University Researchers

Cropped_ES_banner_solo_v1_2022Erica Southgate (PhD) is Associate Professor of Emerging Technologies for Education at the University of Newcastle (Australia). She is Lead researcher on the VR School Study. Erica interested in equity and education and has developed serious computer games for literacy. Erica is the lead author of the Australian government commissioned Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies in Schools Report (2019). She is using emerging technologies for fun and learning and is committed to co-researching with teachers and students. Erica’s latest book is Virtual Reality in Curriculum and Pedagogy: Evidence from Secondary Classrooms (Routledge, 2020) She loves flying and jumping off clouds in VR. To find out more about Erica click here

Dara photo_2020-12-07_10-25-18 (002)Dara Tafazoli (PhD) is Research Officer on the VR School Study. He is currently working on developing and implementing the CALL literacy framework for language teachers. Dara received his PhD in Languages and Cultures from the University of Cordoba, Spain, in 2019. He has received many awards, grants, and scholarships. Recently he was awarded the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2021 Research Priorities Initiative grants for a project titled “Key Enablers and Barriers to Integrating Technology into Iranian Language Teaching Profession”. His research interests are Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), CALL teacher education and professional development. To find out more about Dara click here

2021 – Present

The Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA)

Monica Williams (retired 2022) was a Senior Educational Consultant at the Association of Independent Schools of SA (AISSA). She is excited and curious about how emerging technologies transform the roles of teacher and learner. Monica collaborated with AISSA schools and university researchers on a four-year AISSA project investigating the impact of humanoid robots on student learning and teacher pedagogy. She is currently working with teachers to explore AI in the classroom and virtual reality. Emerging technologies create new ways of doing things and it important and intriguing to investigate what this means for teachers’ work. The AISSA-funded VR project with SEDA College, Trinity College and Pembroke School is a unique opportunity for a sector to partner with an academic, the IT company VRTY, and teachers to explore how VR can foster student creativity and agency and what difference it makes to learning.

SEDA College (South Australia)


Ashley Jenner is the Director of Learning Innovation at SEDA College SA. With a background in physical education, he is passionate about promoting lifelong physical activity and sharing his own love of sport. Through his involvement in this project, he seeks to facilitate new ways of engaging, educating, and empowering students, as well as supporting students to create a future for themselves in the sporting industry. Ashley sees virtual reality as a way to develop and assess students’ decision making and tactical understanding across a range of sporting contexts.

Lachie HennigLachlan Hennig is a teacher at SEDA College. He has a love for sport and brings an enthusiastic approach into his teaching with a focus on inclusivity. He seeks to use contemporary teaching practices, like virtual reality technology, as a vehicle to allow all students to connect knowledge with experience. Lachlan sees virtual reality having a profound impact on the sporting industry in the future, and is excited about the opportunities his students gain from this innovative approach to education.

Trinity College (South Australia)

Steve_Grant_2020Steve Grant was the Director of Innovation and Creativity at Trinity College. His role was to advance and support the implementation of innovative and creative pedagogy and learning design through the Trinity Innovation and Creativity School. He is interested in exploring the role that a technologically enhanced learning environment has in accelerating student learning. Always quick in taking up a new tech, Steve is skilled in unravelling for teachers how tech toys can be transformed from a means of engagement into sustained, meaningful, genuine learning tools. Constantly curious and a keen observer of human-technology interaction, Steve is fascinated to realise the potential of VR in transforming student perspectives of themselves, each other and the world. 

Jess SimonsJessica Simons is the Assistant Head of Mathematics at Trinity College. With a keen interest in interdisciplinary learning and digital technologies, Jess has explored innovative pedagogy and developed curriculum to enhance student engagement and 21st century learning outcomes. In this role she lead a team of staff in implementing an interdisciplinary curriculum which encompassed several faculties to emphasise a holistic approach to education. Jess is interested in how students can utilise VR technologies to present new ideas and narrate their learning journey in original and creative ways.

Andrew Norwood (team member 2021-mid 2022) is Director of Teaching and Learning at Trinity College and Head of the Digital Technologies Faculty. This role enables him to explore how technology can be used as an integral and critical component of an effective learning environment. Andrew is particularly interested in how technology can be used to accelerate learning and leveraging technologies that offer the most sophisticated pedagogical potential. Opportunities to use virtual reality and drone technology to enhance the Geography and Science curriculum are among Andrew’s current areas of focus.

Pembroke School (South Australia)

Ella portrait (002)Ella Camporeale was Assistant Head of Design and Technology at Pembroke School. She is currently the Curriculum Leader for Art, Design and Digital Technologies at Westminster School Adelaide. With a background in Architecture, she is passionate about visualisation, advanced technologies, and sustainable design. Ella is currently integrating VR into the classroom through the Middle and Senior Digital and Design and Technology curriculums and is excited for students to have the opportunity to become creators of dynamic, immersive learning experiences.  

macHoward ‘Mac’ MacPherson (retired 2023) is the former Head of Middle School at Pembroke School is now Head of Enterprise. This role is focused on developing partnerships, residencies and projects with emerging or expert creatives from universities and business that are aligned with curriculum initiatives being developed by staff for our students.


Southern Montessori School (South Australia)

Maddock, ToniToni Maddock is a science teacher and Inclusive Education Coordinator at Southern Montessori Middle School. She is passionate about the use of digital technologies to promote student agency and quality differentiation. The Middle School teachers work as a collaborative team following a student centered approach that combines rigorous academic studies with purposeful work within an interdisciplinary framework. Toni sees virtual reality as a way for students to create content that develops and demonstrates deep learning and at the same time engages students in exploring complex, real world problems and critical thinking.

McInerney, HeatherHeather McInerney is the Principal of Southern Montessori School. She is committed to fostering a lifelong love of learning, a culture of high expectations, continuous improvement, growth and innovation among staff and students. Heather is excited to participate in this new VR research project which aims to empower students as active creators of digital content.

VRTY (Industry Partner)

KingstonKingston Lee-Young is the CEO and Co-founder of VRTY, a no-code 360 virtual reality content creation and sharing SAAS platform focused on the education industry. He is an experienced entrepreneur, tech start-up co-founder, and director of multiple businesses. Kingston has worked with Fortune 100 global companies, tech unicorns, government departments, and consulted to private equity across a range of different industries. His experience extends across multiple countries in the Asia Pacific, ANZ and the South Pacific regions. He loves to solve digital problems, create strategies, build digital products, and speak to audiences about today’s technology-enabled world. Kingston is passionate about helping to change the way we educate and is focused on how 360 virtual reality technology can help achieve this in the classroom. 

2019 – 2021

Athelstone School (South Australia)

Gyllian Godfrey is the principal of Athelstone School. Her first 17 years in schools consisted of teaching Spanish in a range of contexts R-12 and across the public and Catholic education sectors as well as some forays with ICT and digital technologies classes. This particular skill set has been put to good use in the Innovative Languages Project Grant, putting languages at the forefront of driving technological and pedagogical change.

Angelica Cardone has a Bachelor of Teaching and has been in the teaching profession for over 25 years. She is currently teaching Italian at Athelstone School from Reception to Year 7. Angelica is of Italian heritage and has always had a passion and an interest in the Italian language and culture.  With her colleagues from Athelstone School, she is incorporating VR into language classrooms to determine whether this enables students to retain language acquisition.

Joanne Romeo is an Italian teacher at Athelstone School who has been teaching for approximately 15 years in a variety of schools and in different roles. For the past 3 years she has been team teaching in the Italian role with her colleague Angelica Cardone. She is interested to see if the opportunities created through these VR experiences increase students learning, engagement and language retention.

2016 – 2019

Callaghan College (New South Wales)

Shane Saxby is a Science Teacher at Callaghan College Waratah Technology Campus. Shane is interested in technologies that can be used in the classroom that are immersive and collaborative, allowing students to take their learning to interesting and unexpected places.

Jivvel Kilham is a Science Teacher at Callaghan College Wallsend Campus who has a passion for STEM initiatives across the school and college. Jivvel is interested in providing educational pathways for students that involve teaching “outside of the box”. He gets very, very queasy using the VR equipment.

Amy Worth is The Callaghan College Coordinator who has led numerous STEM initiatives across the college. With a passion for future learning pedagogies and an inquisitive mind she is continually looking toward what’s new for students and developing quality professional learning opportunities for staff. Amy developed Callaghan College 21CL Professional Learning Framework.

David Summerville is Head Teacher Technology at Callaghan College Wallsend Campus. David is into anything geeky and loves innovating in the education environment; if there is a pilot going he will always put his hand up! His other passion is the WorldSkills movement where he pioneered the Web Design competition in South Korea in 2001 as the Australian Expert. His current role is Skill Advisor for WorldSkills International mentoring Experts worldwide.

Chris Cividino is a Future Learning Coordinator and HSIE Teacher at Callaghan College Wallsend Campus.  He is interested in technology that can virtually transport people, concepts and ideas globally in immersive VR. Spending the first 23 years of his indoors during cold Canadian winters, Chris developed a passion for technology and gaming.

Graham Eather was College Principal at Callaghan College for four years (retired 2018), and prior to that was principal at Hunter River High School for six years. Graham has focused on distributed transformative leadership that creates high impact innovative opportunities for students.

2018 – 2019

Dungog High School (New South Wales)

Louise Rowley is the Creative Arts Head Teacher at Dungog High School. Louise has spent her career teaching in country schools and helping rural students access to the best of opportunities has always been one of her core motivators. Louise loves the experience of learning alongside her students and the VR project was a lot of fun. It helped her students become collaborative designers and communicators.

Gillian Manning is an enthusiastic advocate for STEAM learning and leveraging technologies to provide engaging and immersive learning experiences.  In her role as eLearning Coordinator based at Dungog High School, Gillian is always looking for ways to support K-12 teachers across the Dungog District Community of Schools to introduce new and emerging technologies into their classrooms. 

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