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EdTech Fast 5 - Dr Rich Allen on Reaching Every Student

September 10, 2018

Dr Rich Allen is an author, educator, and master trainer with more than 30 years’ experience working with teachers. Founder and president of Green Light Education, he’s also a popular keynote speaker at international education conferences. When he’s not dividing his time between Sydney and the sun-kissed paradise of St Croix, Dr Allen works with schools to embed effective teaching methods into mainstream curriculum.

1. What’s the most overrated topic in education right now?

The focus that every student needs to go to university. I believe young people with vocational interests should be able to pursue practical skills from a much younger age. There are so many ways to succeed and be happy in the world—we’re putting too much pressure on high school students to get an ATAR.

2. Does technology motivate creativity?

Yes, because it can connect us with people from different cultures, broadening our perspective and introducing us to different ways of thinking.

No, because it’s an astonishing time waster and distraction.

3. What app can’t you live without?

Qantas and American Airlines. I spend my life travelling the world!

4. What events from your own experience as a learner have informed your approach to your work in education?

When I learnt the mnemonic peg system as an adult, I couldn’t believe no one had taught me this before. I used the pegs to get 100% on my doctoral exams. It made me realise that there are much better ways to teach than traditional “chalk and talk”. I’ve spent the rest of my career helping teachers to find new ways to reach every student.

5. Which actor would play you in the movie about your life?

George Clooney.

This is a family joke. To my wife’s great amusement, I was once mistaken for George Clooney while teaching in Thailand. I guess all tall Americans look the same…