 IMG_9536 IMG_3523 IMG_3275 IMG_3274 IMG_3273 IMG_3082 IMG_3059 IMG_2658 IMG_2657 IMG_2470 IMG_2413 IMG_2350 IMG_2349 IMG_2065 IMG_2064






Lasers, rotary cutters, 3D printers!! TERM 1 2012 – – -> WS-iiate Branch meeting

TERM 1 2012 – – -> WS-iiate Branch meeting

ON thursday arvo 15 keen TAS teachers gathered at Cherrybrook Technology High School to discuss ALL THINGS TAS!


  • Demonstration of rotary cutter on mill
  • WHS – updated information for TAS teachers
  • YICTE- Video conference for IT competition-
  • Laser cutter demonstration
  • Roland 3D printer demonstration

Minutes can be found here – – -> WS-iiate term 1 2012 meet

LASER CUTTER VIDEO- – -> on vimeo here!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What WAS REALLY GREAT was the turn out of teachers from different sectors- we all have same thing in common, a love of our content area and a commitment to our students learning!

IF you wish to attend the NEXT WESTERN SYDNEY meeting, I can be contact via email: OR

FOR information regarding IIATE membership- contact via:

IF you live in the SOUTH COAST AREA, then there is a meeting down there! contact: STEVE DELANEY @ Warrawong High School-

ORRR!!! if you are from the CENTRAL WEST- contact MATTHEW SCOTT @ The Canobalas Rural Technology High School, Orange-

Sharing is caring. . .

As teachers we share horror stories of lessons, funny moments in class, strategies that worked and ideas for making teaching and learning BETTER.

I had the bright idea a few months ago to create a forum for TAS teachers. I am truly lucky to have a great network of teachers that I rely on for help (and encouragement) but others may/not have that, and really, what wrong with extending it?

Something that was really poignant at the teachmeet last week was the sharing , it wasn’t evident if attendees were from the public, independent or private sector. They were there because they want to share and learn.

For the record, I love technology, but I have had NO formal computing training. I set up 4 different forums (because I had no idea where to start!!) with various hosting capabilities and function before it was suggested I use phpBB . Even with the help from a friends husband (I am forever in debt for his help- he persisted through all my stupid questions!!) I felt overwhelmed.

After hours of flash tutorials, playing around with security settings and emails to Jeremy. . . . VOILA! The forum is now set up, it lives at:  

If you are a TAS teacher, I encourage you to sign up, we will only get out of this what we each put in. Share SOMETHING! Start a discussion! If you are not, the content wont be very exciting to you, but maybe you could start one for your own KLA?

It is our professional environment to collaborate and SHARE WHAT WE KNOW WITH EACH OTHER!

. . .Cars, cannons, CNC routers, planes AND technology!! Yup, it’s what we do in TAS!

WSIIATE – Term 4 Christmas Meeting

WHAT A SUPER AFTERNOON!! cars, cannons, solar power, CNC routers, laser cutters, vector works software, Creo, flight projects, tea trays and ALL THINGS TECHNOLOGY!!

The IIATE (Insitute of Industrial Arts Technology Educators) is a professional membership that TAS teachers SHOULD be a part of. Not only does the council organise key events for members, but the membership community itself is an important PLN for TAS teachers.

In western sydney, each term, teachers meet, eat, discuss and share ideas resources, problems- and solve them together. I am really very lucky to be involved in such a supportive PLN-  staff that attend are from different schools, but have a common goal of technology education and student learning.

Todays meet was a very successful one! If your reading this- a HUGE thank you to the gracious hosts- Peter Taylor and TAS staff at The Kings School. Superb afternoon!!

I have attached the invite and images from the meeting in the hope to encourage MORE people to join us next year. Looking at the agenda and images, you cant help but be blown away by the challenging nature of the projects, diversity of context areas, skills learnt AND the technology that is utilised. Some amazing equipment at this school that is used effectively- very, very jealous!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FOR information regarding IIATE membership- contact via:

IF you live in the SOUTH COAST AREA, then there is a meeting down there! contact: STEVE DELANEY @ Warrawong High School-


ORRR!!! if you are from the CENTRAL WEST- contact MATTHEW SCOTT @ The Canobalas Rural Technology High School, Orange-

A good tired. . .

Today I am exhausted. It was a 5 period day- 4 of which were double pracs.
It wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t have these 3 successes today:
1. In year 10 Industrial tech- timber; the above completed bedside table- It was the culmination of 2 terms worth of student work, with also extra lunch times because we negotiated G&T project extensions (the top design and alternate drawer with hidden compartment). I got all warm and fuzzy when the student thanked me for all my help- and PUSHING him to make the quality better 🙂
2. Year 8 Macaroni and Cheese food dem/prac; WOW!! The literacy lesson went REALLY well- students created their OWN workflow plans (hope fully the video proof plays ok! :-/) AND there was not one LUMPY white sauce!!!
Another teacher walked in and commented how “Serene and organised the kitchen atmosphere was”. This for me is a HUGE personal achievement, food technology is not my specialisation, and this practical context area I used to grapple with.
3. Year 11 Design Tech- Handed back assessment tasks, had 3 students in particular BEAMING with their results on the written report section- generally they find writing, in particular long responses difficult. NOT any more!! What a confidence booster for them to receive such good marks back after all that hard work 🙂 The only downer is that my over-confident student who USED to rank number 1, is now ranked 4- how do I push the tope end students back up to raise achievement higher?? hmmmm. . . tomorrows task.