You are here

Spotlight Sessions

Spotlight sessions are led by invited speakers who will explore aspects of the uLearn16 conference strands as they relate to their work and expertise. Two Spotlight sessions are assigned to each of the three conference strands. These speakers may also be programmed to lead more intimate breakout sessions should you wish to drill deeper into a particluar aspect of their Spotlight session.

Once the full programme is available to view in August, you can search for and book Spotlight sessions as part of the wider programme, as well as search by presenter.

In addition, a facilitated sofa session (or interactive panel) is scheduled for each day, with invited guests discussing provoactions that relate to each of the strands.

Spotlight on:

Transforming learning and assessment

Te panoni i te ako me te aromatawai


Putting the 'so what' in assessment

Rose Hipkins and Cathie Johnson (co-facilitation)

Rose Hipkins

About Rose

Dr. Rosemary Hipkins is a chief researcher at the NZCER. She began her career as a science and biology teacher and worked for some years in teacher education before moving to NZCER. Rose was actively involved in the development of the New Zealand Curriculum and has led research projects related to both curriculum and assessment innovation in New Zealand. She is interested in how key competencies might be used as 'ideas to think with', so that they help transform learning opportunities for students rather than simply adding to existing curriculum thinking and pedagogy. 

She recently co-developed a small set of science capabilities as one approach to integrating the back and front halves of NZC and is the lead author of the recently published book Key Competencies for the Future. Her next co-authored book, NCEA in Context, will be published in mid-2016.

Cathie JohnsonAbout Cathie

Cathie Johnson is the Education Adviser for NZCER. As an ex-principal/teacher, her role is to use her knowledge of both research and practice to challenge and support the sector to interpret the standardised data in the tools and the surveys NZCER produces, while building assessment and evaluative capabilities in how the data can be used to improve students’ learning.

The pulse of te reo Māori — strong or not?

Charisma Rangipunga

Charisma Rangipunga

About Charisma

Charisma is a mother of three sons, based in Christchurch and as a second language learning is committed to raising her boys with te reo Maori as their first language. For a tribe that has suffered through up to five generations of language loss, Ngāi Tahu have committed to a strategy of supporting and nurturing families to reintroduce Māori as a primary language of engagement within their homes. Charisma has been part of this drive since Ngāi Tahu ratified its Māori Language Strategy — Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata in 2000. Charisma has a background in cultural and language revitalisation, strategy development, and is a composer and an author of books in te reo Māori. Charisma is a Māori Language Commissioner, and was part of the Ministerial Advisory Group for the Māori Language Act 2016.

Spotlight on:

Transforming professional practice 

Te panoni i te mahi kia angitu


Are you ready? Make the shift from local to global learning modes

Julie Lindsay

Julie Lyndsay

About Julie

Julie is a global collaboration consultant, teacherpreneur, innovator, leader and author. She worked in international schools for fifteen years as an educational technology leader across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Her passion is for online global collaboration and, as Director of Flat Connections, she designs and manages online projects for all K-12 levels and customises learning experiences for educators including virtual courses and live events.

She is currently a Quality Learning and Teaching Leader (online) and Adjunct lecturer for the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University, an Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator, and is completing an EdD at the University of Southern Queensland with research focusing on online global collaborative educators and pedagogical change. Her first book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds is a definitive text on how to embed global connections and collaborations for meaningful learning, and her new book, The Global Educator shares approaches, updated practices and case studies on how to take learning global.

Find out more about Julie at and connect with Julie on Twitter Explore more resources to do with being a global educator on Flat Connections and the website

The next paradigm: Designing learning to continually fulfill the potential of EVERY child

Lesley Murrihy

Lesley Murrihy

About Lesley

Dr Lesley Murrihy has never quite done things in the 'normal' way. She and husband, John, have eight children who have been very successful in tertiary education, but who have never actually attended school. On the very day she was offered a first time principalship, Lesley was also accepted into the doctoral programme at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She accepted both opportunities. 

Lesley spent 17 years working as a teacher and then the principal in a small, semi-rural, decile 1 school in highly challenging circumstances with 85% Maori students situated in the middle of the North Island; and left to take up a position as the foundation principal of a decile 10, multi-cultural school in Wellington.

Throughout her principalship, Lesley has been recognised as an innovative school leader who cares for students. In her work, she combines vision and pragmatism - working best at the interface where practice and educational theory meet. She agrees with Kurt Lewin that there is nothing so practical as a good theory and she uses theory to inform practice and then reflected-upon-practice to continue the development of educational theory.

As the foundation principal of Amesbury School, with a very forward thinking and supportive Board of Trustees and amazing staff, Lesley has had a unique opportunity to really explore what education can/should look like for 21st century learners. Over the past four years, Amesbury School has been developing a future-focused, integral, personalised and rigorous curriculum and implementing it across the whole school system. Lesley is very honest about the fact that this has been a hugely challenging journey, but she is also adamant that it has been highly rewarding and a thrilling journey of discovery.

Spotlight on:

Transforming leadership

Te panoni i te tangata kia rangatira


Preparing for a world of rapidly changing technology

Graeme Muller

Graeme Muller

About Graeme

Graeme Muller is passionate about the impact that technology can make to New Zealand. In his role as Chief Executive of NZTech, Graeme is helping raise the awareness of the economic and social benefits technology can bring, and how we can prepare for a more tech based future. NZTech helps promote New Zealand as a world class digital nation overseas and is working locally to help support the development of the next generation of tech ready Kiwis. 

Prior to NZTech, Graeme was based in Amsterdam and held the role of Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for IDC Insights, a global tech sector research and advisory firm. Graeme spent a decade working in senior international management roles for IDC including Country Manager for New Zealand.

Graeme has also worked for a tech subsidiary of Lion Nathan, as a pharmacist in the health sector and has degrees in pharmacy and marketing, and a masters of business administration.

Transforming Leadership from the Traditional Hierarchies

The senior leadership team of Haeata Community Campus — a new urban area school to be opened in February 2017 will share their vision of growing all people in the organisation. They will explore what traditional models of leadership looked like in different times and different cultures, and why they are challenging these traditional models. They will explore what multi dimensional leadership could look like in an open learning environment.

They will engage with the language of leadership and what motivates them as a leaders and as a leadership team.


The Senior Leadership team consists of a Manukura (Principal) and four Kaihautū Whakaako (Directors of Learning) who have been working together since February 2016 to prepare the school for opening in February 2017.

Andy Kai Fong — Manukura (Principal)

Andy Kai Fong

About Andy

Andy has recently returned to Christchurch from Hong Kong after 8 years in a leadership role at Discovery College, an International Baccalaureate Year 1­13 school. Prior to that he was Principal at Hornby Secondary School and also worked as a senior leader at Lincoln Secondary School. Andy brings vast experience to his new role as Principal at Haeata Community Campus and he is excited to be leading a team of dynamic educators to transform the learning experience for students and teachers alike.

Karyn Gray — Kaihautū Whakaako

Karyn Gray

About Karyn

Prior to this role Karyn has previously held a number of Principal and Senior leadership roles at schools­both traditional and with an innovative learning focus. Karyn has a real interest in seeing the school system transformed to meet the needs of all learners and re­engage with the learners often lost to the system. She believes there is a true place for personalised learning­ for both students and staff within the system. Karyn is also committed to seeing multi disciplinary learning in place throughout the schooling system.

Mel Taite­ Pitama — Kaihautū Whakaako

Mel Tait-Pitama

About Mel

Tauranga Moana, Tauranga Tangata!
Mel comes with a wealth of experience in both education and iwi/hapū work. She has been a teacher and leader in both mainstream and Māori immersion settings, across primary, wharekura and tertiary most recently working for the Ministry of Education as a Student Achievement Function Practitioner. Her passion for all learners, in particular Māori learners has helped to support her drive in transforming education for ākonga, whānau and iwi.

Rebecca Wilson ­ Kaihautū Whakaako

Rebecca Wilson

About Rebecca

Prior to this role Rebecca was Deputy Principal at Bromley School. She lead a Reggio Emilia inspired philosophy, as well as other roles. Most of her teaching career has been as a New Entrant specialist. She is passionate about ākonga learning through personalised programmes, exploring interests and passions as a way to work across the curriculum so every learner experiences success.

Paul Osborne — Kaihautū Whakaako

Paul Osborne

About Paul

Kia ora tātou. Paul has been in secondary education for 20 years. He began working as a Mathematics teacher in South London before moving to the South of England to be the Head of the Mathematics Department and quickly became a member of the senior leadership team. For the past 10 years, up until December 2015, Paul worked at Aranui High School in Christchurch as Head of Mathematics and held senior leader responsibilities in assessment and achievement. He sees his current role as a privilege to be able to be part of designing a future­focussed new school with all the excitement and challenges it brings. He knows it will transform education in Christchurch city.

ULearn Blog