Thursday, October 13th, 2011
World leaders in innovative education will attend Big Picture National Conference in Newport in Melbourne’s west on 19-21 October 2011. This years conference ‘Making it Big’ will aim to challenge our students and teachers to deepen their learning around ‘making and doing’ and embrace the many benefits of using the hand and the mind to enhance their knowledge.

Big Picture Education provides personalised learning for each student. Big Picture aims to educate “one student at a time” placing the student, their passions and their interests at the centre of the learning process.

On Wednesday 19th October at 10.00am Dr Elliot Washor, the co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning will formally launch the Big Picture Education Australia conference at the Substation in Market St, Newport.

Big Picture Learning originated in the United States and in 2010 President Obama and Secretary Duncan joined General Colin Powell for the announcement of ‘Grad Nation’ a 10-year campaign to mobilise America to reverse the dropout crisis and help America’s children be prepared for success in college, work and life.

During his speech, President Obama singled out the Met Center in Rhode Island as an institution that offers the kind of individual instruction to students that will be used in the new program that he unveiled. He said: “That’s why we’ll follow the example of places like the Met Center in Rhode Island that give students that individual attention, while also preparing them through real-world, hands-on training the possibility of succeeding in a career.”

Viv White is one of Australia’s great education innovators. She believes that all young Australians should have the chance to succeed in our education systems. Big Picture is her passion. Viv is co-founder and CEO of the Big Picture Education Australia. Viv was CEO of the Victorian Schools Innovation Commission (VSIC) and the Australian National Schools Network (ANSN) and has been involved in school development for many years.

John Hogan has extensive experience in the education sector and has been at the forefront of major school renewal movements for many years. John is the co-founder of Big Picture Education Australia and co-ordinator of the Australian National Schools Network and currently an Honorary Fellow of Murdoch University in Perth, W.A.

Dr. Elliot Washor has been selected as one of the “Daring Dozen” - the Twelve Most Daring Educators in the World by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Elliot is the co-founder and co-director of Big Picture Learning in the USA. For 30 years, Elliot has reformed schools - as a teacher, principal, administrator, video producer, and writer. He makes schools connect with communities to understand tacit and disciplinary learning both in and outside of school.

Other key presenters will include Mark Thomson from the Institute of Backyard Studies, Marylou Verberne and Clare Sicuro from Play for Life and ‘tinkerers’ Heather Horrocks, David Murphy and Mitch O’Sullivan who will facilitate creative workshops throughout the duration of the 3-day event.

The conference will bring together over 140 teachers, students, coaches and academics from around Australia and New Zealand that have been developing, implementing and researching personalised learning using the Big Picture design.

Big Picture Education Australia is proudly supported by the Origin Foundation, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, the Caledonia Foundation, Social Ventures Australia and the Eureka Benevolent Foundation.

For media enquiries please contact:
Cathy Danaher 0412 609 999 or via email [email protected]

For access to video footage including school profiles and student interviews from Australian Big Picture Schools contact:
Joe Wickert - 0417 686 213 - [email protected]
Peter Flynn - 0417 259 998- [email protected]

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Big Picture Education Australia

Big Picture Education Australia aims to stimulate vital changes in Australian education by generating and sustaining innovative, personalised schools that work in partnership with their greater communities.

We design break-through public schools, research and replicate new designs for education, train educators to serve as leaders in their schools and communities, and actively engage the public as participants and decision makers in the education of our young people.
Cathy Danaher
P: 0412 609 999


Education, innovation, schools, Big Picture Education, Making, Tinkering



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