This series of blog posts is about getting to know the Firefly team a bit better. In this Australian special we introduce Scott Johnson - Head of Operations in Australia. Scott previously held the position of Director of ICT at the Australian International School in Singapore. We are really excited to have Scott working from our Sydney office and equally delighted to be offering Firefly to schools across Australia.
Name: Scott Johnson
Teams: Head of Operations - Australia
Where did you go to school?
I started school in Hampshire, England. My first memories were of MAB blocks, wet lunchtimes spent indoors, ladybird books and school dinners. Very English. I moved to Western Australia in 1975 where I attended Willeton Primary school and then St Norbert's College. I graduated High School in 1984 and studied to be a Primary Teacher at Curtin University. Teaching was something I loved and was very motivated to do.
What is your first memory of using technology in a school environment?
In 1988, my first year of teaching, my year four classroom was given a BBC computer. It had very limited use, no training or software. The next year I experimented using a BBC for recording my Daily Work Pad but with few editing tools it was rather rudimentary. In 1990 I went back to University and learned to use WordStar. Three floppy disks with the third being a spell checker. My real break came in 1991 with an Apple in the class and a dot matrix printer. I realised that instead of hand-writing and spirit-duplicating my cloze activities and rewriting them every year, I could save to a floppy disk and re-use them. Amazing. I was hooked and before long had purchased a 386 PC ready for learning how to use WinWord 3.0. No more Spirit Duplicators for me.
How do you use technology in your day-to-day life?
"My name is Scott and I am a Gamer..." is perhaps how I should begin here. Games motivated me to learn computing. The more you learn the more you want to learn. I now have a massively overpowered and overclocked gaming PC with a triple 23" screen setup that is also my home server. The 'Call of Duty' series is my favourite. I used to run after school activities for anyone interested, pulling apart and rebuilding PCs, networking them together and playing Blackhawk Down. Highly motivational - the kids loved learning about networking as well as how to build their own 3D maps. At the end of the session, we'd play each of their maps and vote on which to play next week.
I am a large consumer of tech for both entertainment and personal learning. If something motivates me, time is not an issue. I will (occasionally) get so engrossed I log off at 2am, adding the finishing touches on a virtual server on my home PC to trial new technologies. This is what enthused me as an ICT Director; setting up school database systems for school admins, learning management systems for teachers and students, classified Advert sites for the school parent community, Wordpress servers for the English Department.
Where do you see technology in five years?
Technology can be something as simple as a pencil and paper. At one point these would have been rather remarkable and new. Now we take them for granted. This is what I want to see; technology being as commonplace in schools as it is in the children's homes. We are also decentralising the infrastructure and devices. As ICT Director I used to copy the large 10 000 line log files from our firewall and use them in my 'internet safety' talks with Secondary and Primary students. It showed every username, their IP address and every website they went to. Now, if you walk past a group of lockers, you see a proliferation of wifi hotspots popping up everywhere from student phones. Communication online is becoming a personal thing. In fact, proliferation of devices gives us differentiation of communication and entertainment (we all get to do what we want when we want). This will creep into learning more and more, as 'just-in-time learning motivates us to learn on demand. Learning will become self-directed.