Tasmania's World-Class Potential

Blogging, I have found, is a liberating medium for someone who naturally struggles with verbosity.  Tweeting has been great for on-the-run snapshots (https://twitter.com/joshdeanLC), but 140 characters doesn’t allow deeper digression.  And for those that know me, I am a deeper digression sort of person.

This is my first blog post in a while and there is a reason(s) for that, not the least of which is because blogging takes some internal processing time before blurting it all out, editing and pressing 'publish'.  But also because ever since I departed for the USA I have been both formally and informally, consciously and subconsciously, engaged in processes of inquiry and experiences that, in totality, will form my Hardie Fellowship.  As human beings, we are constantly learning in response to the experiences that we have and this Hardie Fellowship experience is quite literally one of global proportions, providing access to world-class facilities, world-class research, world-class experts and world-class best-practice across diverse areas – not just those within the realm of the stated study focus. 

Physically visiting the USA and experiencing best-practice and world-renowned experts first-hand is informative in two ways.  On one hand it can be affirming of good practice that already exists.  On the other hand, it can open our eyes to new ways of doing things that are more effective and/or efficient.

Air travel and the Internet have improved access to the world and global best practice.  As has been the case for a long time, Tasmanians should no longer feel limited by their location but as truly global citizens with the potential to be global participants, contributors and world-class leaders. 

Tasmania is already a global leader in agriculture and tourism.  There are exciting, emerging industries in innovation, engineering and technology.  Thinking locally, from my hometown of Launceston, there are several examples of innovative businesses that have established themselves and are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in our island State.  Van Diemen Leisure Craft (www.vdlc.com.au), Definium Technologies (definium.net) and Bitlink (www.bitlink.com.au) are just three that I have noted for being trail blazers – I am sure there are others and will be more to come.  Even my local barber, ‘Barber On George’ (www.barberongeorge.com.au) embodies an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit worthy of emulation, reinventing and redefining the barbershop experience with a relentless focus on their product and service quality. 

University of Illinois - #69 in World Rankings
My point is that Tasmania can similarly be globally competitive and of a world-class standard in education.  As an educator this is what I strive for.  I am not starry-eyed by the Star-Spangled Banner, blindly following the latest fads or, having found solutions, looking for problems.  New ideas gleaned from this Hardie Fellowship have not only given me inspiring insights but also starting points for strategic thinking and frameworks to ensure the ideas are realised and become reality.  
It is my belief that with innovative thinking, judicious use of technological tools and online learning - within best-practice pedagogical frameworks - we can improve student outcomes.  This is what my Hardie Fellowship is about and we are seeing this in action at the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin-Stout and the subjects we are studying - eLearning for Educators (Josh - UWS), Project-Based Learning in the Flipped Classroom (Mark - UWS) and Learning & Human Development With Educational Technology (Josh & Mark - UI).  In Florida we will meet with formative assessment expert, Dylan Wiliam, as well as engage in tailored training at the Florida Virtual School.

Outside of the scheduled study program I am seeing - almost on a daily basis - ideas that have broad ranging appeal and application.  For example, there could be implications for professional learning delivery and how staff access that.  

I am using this blog and Twitter as one means of documenting and processing experiences personally in the first instance, and then using them as a platform for sharing ideas, thoughts and opinions with others.  Thank you to those who are following the learning journey, both here and on Twitter.  I look forward to sharing more posts as thoughts crystallize (I am already not worrying about USA spelling).

Blogs, Twitter (and learning) aren’t meant to be one-way conversations.  I always invite and encourage feedback or questions from anyone.



  1. Great post on the blogging process. I've been thinking recently about the notion of individuals and organisations as global citizens. While the call to be "best in the world" can be empowering I wonder about the notion of "best for the world" to highlight our potential role as responsible and respectful global participants.


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