Educational Renaissance 2.0 – How the core principles of outdoor education are vital to the modernisation and success of mainstream education for generations to come.

Mr David Gregory1


As our world faces massive technological and social changes, education has reached a pivotal juncture. Our current education system remains shackled by the ‘satanic mills’ of our distant industrial past. Just as the Industrial Revolution influenced a massive shift in education, we’re now at a point in which another dimensional shift is taking place. Our schools can either embrace it, or be scattered to the wind by it.

The Industrial Revolution style of chalk, talk and exhaustive content has lost its impact in a world full of devices that can answer any question instantly. With our world changing rapidly from one year to the next, jobs coming and going more quickly than ever before, we need to facilitate innovative and effective ways in which students develop an adaptable skill set that’s needed to not only survive, but thrive in this new world.

Through examining and effectively applying the educational philosophies of Dewey & Hahn, we can plot a positive way forward and modernise our antiquated education system. Consequently, outdoor education has a vitally important role to play as one of the primary drivers in the modernisation of mainstream education.

Throughout the presentation, I’ll explore the connection between outdoor education, effective integration techniques and the importance these play in the STEM focussed world of school education. I will demonstrate how it can be applied to reshape education, ensuring our students develop the core skills they need, to be adaptable and resilient in the ever-changing, tech-focussed world in which we now live.


David Gregory has been an outdoor educator for over 16 years and has worked throughout Australia and internationally as an instructor, teacher and program director. David has developed and run residential outdoor programs for secondary schools and consulted on operational and risk management practices. David’s work has been strongly influenced by the need to provide great educational opportunities for students to develop and grow personally and academically through experiential education.

From a 5th grader’s first overnight camp to immersive 6 month long residential programs, David’s worked with a diverse range of students at Scots College (Glengarry), Kinross Wolaroi, Xavier College (Kew), Snowy Mountains Grammar, SCECGS Redlands and Trinity Grammar School (Sydney). The core philosophy behind his continued work is how positive social and emotional development needs to be effectively integrated as part of an overall education program to improve student engagement and well-being.

Author and keen educational blogger, David’s published two books, one on bullying in schools and one on outdoor education and writes weekly on all sorts of experiential education topics.

David’s personal interests include hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, snow skiing, tennis and reading.

Exploring the Future… Visible Learning in Outdoor Education

Mrs Anne Goodman1

Batchelor Outdoor Education Camp, Batchelor Area School

How can Visible Learning (VL) enrich the experiences of your customers?

Visible learning is a John Hattie research based approach to improving student outcomes in classrooms throughout the world. Originating in New Zealand, his research and philosophies are renowned for the extensive student research with over 3 million students influencing his findings. From the 100 most influential ways students learn to setting learning outcomes and predetermining success criteria through to a positive growth mindset and positive learning traits for assessing success. This is a very powerful tool integrated within Outdoor Education programs.

The student impact is extreme,
Improved personal achievement,
Goal setting linked directly to success criteria for greater impact on practice
Analysis of performance and improved understanding of technique
Collaborative learning, self and peer assessment
Deep reflective opportunities to grow a strong mindset
Target and understand learning traits to improve ownership of training and effort
Empowered self-belief
These are all achievable within Outdoor Education programs with a VL approach.

The upskill to the staff is also significant.
In Hattie’s words: “200 questions are asked every day by teachers, 95% of the time the teacher knows the student will know the answer to the question. Where is the challenge? Where is the stimulation?” Staff reflection and continual improvement is also paramount to student engagement and performance. The Department of Education in the Northern Territory has mandated the Visible Learning Approach and the benefits have been overwhelming. How has it been integrated into the Education’s Department’s own Outdoor Ed Camp? See for yourself.


Anne is a passionate educator in the area of HPE, majoring in Outdoor Education at University and has had a number of articles published in the ACHPER National Active and Healthy Journal. The most recent of which, in April 2017, relating to John Hattie’s Visible Learning approach and the success she had with an NT School Sport Athletics team in the lead up to the Australian Athletics Championships. She has since developed a way to integrate Visible Learning into Outdoor Education from her experience at Batchelor Outdoor Education Camp in the Northern Territory. Anne is also one of only two Physical Education teachers invited by ACARA to work on the Annotation and Moderation of HPE Work Samples in 2016. She is highly respected for her unique and innovative programming.

Rewilding the art of storytelling to create authentic learning environments

Mr Leon Cossar1

1Gregory Terrace Outdoor Education Centre

The presentation explores the following question:

What is the ancestry and purpose of storytelling and how can we share story in powerful ways to create connection to the past and hope for the future.

It is built on premise that when we own our story we become the author of our life’s narrative…

The presentation will traverse the landscapes of:

  1. Why we are hard wired to share story.
  2. The impacts of social media as storytelling platforms.
  3. How our own story’s shape our lives.
  4. How to share story both personally and metaphorically.
  5. How to create safe space for the sharing of story.
  6. The power of ancient story telling practices in a modern society.

The presentation will use evidence from Rites of Passage programmes and immersions showing the power of story telling to convey deep meaning while evoking insight, curiosity and inspiration.  Furthermore it will display the potency of story telling to create long lasting transfer of learning.

The presentation will be interactive whereby participants will get a chance to share some of their own story and refine the art of sharing story in order to create an environment that is both compelling and educational in their own personal work.


Leon Cossar is an outdoor educator, explorer and storyteller.  He works passionately with young men as a facilitator for Rites of Passage programmes where storytelling is the central component of the transformational process.  He is based in the World Heritage Scenic Rim where he works for the Gregory Terrace outdoor education centre running outdoor education programmes.  His down to earth approach to teaching and storytelling is both entertaining and educational.

WILDERNESS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MANUAL: Coordinated Emergency Management Techniques for Leaders & Managers

Mr Nathan Burns1

1Survive First Aid

This session investigates the logistical considerations and higher level decision making requirements of management-level outdoor professionals in unfolding emergencies. Areas of discussion include: management of mass-casualty incidents, inter-agency co-ordination, organisational review, designating team roles, “blind”scene management, communications and use of technology in austere environments.

Teaching Fundamental Navigation Concepts using an Augmented Landscape

Mr Lucas Bester1, Mr Brendon Munge2

1La Trobe University, University of the Sunshine Coast

This interactive session provides participants with a hands-on opportunity to gain an insight into the approaches of teaching and learning landscape-based navigation utilising an Augmented Interactive Mapping Sandbox (AIMS).

In 2016 we received a Digital Learning grant to build two AIM Sandboxes for use in the Outdoor & Environmental Education degrees at La Trobe University. The AIM Sandboxes were specifically built to assist teaching and learning the concepts and practice of landscape navigation.

One of the more difficult cognitive tasks with learning navigation is to interpret two-dimensional representations of topographical relief and transfer this understanding to real-world landscapes and vice-versa. This technology allows an immensely rich representation of concepts that enhance and contribute to student expertise and capacity. Students show a greater understanding of key concepts as well as considerable cognitive gain, which also contributes to enhanced student learning and work-ready graduate outcomes.

Participants will have the opportunity to trial the AIM Sandboxes and gauge their own understanding of how the instantaneous representation of contour features in a three-dimensional landscape may assist their own work enabling students to understand landform features and the critical principles of navigation – and as an aside it is a lot of fun to play in the sandbox!


Lucas Bester is a Lecturer in Outdoor and Environmental Education at La Trobe University, Australia. His teaching and research focus on ways that shape sustainable and ecological forms of education, with particular reference to place, time and relational pedagogies.

Brendon Munge is an Associate Lecturer in Outdoor and Environmental Studies in the School of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. His teaching focuses on providing the foundational practical and theoretical experiences for new outdoor educators as they prepare to work in the profession. He is a current PhD candidate with a focus on fieldwork in higher education.

Implementing Indigenous Education into Outdoor Education. An open conversation with an Indigenous Outdoor Educator.

Mr Shawn Andrews1

1Indigicate Pty Ltd

Indigenous Australian connection based education might possibly be the oldest form of Outdoor Education in the world. During this presentation, Shawn will take you on a journey of why he started the outdoor education and Indigenous curriculum company Indigicate. It’s purpose, overall aim and the results that the business has achieved since opening in 2015. The presentation will include Shawn’s views on how Indigenous Education, practice and knowledge systems can be used in schools and outdoor education programs. There will be significant time allocated for questions.


Shawn Andrews is a descendant of the unceded Mununjali people of South East Queensland and the Palawa people of Tasmania. Shawn is highly respected Indigenous educator, renowned public speaker and keynote presenter, a thought leader, and passionate advocate for equality. Shawn’s life and career has been shaped by his commitment to educate Australians with the truth about Australian history and the desire to demonstrate that Indigenous Australian culture is sophisticated, strong and beautiful.

Shawn’s passion for change, knowledge of Indigenous Pedagogies and love of the outdoors, lead to him creating the Indigenous outdoor education company, Indigicate. Indigicate aims to create authentic grassroots change in Australia by flipping the focus from ‘fixing’ Indigenous people to focusing on changing non-Indigenous people through programs that teach about our shared history and culture.  Indigicate’s approach to educating school students and adults, both in and outdoors, for single or multi day programs has seen Indigicate grow to one of Australia’s leading providers of Indigenous Education with over 35,000 participants taught since the start of 2015. In addition to Indigicate, Shawn has held several positions on boards and steering committees and has facilitated motivational speaker roles in Australia and overseas.

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