Home // EOTC Conference 2020 // Day 1 Keynotes and Presenters


Day 1 Keynotes and Presenters

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Let Them Play – Celia Hogan            


C Hogan presenter sqIn early childhood education, play is a key pedagogical tool that helps stimulate virtually every aspect of a child’s development. Through primary and into secondary education play is gradually eliminated as learning becomes more standards-driven. This presentation argues for educators to bring play back into our teaching so that young people can learn to collaborate, manage risks, grow their self-confidence and improve mental health and well-being. The role of the educator is critical to allowing play to happen in healthy and authentic ways and includes what you need to do and just as importantly, what not to do.      


Celia is passionate about getting children outdoors and into Nature. She is a strong advocate for nature play, risky play, building resilience, and improving mental health and well-being through nature. Celia originally studied outdoor recreation and adult education and with 20+ years experience in outdoor education and teaching, she now runs professional development training for teachers on all things nature. 



Adventurous Learning: Helping young people to deal with uncertainty - Dr Mike Brown


Mike B sq2In contemporary times there is often a desire to find solace in what we know has worked for us in the past. When presented with several courses of action the ‘precautionary principle’ would suggest that we should select the one with the most predictable outcome, rather than the one where there is greater uncertainty.

The events of 2020 have revealed that we need to learn to do more than just ‘live’ with uncertainty – we need to help young people to embrace uncertainty if they are to thrive. Drawing on research and some examples from the field this presentation looks at how uncertainty, and the other three components of adventurous learning, can be incorporated into quality outdoor (and indoor) learning experiences.


Mike Brown is Associate Professor of Outdoor Learning at AUT. He has recently returned to a teaching and research role after managing the country’s largest maritime PTE. He is the co-author of A Pedagogy of Place (2011) and Adventurous Learning (2016). He is actively involved in a range of outdoor organisations from hands-on fieldwork through to governance roles.



The Outdoor Classroom - Mark Jones


Mark Jones WEB PHOTO 002I am presenting on the concept of an outdoor classroom. Staff and students met this time last year to build an outdoor learning covered space and fire hearth, essentially with no budget, and produced something which has become a hub of outdoor learning for our students. In the building of our Te Whare Ako Taiao it became more than just space for learning but a place for memory making which has become an evolving collaboration between students and staff, and a project I hope is never finished.


Mark is a senior lecturer and the Outdoor Education major Coordinator at Auckland University of Technology. Mark believes strongly in the importance of engaging with outdoor natural environments as part of healthy human development. He regards nature as a potent teacher. These views are not simply espoused, but lived in his own life. Engaging with nature in various challenging fashions is one way that he informs his teaching and furthers his own learning and development. The outdoors is a central pillar in Mark’s life and has shaped his worldview and research directions. He is also a parent and enjoys introducing his children and his students to new ways of engaging with the outdoors.


Whats' in a Name - Matt Matahaere

Matt MatahaereTino Rakatirataka: place, name and context. The importance of names and their relationship to the whenua.


Matt (Kāi Tahu) is passionate about people, which is why his entire career has focussed on creating healthy futures for people and families. He currently works in the Office of Maori Development at the University of Otago as a Projects Manager. Matt is also involved in writing the Maori Strategic Framework 2014-2020 and working on Iwi and Hapu relationships with the University of Otago.


Conservation, nature, environment and COVID rethink - George Hobson

GeorgeGeorge will speak about the importance of youth voice in conservation projects, why experiencing the environment as a young person is so important and how he believes nature could be further integrated into our education system. He will also talk about why the COVID-19 recovery provides Aotearoa a chance to rethink the way we connect with and restore nature.  


George is a passionate 16-year-old advocate for the environment. He has been involved in dozens of on-the-ground conservation projects over the last four years, from reptile monitoring on Mana Island, to Black Petrel research on Great Barrier Island and Shore Plover banding on Motutapu Island. He is the Campaigns Coordinator of Forest & Bird Youth, where he works to lobby Ministers and MPs to prioritise nature, and empower young people from across New Zealand to make environmental change.

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