Click on names for full details below

Phil Ker
Chief Executive
Otago Poytechnic
Integrating learning and work

Nicola Ngarewa
Spotswood College
DISRUPT-ED: Embracing the future

Arnika Macphail
Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network
Equitable Digital Access


Hilary O’Connor
Director Technical Sales
Soul Machines
Humanising technology

Fraser Liggett
Economic Development
Enterprise Dunedin, DCC
Centre of Digital Excellence

Cheryl Adams
Animation Research
Prison VR Literacy Project

Jimmy McLauchlan
Business Development
Methodist Mission Southern
Prison’ VR Literacy Project



Dr Mary Redmayne
Independent Researcher
Victoria and Monash University
Dangers of Screen Overuse

Anjie Webster
Education Advisor
Online Safety and Wellbeing

Lyall Lukey
Education Leaders Forum
SmartNet MC

Bios and Topics

Phil Ker – Chief Executive, Otago Polytechnic

Phil took up his appointment as Chief Executive of Otago Polytechnic in 2004.  He has a diverse set of experiences and has developed a broad portfolio of expertise as both an academic and an administrator in both university and polytechnic environments.

He is a successful tertiary leader and teacher, with expertise in curriculum development, assessment of student learning and leadership.  He has had a lengthy teaching career including teaching economics, accounting, management and tertiary teaching practice; and has had a career long interest in leadership and leadership development, in the professional development of tertiary educators and in the recognition of prior learning.

Phil’s particular interest is in business education, education for sustainability, staff development generally and leadership development specifically; and in the recognition of prior experiential learning.

Phil is a member of the following Boards:  Director – TANZ (Tertiary Accord of New Zealand), Executive member – Post Secondary international Network (PIN),  Director – Malcam Charitable Trust

Phil enjoys cycling, and especially long distance road cycling now that his marathon running days are behind him.  He is also a motor cycling enthusiast who takes every opportunity to ride his Har-ley Davidson through beautiful Central Otago.  Travel, movies and reading crime and suspense novels are favourite pastimes he shares with his wife Glenys.

Qualifications: MEd (Administration) – First Class Honours, Massey University, 1995
Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Auckland, 1973
Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University, 2001
Trained Teachers Certificate, Auckland College of Education, 1973

Topic: Integrating learning and work

Arnika Macphail – Programme Manager, Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network (GCSN)

Arnika has worked in the education sector in a range of settings for the past 18 years, and recently started her company as an Independent Education Consultant. Some of the work she is currently undertaking is as Programme Manager for the Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network Trust. The Trusts purpose is to support and promote networked learning in Christchurch. Under the trust Arnika is Project Manager for ConnectED Haeata.

Arnika is passionate about technology in education, and is Ministry of Education accredited to deliver support to schools around Digital Fluency and Digital Technologies. She is also on the United Nations Canterbury Committee and sees an important connection in the work she delivers with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Topic:  Equitable Digital Access for Students

In 2020 the MoE has stated all teachers in NZ must be equipped to teach Digital Technologies.
Statistics and research show that our young people are not fully equipped to fill a range of 21st Century job roles currently available. Schools are working hard to bridge this knowledge gap, but what are we doing about equitable access to this from homes and communities? 100,000 students in New Zealand do not have access to internet from their home. There are varied reasons for this and one of those is the simple fact that it can be unaffordable.

The Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network Trust has partnered with Chorus, N4L, MoE and Haeata to work towards bridging the digital divide. With it’s launch in 2018, Project ConnectED is a collective effort to connect students and whānau to their education from home.

Arnika Macphail, Project Manager will tell the story of how ConnectED has come to life and the impact of this for the community.

Nicola Ngarewa – Principal Spotswood College

Nicola Ngarewa has taught in all sectors of education from Early Childhood to Tertiary including in the NZ Prison system. She is currently  Principal at Spotswood College who are undertaking a massive shift from traditional learning to future focused learning. She is also currently on Governance Board for the Aotearoa/ NZ Teachers Council

She is passionate about disrupting the educational norm through transformative leadership and  future focus and global citizenship. In 2013, she received a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award as a result of transformative  work at Tamatea High School. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Taranaki Daily News Person of the Year for transformative work at Patea Area School, with the school receiving the National UNESCO award for Education – Global Citizenship  2018.

Topic: DISRUPT-ED – A journey of embracing the future focus!

Sharing the transformative journey from a traditional learning context to a future focused educational model based on the experiences of leading this shift in two schools of different contexts – an underperforming decile 1 area school, and a high performing decile 5 traditional high school.

Hilary O’Connor – Director of Technical Sales, Soul Machines

Hilary joined Soul Machines™ as Director of Technical Sales in 2018.  Soul Machines™ is building a HumanOS for Artificial Intelligence so we can communicate, connect and relate to AI in ways that make it accessible, contextual and trusted.  By creating a new type of Artificial Intelligence called Experiential Learning – and the world’s first Digital Brain™ – Soul Machines is radically humanising technology, delivering a personalised human-like experience and connections at scale operating independently. Soul Machines’ breakthroughs in Experiential Learning add human intelligence to AI, taking interactions beyond algorithms and enabling digital beings to accumulate experiences, learn, and respond emotionally.

Hilary joined the company from Google where she worked within their Cloud technologies business as Customer Engineering Lead, prior to that she held several roles at Microsoft, predominantly as Lead Technology Strategist. She has previously held consulting and, earlier on in her career, development roles, with companies such as Cap Gemini, Deloitte and Datacom.

Topic: Humanising Technology

Fraser Liggett – Economic Development Programme Manager, Enterprise Dunedin, Dunedin City Council

Fraser joined Enterprise Dunedin in May 2016. He has responsibility for the implementation of the Dunedin 2013-23 Economic Development Strategy with the Grow Dunedin Partners. Fraser oversees a range of specific activities including– Ara Toi, Film, Tech and Business start-up, Good Food Dunedin, International Education, Project China and GigCity.

Fraser sits on the Film Otago Southland Board and is former Board of the Otago, Southland Employers Association (OSEA). He has held management roles in London and previously led European Commission funded skills projects in France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. Fraser advised the London Development Agency (LDA) and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on economic development issues as part of the London 2012 Olympics.

He prepared the ODA Employment and Skills Strategy, managed the development of the Construction College East London on the Olympic Park and authored a regeneration impact study on light rail investment in Central London. As a former Senior Analyst with the National Infrastructure Unit of the Treasury, Fraser worked on the State Sector Capital Asset Management (CAM) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) programmes.

Topic: Centre of Digital Excellence

Cheryl Adams – CEO Animation Research

Animation Research  was founded by Ian Taylor, recently declared Innovator of the Year.    Cheryl has had 20 years working in ICT.  She is an experienced business and project manager with a B Eng. Mech (Hons 1) from University of Canterbury. Cheryl is the IPENZ Wonder Project Ambassador and is passionate about supporting people to be the best that they can be and introducing our tamariki to the opportunities that tech opens up for them.

Topic: Virtual Reality Learning Tools in Prison with Jimmy McLauchlan (see Outline below)

Jimmy McLauchlan – Business Development Manager, Methodist Mission Southern

Jimmy is responsible for design and development of innovative education programmes and social service programmes.  He specialises in working with individuals and whānau with complex barriers to achievement.

Currently  he is developing and evaluating; self-regulation development programmes for early childhood education, speech-language and dyslexia programmes for justice sector clients, iCBT mental health models, transitional youth housing facilities and virtual reality learning tools for foundation level literacy and numeracy.

Topic: Virtual Reality Learning Tools in Prison

Approximately 65% of people in New Zealand prisons lack NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy skills – severely limiting their educational and employment opportunities on release, and increasing their risk of re-offending on release. Methodist Mission Southern and Animation Research Limited, with support from University of Otago Information Science Department and Ngāti Kahungunu, are working alongside prison-based learners at Otago Corrections Facility to co-design, develop and evaluate virtual reality learning tools – with the aim of significantly improving engagement, completion and achievement rates for learners in prison literacy and numeracy programmes.

Dr Mary Redmayne PhD, PG Dip Teach., PG Dip Env Stud. Independent Researcher, Monash University

Mary was a Primary School teacher in Wellington between 2003 and 2008. Post-graduate study followed, with Honours in Environmental Studies, then a PhD from VUW. She completed a two year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Centre for Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University in 2016, and is now based back in Wellington, working as an independent researcher, consultant, and educator. She holds Adjunct Research Fellowship positions at Victoria University of Wellington and Monash University, Melbourne.

Her primary research interests revolve around the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on health and well-being. More recent interests are other emerging effects on child development, and their physical and mental health related to screen-time. She has many publications in the peer-reviewed literature and has presented at conferences, workshops and seminars internationally. She is a Participating Member of Standards Australia Committee on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, Technical Committee TE-007. Presentations this year have included public seminars on “Raising healthy children in the screen-age”.

Topic: Addressing Dangers of Screen Overuse

In fewer than ten years, most mobile phones have moved from being phone-call and texting devices to an indispensable, instant-access remote source of information, social connection and entertainment.

It is becoming apparent that for many people the immediacy and ‘rewards’ increasingly over-ride the very real need for face-to-face interactions, outdoor exercise and time with nature, while building a sense of isolation and lack of fulfilment.

Extended screen-use is often not a conscious choice but the result of at least three factors: intentional design aspects of online material and platforms intended to hook the user into increasing use; effects of microwaves transmitted by devices (eg mobiles, laptops, and tablets) on cognitive and neurochemical processes; and a lack of understanding of why and how to self-regulate screen-use.

Without conscious steps to be in control of one’s use of screens, the journey to screen-dependence follows. Extensive screen-time can then lead to behavioural problems, anxiety and depression.

Physical risks from extended screen-time include increased risk of myopia, spinal problems, and reduced growth, as well as those which result from a sedentary lifestyle. Exposure to the microwaves emitted also negatively affects sleep, impairs the quality of sperm, and increases oxidative stress (damaging neural cells, among others).

Our mental health statistics are shouting loud and clear: it is high time attention was paid to providing our children and teens with skills to keep or reclaim control over their use of time and prevent electronic technology taking control of their lives. It is our duty as teachers, parents and health providers to teach them how to make technology work for them while building up skills to know why and how to avoid the distractions that lead to dependence and even screen “addiction”.

Some steps towards reducing microwave exposure and hints for managing the impulse to over-use screens will be presented for discussion, along with some resulting benefits.

Anjie Webster – Education Advisor, Netsafe

Anjie Webster is an Education Advisor for Netsafe.  Anjie has been in education for over 25 years, and more recently completed her M.Ed(Hons) in all things around the online space and what’s needed to support young people. Anjie works in schools and kura, shares presentations across education conferences, forums, CoLs and clusters, and creates resources alongside the Netsafe team.

Netsafe is an independent, non-profit New Zealand organisation focused on online safety. Netsafe provides specialist support for schools, educators and school communities around digital citizenship, responding to online incidents and other online safety issues.

Topic: Online Safety and Wellbeing

Balancing the role of school in managing online incidents, and, actively developing what’s needed for students at the crossroads of online safety, citizenship and wellbeing.

Lyall Lukey – ELF Convener and MC

Lyall Lukey, Convener of the annual Education Leaders Forums since 2007 and Seismics and the City events 2012-2016, is the Managing Director of Lyall Lukey Resources Ltd, founded in 1987 and the originator and co-ordinator of SmartNet, founded in 1997 and Silververve, founded in 2016.

Lyall has a unique background spanning the academic and business worlds. His History MA Honours thesis was entitled Industrial Conflict in New Zealand.  He is a former secondary school teacher and Visiting Teaching Fellow at the University of Canterbury. He also had three seconded stints in teacher recruiting.

Since 1987 Lyall’s organisation Lukey Resources has worked with client organisations throughout New Zealand in the public and private sectors to enhance their intangible assets – especially what their people know and do – through knowledge sharing.

SmartNet helps foster innovation and creates new local and global opportunities for New Zealand enterprises. SmartNet has an extensive database of NZ based and international speakers and consultants.

Lyall is a former National President and a Life Member of the service club Round Table New Zealand, a past member of the Rotary Club of Christchurch Sunrise and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was on the Board of Cholmondeley Children’s Home from 1987 to 2007 and was President from 2001 to 2005. He was made a Life Member of the Home in 2007. He was also the founding member of the Board of Trustees of the Cholmondeley Children’s Foundation, serving from 2004-17.

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