Derek Wenmoth is regarded as one of New Zealand education’s foremost future-focused thinkers, and works extensively with schools and systems in New Zealand and elsewhere as they seek to prepare students for their future. He also consults with policymakers and government agencies regarding the future directions of NZ’s educational policy and practice.
Derek is currently running FutureMakers, an educational consultancy focused on making our education system more future-focused by inspiring the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and problem-solvers. I was fortunate to spend time with Derek at the 2019 Aurora Institute in Palm Springs, CA, and take this selfie.
Throughout Derek’s career as a teacher, principal, teacher educator, and education policy advisor, Derek Wenmoth has followed his passion for creating future-focused education systems, and innovative teaching and learning approaches that place the learner at the center. Derek has particular skills in strategic planning and policy design, with an emphasis on future-focused education, flexible learning, and the role of digital technologies.
Derek’s background in distance learning
Derek’s special interest in distance education began when he was teaching in rural parts of New Zealand and undertook distance studies through Massey University. He later embarked on a Master’s degree in distance education through Deakin University while lecturing in Educational Technology at the Christchurch College of Education. While working there, Derek established NZ’s first distance pre-service teacher education program. In recognition of this work, he was awarded the Ian Stewart Memorial Award for innovation and leadership in distance education.
In the 1990s, Derek helped establish NZ’s first virtual schooling program in Canterbury and has continued with that interest, working with other clusters that have developed around NZ since then. Derek developed GlobalNet2000, an online project aimed at increasing the global awareness and participation of young learners in New Zealand, with links to others across the world. In recognition of this work, he was awarded the Peter Brice award from the Pacific Circle Consortium, for achievements fostering inter-cultural understanding.
In 2001 he led a team at the NZ Correspondence School (Te Kura) in pioneering approaches to online learning and also conceived of and led the creation of the Virtual Learning Network, an online course brokerage service for schools in New Zealand that has since become a key part of the Ministry of Education’s eLearning strategy. In recognition of his work as an innovator and educational change-maker, Derek was designated one of 2008’s “Global Six” by the George Lucas Educational Foundation which recognizes individuals making a difference in education. He has been a long-time service executive member of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ) and in 2018 was given life membership of that organization in recognition of his contribution to the field.
Co-Founder of Core Education
In 2003, Derek co-founded CORE Education, a not-for-profit education research and development organization based in Christchurch, New Zealand. CORE helps you transform education with effective products and services that stimulate and enable modern learning. Tātai Aho Rau [our way] lies at the heart of CORE’s practice. The words relate to the weaving, layering, and binding of harakeke to create strength.
This organization has grown to over 200 staff across New Zealand, providing strategic advice and professional development in early years settings, schools, and tertiary organizations. He continues to work part-time as a principal consultant for CORE, providing special project advice and support. Check out the Ten Trends for 2020 by clicking on the image below:
Derek has worked as a consultant to the Commonwealth of Learning, and as a member of the NZ communications sub-commission for UNESCO. He is a regular speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally and maintains a blog on matters relating to e-learning, the future of education, and other aspects of interest to educators; http://www.wenmoth.net
FutureMakers was established to encourage educators, educational organizations, and communities to become more future-focused.
He purapura i ruia mai i Rangiātea e kore e ngaro.
It’s fine to have recollections of the past, but wisdom comes
from being able to prepare opportunities for the future.
We need to embrace the understanding that the complex issues confronting our world will likely be solved not by us, but by those we are educating, and to prepare them for this will require a transformation of our current practices, policies, and the ideologies that drive these.
The work of FutureMakers begins with three key questions:
- What can we learn from the past that will help us understand how we have come to where we are?
- What might life and learning be like in the future?
- What do we need to be doing now in our schools and communities to prepare for the future?
Derek’s contact information:
Don’t miss the ULearn20 Conference
October 7-8, 2020 (NZ) October 6-7 (U.S.)
This year the ULearn20 Conference is virtual, open to everyone in the educational community. ULearn is an amazing conference you will not want to miss.
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