Derek has been involved with CORE since its inception in 2003. Derek, Nick Billowes, and Vince Ham set up Ultralab South (now CORE), which was to embody their vision of an e-learning research and development centre.
With a background as a teacher, principal, teacher educator, and education policy advisor, Derek’s role at CORE, as Director of e-Learning, perfectly combines his passion for teaching and learning together with his long-held fascination with the use of technologies in education.
Derek is regarded as one of New Zealand education’s foremost future-focused thinkers, and is regularly asked to consult with policy makers and government agencies regarding the future directions of New Zealand educational policy and practice. He coordinates the development of CORE’s annual Ten Trends that are widely referenced by educators and educational leaders.
He is a regular speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally, and maintains a blog on matters relating to e-learning and other aspects of interest to educators: Derek's Blog.
In recognition of his work in this area, Derek was designated one of 2008’s “Global Six” by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which recognizes individuals making a difference in education: Daring Dozen 2008.
'I’m an educator at heart, and driven by a deep personal belief in the public good of education. I see education as the pathway to self-improvement, and a fundamental right of every human being. I also see our current school system as past its ‘use-by’ date, having remained fundamentally unchanged since it was set up in the industrial age. But I am also an optimist. I believe it is possible to bring about change, big change, fundamentally significant change, if we set our minds to it and work collaboratively and cooperatively towards that. And we must, for the sake of our children and grandchildren.'