Our featured educator for this month’s Q&A is making waves in social media. Craig Kemp is an ed-chat rockstar in Twitter. This New Zealand born educator now lives in Singapore and leads in the use of ICT in education in the school where he is now based. As a Google Certified Teacher (GTASEA2014) and a recipient of the New Zealand Leadership Institution Young Leaders Programme, Craig considers himself as a 21st century change agent in the education arena.

Craig Kemp is the founder and moderator of the trending Twitter ed-chat series #whatisschool (of which I am a self-proclaimed fan). This ed-chat brings global educators weekly with various topics. #whatisschool aims to “give educators a space to express an unbiased response to questions about schooling, where educators have a voice in shaping the future through their experiences, recommendations and interests.” For his efforts for education in the Twittersphere, Craig won two awards in the 2014 EduBlog Awards, namely, Best Twitter Hashtag or Chat and Best Individual Twitter. You can join the #whatisschool ed-chat series every Thursday 7pm EDT (Friday 9am AEST).

Craig, who calls himself a kiwi in Singapore, maintains a blog and you can follow him on Twitter (@mrkempnz).


School: Avondale Grammar School
Current Position: Head of ICT and Learning Innovation
Country: Singapore
One word that describes your teaching style: Inspiring

What mobile devices and computers are you currently using?
I use apple devices personally but at my school we are Microsoft supported and driven. We are 1:1 in Year 5-8, utilising Dell Latitude tablets. In Year 3-4 we are 1:2 with Dell laptops. In Year 1-2 we are 1:3, to ensure group collaboration and in Foundation and Preschool we utilise iPads as our device of choice.

Are there any apps for education you can’t stop talking about lately?
Love the use of Mathletics and Reading Eggs in the classroom as well as Tynker, which we use as our whole school coding programme of choice. We supplement this whole school paid subscription with the use of Scratch, Scratch Jr and Code.org (amongst others). We have an excellent coding aspect to our curriculum.Here is a list of my favourite 15 apps for educators (as of December 2014).

If you can tweak or add a function to Twitter, what would it be?
Instead video calling / hangout feature – sometimes the DM just isn’t enough, you want to follow up that idea with an immediate Face 2 Face interaction.

What is the best time for you to write and generate ideas?
Evenings, after my daughter goes to bed and my mind is at ease after a long day at work. My mind hits creation station and I often hit the ground running!

What are the similarities and differences between living in Singapore and New Zealand?
Outside of education it is SPACE. So much vast open green spaces in New Zealand and in Singapore there is a big city feel. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it here, but I do miss the old ‘kiwi backyard’.

How do you manage your to-do lists?
The truth is, that I don’t. I am very good at getting the important things done and meeting deadlines but the other things that I have on my to-do list often get pushed back as I take on too much. I make a list and I try to achieve 2 things every day, no matter how big or small. One at a time is my philosophy.

Photo credits: Google Educator Group Philippines

Photo credits: Google Educator Group Philippines

What’s the best advice on teaching that you received?
Be yourself and teach with passion

What do you learn from your students?
EVERYTHING! The best thing I learn from the students is how to listen and how to care.

The Edchat #whatisschool is an amazing opportunity for teachers to connect with the rest of the teachers in the world through Twitter. What inspired you to start #whatisschool?
My connections and PLN on Twitter. I met Laura Hill, an amazing author in USA, and we instantly hit it off. We both wanted the same things and we both wanted a space where educators could share their open and honest thoughts about what education is. From there #whatisschool was born and it is bigger and better than we could ever have imagined with over 200 educators meeting every week.
What do you think school be like in the year 2020?
The classroom of 2020 will be a virtual reality driven world – the important characteristics not on technology but on social interaction and collaboration skills. I believe that we will be driven by wearable technology and the interactions of students, staff and parents will be as important as ever. Check out my recent blog posts where I answer this exact question (one of which was published for Huffington Post): The Current and Future Trends in Educational Technology and Looking Ahead to the Classroom of 2025.

Fostering Flight is about how teachers can guide their students in following their dreams. As an educator, how do you prepare your students for the future?
Listening to them, thinking ahead and teaching them the skills of being a good person in a globally connected world. I give my students opportunities to connect, collaborate and own their learning.

Give an educator’s name: I would like to see Mark Weston (@shiftparadigm) and Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) answer these same questions.