Thursday, February 7, 2013


Hi to all, my name is Kevin O’Neill
I am an automotive lecturer in A block.
I am married with 1 little girl who is 18 months old.
I have been in the automotive trade for about 16 years. I started my trade in Dunedin once I was finished my apprenticeship and gave the employer 2 years of being qualified my wife and I moved to Christchurch and I worked for a local garage that I ended up managing.
After 5 years there we decided to go do our big OE we moved over to Perth and worked over there for a year. In that time I worked in the mines and in Perth, it was a big eye opener working over there.
After the year my wife and I decided to move back to New Zealand buy a house, settle down and start a family.
The automotive industry has changed a lot in the last few years and the technology that runs these vehicles is incredibly interesting and complicated which makes it an exciting subject for me to teach and learn more about.
I am really enjoying working for the polytechnic and the challenge that teaching modern students brings.
I am looking forward to this flexible learning course and to develop my skills in modernizing our current teaching practices and keeping tried and true approaches alive. I believe that  it’s not about “leaving the old ways behind” and more about understanding the modern student and integrating the old with the new to create a modern learning platform.
Attached is a video of how modern technology is being used to prevent accidents from happening.
As you watch this think about knowledge that your "mechanic" has to understand to be up with modern vehicle systems.
This is only a taste of were vehicles will head in the future.


  1. I enjoyed reading about your background Kevin and hearing how you moved from being an apprentice in the trade to a fully fledged mechanic and now a lecturer. The experience that you had in the mines must have been invaluable at opening your eyes to different work situations and mechanical problems.

    Do you get the opportunity to share some of the stories from back then with your students?

    I found that my experiences working on construction sites as a nurse gave me a whole different perspective about nursing. The same could be said about your experience having left the comfort of the local garage.

    Yes it is important to keep doing what is working well for your students. The key I believe to this flexible learning lark is that you remain open-minded and resilient to the changing landscape in education. Show me a teacher who doesn't want to do the best by their students, anyone who does is going to be constantly challenged to 'catch the wave' so to speak.

    I look forward to hearing more about what is working well and why. and what you think might need to change.

  2. I have found using real life stories engaging for my students.
    They love the reality to the industry. I also encourage them to talk about their experances also, this seams to encourage a more relaxed enviroment.

  3. Hi Kevin
    I am now able to read your blog and leave comments, which is great.

    1. Welcome Jacqueline. I hope you enjoy my Blog

  4. Hi Kevin
    Thank you and yes - I read through your entire blog and really enjoyed it :-) and I thought it is also very comprehensive.
    I realize that the car industry is probably heading into the future in leaps and bounds. I just looked at the video you posted and that was interesting viewing. I picked up the..... 'this works well for unimpaired drivers' (some phrase like that), which obviously still means the driver is responsible. There aren't any cars yet who 'do it all' without the drivers input.
    In my research on Sustainability I came across some 'futuristic' cars running on solar power, one hovering above ground (I think that one had something to do with magnets) and the latest one I came across was a flying car (sorry no links right now but will backtrack and google them for adding).
    Having had cars, which kept braking down (especially my lovely old ones like a Morris Oxford 1950 and my Wolseley 15/50 - I think that's the model it was...) and doing the 'fix it yourself' (well - my husband had a go at the time with me trying to help), I found it fascinating to see how things worked. I also decided that I wasn't cut out to be a mechanic after skinning a few of my knuckles due to nuts and bolts suddenly 'loosening' after being stuck firm.
    Looking under todays modern car bonnets, I just get overwhelmed. They are so totally compact, with closed units of this and that, which have to be replaced and lots is electronic or digital etc..... I can see that being a mechanic these days would require lots of 'updating' within the industry. Does that mean the basics are not relevant anymore?
    I found this transparent plexiglass Pontiac and thought: Wouldn't it be great to have one of those fully transparent and functional for students to see the actual workings of a car (including the motor) when it starts up and keeps running etc.
    I'm sure that this would not be considered cost effective and there would be all sorts of youtube vids available that would show how this and that works anyway, but if I would be a car mechanic student, I'd really enjoy this one.
    I don't think this would work for it's electrical components though and not sure about having a transparent motor etc..... :-)

    Plexiglas Pontiac
    More on Google:

    Maybe there'll be 'holograms' or something like that to be used to teach mechanics students in the near future...
    I guess being inclined towards 3D as an artist, the 3D ideas appeal to me most.