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Guest Expert's Bio
Bachelor of Engineering (electrical)
Master of Education (CHIP)
Having taught for nearly thirty years in public and private schools, I am now an author, public speaker and educational consultant. I run extension units in various schools to stay in touch with the realities of the classroom - and because I love it! For ten years I was Principal of the Virtual School for the Gifted. This role has now changed to supporting schools all over the world in setting up their own virtual extension internally through EUMY Education I have published nine educational titles and an educational CD-ROM with special emphasis on material for able students. With a passion for science and mathematics, my first popular science book, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal, was published in 2004 in Australia and 2005 in the US. Science and the paranormal is also the theme of my first novel, Avenging Janie, published in 2003. My next book, Crocodile: evolution's greatest survivor, will be published in August 2006 by Allen & Unwin.
With qualifications in engineering, computing and education, I have presented at conferences in Australia, America and New Zealand on the use of technology in education, teaching mathematics and science, and on gifted education. Although a secondary teacher, I have also worked extensively with primary teachers and students in both government and private schools. I am constantly working on the Enrichment Units for the Middle Years, online and printable enrichment units for upper primary to middle secondary levels to run parallel to the regular curriculum. They are used in schools in six countries. I am now writing further non-fiction books with science and sceptical themes, as well as another novel.
As an entertainer, I enjoy talking to groups from a few people to hundreds at a time. To embellish the talks, which are usually about science but also about writing, I have trained as a magician specialising in effects which replicate claims which appear to defy known science: mind reading, bending metal psychically and predicting the future. I am now one of the few female members of The Australian Society of Magicians.
I am married with one adult daughter. Born, bred and still living around Melbourne, Australia, I live with my husband, Damian, and two dogs on eighteen acres of bush - growing fruit, vegetables and masses of pelargoniums, observing wildlife, reading, teaching, performing magic, and writing.
Avenging Janie Lothian Books, 2003
Lasers Sunshine Books 1994
* All Wizard Books publications are now published by
Magazine and newspaper articles:
Physics and Infinity
It’s a Total Internal Reflection
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a - total internal reflection
Chaos Rules the Classroom?
Managing Change in I.T.
It's virtually a school
Virtual schooling is online now
I.T. and Gifted Students
I.T. and Gifted Students
Mirror Gazing: From Critical Reflection Toward Evaluation
How to build a cyberschool that has soul
How a native goddess stole my heart
Just Killing Time? (co-author)
Four chapters: In Coping for Capable Kids ed.Cohen and
A Teacher's Perspective: In Geniuses, Prodigies and
Savants: extraordinary people - what makes them tick?
Mathematics online units
I have presented at many conferences in Australia in areas of Information Technology, Gifted Education, Physics and Management. Also in America and New Zealand on use of laptop technology in schools and Management of Change. Prior to 1997, many presentations were on HSC and VCE Physics and Information Technology (two subjects: Information Processing & Management and Information Systems) as I served on the state committees for those subjects. Presentations since 1997 are:
Summit '97, Atlanta, USA, 5 presentations: Management
of Notebook Programs 1997
Radio interviews, 2004 and later:
The Skeptic's Guide: over 30 radio interviews were done as a result of the publication of The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal. These covered all states of Australia and New Zealand. They varied from ten minute interviews, to fifty minutes of interview plus talk back, to participating in The Conversation Hour with John Faine, 774 Melbourne.
Press interviews, 2004:
Press interviews were done for The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal . It was reviewed in all states of Australia as well as a number of online sites, magazines and journals. The reviews were great - a very pleasing outcome given the controversial nature of the book.
I do a weekly radio segment with Kathy Bedford, ABC Statewide Drive. Visit the 'regulars' page here. I also do other radio and podcast interviews on a range of topics, usually skeptical or educational.
International Baccalaureate workshop,Tintern Girls’
Grammar, Melbourne Ethics, morals and religion: an atheist’s
I am doing a host of things: contract work in writing, education, public speaking and teaching extension classes, particularly in science and mathematical areas – with some magic thrown in. I am working with GATEways, Melbourne delivering extension units - this keeps me in touch with real students in real classrooms.
Principal, Virtual School for the Gifted.
The Virtual School for the Gifted was a totally virtual school with no physical location. For ten years, it offered courses to students all over the world. As a result, schools started to purchase VSG material, in particular being Mathematical, to run internally. As this direction became more pronounced, the focus now changed to working with school to develop their own internal online enrichment programs through EUMY Education.
Co-ordinator, Gifted and Talented Program, MLC, Melbourne
Whenever a student needed enrichment (ahead in class, pre-testing showed mastery, needs motivation and more challenge, or whatever) the teacher can refer them to the Compass Program at any time. It existed in both physical and virtual locations. Parents and students themselves also referred students directly to Compass staff. The centre served the school from young primary students through to year 12. I resigned from this position in 2004 to concentrate on writing.
Head of Information Technology, Melbourne Grammar School (FT)
This 3 year appointment involved introducing the laptop scheme of over 1200 laptop computers in 12 months, networking the three campuses with a wide area network, and working with all staff, both academic and administrative, on the introduction and application of computer technology. An exciting and demanding position, I worked with all aspects of the school giving me a unique insight into the overall working of a complex school.
Head of Computing, Ballarat Grammar School (FT)
Employed by Ballarat Grammar for ten years, I was responsible for heading the Physics Department and the establishment of Information Technology as both a teaching and service department.
I lead the establishment of an enrichment program in four main facets: extension within existing curriculum, specialist enrichment classes (Ad Astra), a year 8, 9 and 10 elective (Challenge Studies) and a support / social / intellectually stimulating group, Think Inc, meeting at lunchtimes and after school.
Prior to my appointment at Ballarat Grammar I had 5 years teaching in the State system. Subjects taught were primarily Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics and Junior Science
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