Derek is regarded as one of NZ education’s foremost future focused thinkers, and works extensively with schools and systems in New Zealand and elsewhere as they seek to prepare students for their future. He also consults with policy makers and government agencies regarding the future directions of NZ educational policy and practice. He is currently running FutureMakers, and educational consultancy focused on making our education system more future-focused by inspiring the next generation of leaders, thinkers and problem-solvers.
Throughout his career as a teacher, principal, teacher educator and education policy advisor, Derek has followed his passion for creating future focused education systems, and innovative teaching and learning approaches that place the learner at the centre.
In 2003 Derek co-founded CORE Education, a not-for-profit education research and development organisation based in Christchurch, New Zealand. This organisation has grown to over 200 staff across New Zealand, providing strategic advice and professional development in early years settings, schools and tertiary organisations. He continues to work part time as a principal consultant for CORE, providing special project advice and support.
His special interest in distance education began when he was teaching in rural parts of New Zealand and undertook distance studies through Massey University. He later embarked on a Masters degree in distance education through Deakin University while lecturing in Educational Technology at the Christchurch College of Education. While working there, Derek established NZ’s first distance pre-service teacher education programme. In recognition of this work he was awarded the Ian Stewart Memorial Award for innovation and leadership in distance education.
In the early 1990s Derek helped establish NZ’s first virtual schooling programme in Canterbury, and has continued with that interest, working with other clusters that have developed around NZ since then.
In the late 1990s Derek developed GlobalNet2000, an online project aimed at increasing the global awareness and participation of young learners in New Zealand, with links to others across the world. In recognition of this work he was awarded the Peter Brice award from the Pacific Circle Consortium, for achievements fostering inter-cultural understanding.
In 2001 he took up a newly created role as manager of the eSection at the NZ Correspondence School (Te Kura) where he led a team in pioneering approaches to online learning and also conceived of and led the creation of the Virtual Learning Network, an online course brokerage service for schools in New Zealand that has since become a key part of the Ministry of Education’s eLearning strategy.
Derek has particular skills in strategic planning and policy design, with an emphasis on future-focused education, flexible learning and the role of digital technologies. He has been an active distance and online educator since the early 1990s. He has been a long service executive member of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ) and in 2018 was given a life membership of that organisation in recognition of his contribution to the field.
Derek has worked as a consultant to the Commonwealth of Learning, and as a member of the NZ communications sub-commission for UNESCO. He is a regular speaker at conferences both nationally and internationally, and maintains a blog on matters relating to e-learning, the future of education and other aspects of interest to educators; http://www.wenmoth.net
In recognition of his work as an innovator and educational change-maker, Derek was designated one of 2008’s “Global Six” by the George Lucas Educational Foundation which recognizes individuals making a difference in education.