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About Me


Kia ora Yes, we kiwi might be flightless but the web means we can still get around and we're not afraid to spread our wings and try new technologies. I'm the learning designer on the eXe Authoring project based in Auckland, New Zealand. Although this project often seems like a small local effort we are always amazed at where (in the world) eXe is being used and how people are finding it. The thought that this tool might be helping to open up educational opportunities to everyone is quite inspiring.

Contact-new.svg Helena Mill
Nationality:New Zealand
Country:New Zealand
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My home town

I live in a small suburb on Auckland's North Shore. A short drive from the more popular tourist destination of Devonport. Devonport sits at the end of a peninsular and can be accessed from the Auckland City via the harbour by the Devonport Ferry. Devonport village has a particularly English feel about it and boasts great inner city beaches, parks and a couple of volcanoes.

The village supports a variety of primary schooling philosophies including our state schools, Montessori, independent religious based schools and multiple intelligence/environmental education centres. Devonport is a higher income area so the schools are well resourced by parents and receive a limited amount of support from the government. Local secondary schooling offers state co-education, separate girls/boys education and independent religious based options. Other independent schools are also accessed by some parents around the wider Auckland region.

Most families take part in sporting activities year round and there are plenty of opportunities for children to try different sports out. When the weather permits most Kiwi's love spending time outdoors.

My passions in life

I'm pretty passionate about learning and education. I would like to see learner's driving their learning beyond the limitations most classrooms and teachers place on them. I believe technology can provide the tools for this to happen. I believe the highest quality education should be accessible to all and not just to those who can afford to pay for it.

Another great passion is raising my son, enabling him to become everything he can dream of being and a sensitive global citizen in the making.

As I've grown older and hopefully a little wiser I have grown to appreciate the value of my cultural heritage which I am passionate about maintaining in my own way.

What's exciting about my community?

I consider myself to be very lucky to live in a country that has grown and is still growing to support cultural, ethnic and religious difference. We're nowhere near perfect in this respect and still have a long way to go but we're aware and most of us work at it.

What are the most critical needs of my community?

Children with learning disabilities like dyslexia, visual impairment or are gifted intelligent still struggle to have their needs met in our education system.

My job, projects and initiatives

I work as a learning designer predominantly in the tertiary and adult education sectors. I am currently working with the School of Health Care Practice at AUT Universityinvolved in looking after the School's IT project initiatives.

I was part of a small team creating an open source software application for teachers. It's called eXe and is a very simple, pedagogically based tool that allows teachers to create web learning resources. Being opensource it's free to download, use, and distribute. My role on the project team was to provide pedagogy and usability advice to the team of talented hackers who did the code magic behind the scenes.

Other projects include the development of virtual business resources for the Accounting & Finance Dept of the University of Auckland Business School and a range of multi-media resources for the Faculty of Medicine.

My organisation and its affiliations

The eXe development was carried out over 2 years. In it's first year the project was hosted by the University of Auckland and moved to AUT University the following year. AUT offers a wide range of professional and academic courses and is affiliated to the network of Polytechnics throughout New Zealand.

My technical (computer) skills?

I'm a pretty skilled computer user but am by no way a programmer. My eyes often glazed over when the the developers I worked with started talking in code. I'm a keen supporter of opensource softwares but am still struggling to let go of the proprietary softwares I've gained an addiction to over the years even though like most addictions we know they are not good for us in the long run.

How will this technology and the resources created impact my community?

With my aversion to code I was initially sceptical about wiki but now have a healthy respect of its power to communicate and have become reasonably skilled at wiki semantics (mostly by cutting and pasting). I can see wiki as being a very useful tool in secondary schools here initially, however I'm not sure if it's a matter of training, time, hardware availability, connectivity (cost & reliability) or philosophy, but our school's still seem very reluctant to implement this kind of technology. As a parent of a student in Cambridge studies at secondary school I find the slow rate of technological change frustrating.

Area of expertise

I suppose my area of expertise is in standing in the shoes of the learner, thinking about how I would learn a new skill or action and producing a learning resource that would achieve this. I can probably teach almost anything given the appropriate information, subject matter expert or time to play.

Sharing my skills and knowledge

I would love to be able to share my skills with my local high school so hopefully I will get the opportunity to do that. I'm keen to tap into the local secondary school network and get a conversation started about how this technology might be implemented. Having a presence on social network tools like Facebook etc., may offer this opportunity to connect with this community. I am actively involved where permitted with my sons school and attend my 5-10 minute slots at the parent teachers events where the teachers all seem frazzled and not in any state of mind to discuss the potential of technology let alone the potential of my son. Those teachers I do have regular contact with through my sons sporting activities all seem to teach practical technologies woodwork, boat building etc., and are technophobic when it comes to computers.

Things I'm proud of in my life

I'm proud of my family and I'm proud of the things I've achieved in my work to date.

Things I've yet to master in life

I'm yet to master that perfect balance between work and housework. The latter I could quite happily do without. I'm currently trying to master the gym and regular exercise to counter the fact I sit in front of the computer for hours each day.

Projects I'm involved in

Wikieducator tutorial - an online tutorial providing information, instruction and activities on how to use WikiEducator.

FLOSS4Edu Pacific Workshop - a capacity building and strategy workshop to launch a Pacific Chapter of the FLOSS4Edu initiative.

Workshop Toolkit - a toolkit of resources to assist organisers of Open Education Resource workshops with the process of settingup and running a workshop.

eXe - an offline application that enables users to produce elegant, pedagogically based web learning resources.

Social network links

My Sandbox

My Sandbox
good resource


Very nice to meet you here. WikiEducator is a very warm and comfortable community. () . If there is any way I can help you, please let me know (coloured backgrounds, margins, user pages in multiple languages). Come visit my user page. Also, just to remind you, I put up a new page on which you can practice collaborating, by using your editorial skills included in the tutorial. See: Alternative Teaching methods and add your comments, criticisms, more methods, or reflections. Just try it. Cheers, Phil. --Phil Bartle 10:44, 15 December 2009 (UTC)