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Mark Sparvell: The Innovation Hunter at Pulteney Grammar School!


by Mark Sparvell
School Leader Program Director, Microsoft

Hello fellow education adventurers!

Continuing my journey across Australia towards Asia and on to Europe and capturing the voices, images and insights from some of our amazing Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators and the leaders in the inspiring Showcase Schools. If you haven’t been following my journey on twitter, might like to add @sparvell to your follows.

Country Roads take me to INNOVATION

Date: December 2014

Location: Pulteney Grammar School , Adelaide, South Australia

Distance from home:  Adelaide to Seattle is 8338.9 miles

“Sometimes you need to clear some space to allow room for innovation

Troy Thomson is currently one of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators but is certainly not new to Microsoft in Education! Troy was a very active participant in his previous school as part of the Microsoft Global Mentor School program and was certainly the no. 1 contributor within the YAMMER community established for this purpose. Troy took me on a tour of this beautiful gentrified, inner city private school on a slightly wet afternoon. The school was built in 1847 and caters for approximately 1000 students from kindergarten through to year 12 which, in Australia is where students complete their higher-school certificate.

Troy had been in his new role as education transformer for only a handful of months when I surprised him with a visit…he tells a story filled with fascinating insights about how to disrupt status-quo but also about securing commitment to change agendas. Troy literally cleared out the existing ‘IT area’ including removing walls to physically create a space focused on supporting innovative learning and teaching and not on servicing machines and networks. Troy spoke often about being ‘prepared to let things go’ and this extended to infrastructure, devices, professional development  and approaches. He referred to himself as an intentional agitator and I have the sense that Troy can see a long term transformation for his school particularly around the kind of learning environment he wishes to amplify ie one that is profoundly personalized and extended through the use of mobile technologies. Troy is applying gentle pressure through BYOD options and Surface Pro 3 and equal amounts of support with a focus on SAMR models, TPAK and 21CLD.

Troy is navigating changes from infrastructure through to learning design, importantly bringing alongthe key stakeholders. I was impressed with his approach to asking teachers what it is that will best support their work. I noted his compromises and ‘work arounds’ that are necessary in a device hybrid environment. The use of O365 is providing a much needed consistent productivity platform across devices and both local storage and use of OneDrive also helps create the mobile platform Troy seeks.

This is an exciting journey being undertaken by Pulteney Grammar with a very dynamic Microsoft innovative Expert Educator guiding the process.

Time for me to head interstate now where I will be visiting one of Australia’s most visited Primary Schools! What till you hear what the kids do with potatoes!!!!






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