Thank you Dr William Newman

Known by many as Bil Newman

Described by some as the father of IDL (Interactive Distance Learning)

Alice Springs School of the Air 2001 – 2023

Department of Education Northern Territory 1984-2023

“The timeline below is an attempt to narrow down the things that are significant to the point of having a long-term impact on the very fabric of the school. Personally, I think there have been 5 things that have had a huge impact on the school over the past 70 years. There have been lots of things introduced and lots of things changed but the following are the things I genuinely believe have shaped the school. I am very fortunate to be responsible for two of those five things.” – Dr Bil Newman 

  •        Using radio
  •        Doing home visits
  •        In-town and interstate excursions
  •        Introduction of IDL
  •        Expanding to Middle Years

Significant dates for Dr Newman

1990:   In the first group of only 11 teachers in Australia to receive Master Teacher status (now lead teacher) and               remains the youngest ever recipient.

1991:   Northern Territory IT Educator of the Year.

2001:   Recruited to the Alice Springs School of the Air to investigate the phasing out of radio and introducing the             use of the internet for the delivery of lessons.

2002:   The Federal government provides $14.4 million in the form of the National Communications Fund 44                     (NCF44) to Optus to provide the One Touch Interactive service to Distance Education Schools in NSW and              the Northern Territory. The first roll-out begins, using satellite & broadband technologies.

2003:   Dr Newman coins the term IDL (Interactive Distance Learning) which encompasses the technology and                   associated pedagogies assorted with real time distance teaching using the new technologies.

          The main radio studio at the Alice Springs School of the Air converted to an IDL Studio; radio lessons                   continue in second studio.

2004:   Both radio and IDL are used concurrently.

2005:   In December Dr Newman oversees the last radio lesson.

2006:   Westfield Scholarship recipient.

          Investigated Middle Years programs in the USA and Europe.

          Worked on the development and implementation of a new software platform (REACT) with the developer,               Mr Micheal Wilson.

2007:   Involved in reference groups and committees recommending the NT Education Department move to its own           infrastructure, thus the birth of the STARS network.

2008    What was the second radio studio is transformed into the second IDL studio.

          The STARS network is operational.

2013:   Dr William Newman is charged with the establishment of a Middle Years Program offering Years 7, 8 and 9.           It expanded the Alice Springs School of the Air by introducing a full Middle Years program.

          The third studio is opened.

          Dr Newman launches Google Apps for education in the Alice Springs School of the Air.

2019:   Fourth studio is opened.

2023:   Central Region Secondary Teacher of the Year 2023

           Fifth Studio opened.

           Dr William Newman retires.

General Bio

In 2001 Dr Newman was recruited to the Alice Springs School of the Air to phase out the use of radio and introduce new technologies and appropriate pedagogies to all year levels within the school. Over the past 22 years, he has been instrumental in the development and the use of technology as well as being the Assistant Principal on several occasions. In 2014 he founded the school’s Middle Years program, a secondary education program for 12- to 15-year-olds. In addition to having teaching experience at secondary and tertiary levels, Dr Newman has worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in product development and was a director. Dr Newman specialised in change and growth management for a leading UK multimedia company based in London. His formal qualifications include a Physics Degree, a Graduate Diploma in Systems Analysis, a Master’s and PhD in Artificial Intelligence and a Bachelor of Education.

Dr Newman has presented at numerous conferences including being a featured presenter at EduTech in 2017, the largest education conference in the Southern Hemisphere. He presented on pedagogy and its relationship to technology at the 2019 AADES (Australasian Association of Distance Education Schools) conference. Other international conferences include the OEB (formerly Online Educa Berlin), an annual international conference on technology-supported learning held in Berlin, Germany. In terms of personal impact, the conference on Capacity Building for IT in Education in Developing Countries held In Zimbabwe, at which he presented in 1998, had a formative impact on his desire to work in distance education.

Dr Newman has been on several reference committees for university research projects as well as on a number of tender groups responsible for decisions relating to the provision of distance education services at a system level.

As a token of appreciation for the decades of phenomenal work Dr William Newman has done at the school and in our community, Dr Newman was asked to sign the signature wall in Studio 2 at the Alice Springs School of the Air. Dr Newman’s signature on our historic wall sits alongside other prominent names such as Margaret Thatcher, Lisa Curry, and John Howard.

We appreciate you Mr Newman!

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Facilitating daily contact between students, home tutors and teachers, the school has always strived to find new and better ways of enriching the education of Australia’s most remote children.

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