Free Education Online Webinars

On Thursday 21 April 2016 the Persona dolls helped to illustrate a presentation for Free Education Online Webinars. It was the first session of a two part series and the teachers who participated used the whiteboard slides and the chat text box to interact with each other to find solutions to the needs of students described in Neihart & Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

The title of the presentation was Personas, profiles and portraits of giftedness.
The recording of the session can be found at

Vanessa Crouch, the moderator also created a Padlet page to collect all the references mentioned during the presentation at


Part 2 was presented on Thursday 28 April 2016.
The second part discussed Sprite, the Twice Exceptional student, causes of underachievement, and De Bono’s 6 Action shoes.

The recording of Part 2 can be heard at
Vanessa Crouch’s Padlet for Part 2 is found at

Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesdays Webinar Part 2


Slide from presentation Photo Jo Freitag


I presented the second part of the Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesday webinar Personas, profiles and portraits: Sprite the Twice Exceptional on Tuesday 2 June 2015 at 4.00pm Melbourne time.

The second part of the presentation focussed on Sprite, the Twice Exceptional Gifted Student who is both gifted and also has some form of disability or learning difficulty/difference. It was appropriate to give a full session to this particular gifted profile as Sprite is the most fully developed and described of my Persona dolls. See  


Slide from presentation Image Jo Freitag



Also the education of 2E students is a huge topic.

We discussed
* identifying 2E students,
* myths relating to 2E students,
* catering simultaneously for giftedness and the disability using De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes as the planning tool
* possibilities for modifying studies for 2E students using S.C.A.M.P.E.R. as the thinking tool
* social emotional issues relating to 2E students


Slide from presentation Photos Jo Freitag



You can listen to the recording of the second part of the webinar at 

Slideshare for Part 2





Australia e-Series Tech Talk Tuesdays Webinar


On Tuesday March 17th, 2015 at 4pm, Melbourne, Australia time I gave a presentation for Anne Mirtschin’s Tech talk Tuesdays webinar series about the persona dolls and profiles of the gifted and talented.

It was the first webinar in the 2015 series and coincided with Gifted Awareness week  and also with Cultural Diversity week in Victoria


Information about the session can be found on the Australia e-Series blog at

About this session: Tech Talk Tuesday will start the year off celebrating Gifted Awareness Week with guest presenter Jo Freitag. This session will discuss “Personas, profiles and portraits of giftedness”: using personal descriptions/narratives to illustrate profiles of the gifted and talented and understand their particular needs. All students deserve an excellent education Gifted students need an education which is at an appropriate level, pace, depth and breadth.

Jo will use persona dolls and personal descriptions/narratives to illustrate profiles of the gifted that can aid in building an understanding of the needs of gifted students and a variety of methods for addressing their strengths and challenges. Please join us for this fascinating session.


You can listen to the recording of the webinar at

This webinar was similar to the one I presented for OZeLive but had some extra content added
Because of the additions it was not possible to finish the presentation in the hour and we decided to give a follow up webinar to be held 2 June 2015.

A SlideShare for this presentation

Errata: The reference slide at the end of the presentation should contain the wording ‘All photos and images except Gifted Awareness Week and Australia e-Series logos c. Jo Freitag’




OZeLIVE webinar


I was really delighted to be able to present a session about the Persona dolls and profiles of the gifted and talented for the OZeLIVE! online education conference which ran from 27 February – 1 March 2015.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

The details of my session together with some feedback I received can be seen at

A recording was made of the session and can be found at

Errata: The reference slide should contain the wording All photos and images except  Gifted Awareness Week and OZeLIVE  logos  c. Jo Freitag



persona dolls representing gifted students

Photos Jo Freitag

I have just completed the making of the 6 persona dolls representing Neihart and Betts  Profiles of the Gifted and Talented. I purposely did not give these dolls facial features so that they can represent their type of giftedness without also showing any racial or ethnic characteristics. For the set I had to make a second version of the Sprite doll.

Sprite doll expressions

Photos Jo Freitag

The first version of Sprite had an embroidered face, she had a calico body rather than a wooden frame and she was not in the same scale as the dolls in the set.

By altering Sprite’s posture and the angle and lighting of the photos I took it was possible to express a variety of emotions. However the whole face did not have to be visible for the emotions to be implied (eg right end picture).

During the making of the set of dolls I had interesting discussions with several people about whether the dolls should be given facial features.

Brother in law thought they looked creepy with blank faces but conceded that could be due to memories of some horror films he had seen.

Psychologist Janette Phelan of Uplift Centre Pty Ltd in Brisbane could see many possible ways of using the dolls in counselling and play therapy if the faces were blank.

At one stage during the making and gathering of the dolls and other creatures Edward was the only one in the group who had a blank face (except Felicity – but as her back was turned she did not count). Edward seemed out of place and I was convinced that I would need to paint or embroider facial features for all the dolls.

group of dolls and animals

Photo Jo Freitag

But as all of the dolls but Sprite were finished and I realised that I would have to make a second version of Sprite it also became clear that they did not need faces.

Gifted and Talented students can be of any racial/ethnic/ cultural/ economic/religious group so it was more helpful for the dolls to be neutral in regard to these aspects of their character.

Michaela the Creative

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag


Meet Michaela the Creative!

Michaela is a persona doll representing the Creative type of gifted student on Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

Michaela’s story

Michaela is a bright, creative, moody, nonconformist.
She loves arts and crafts, music, dance and drama.
At times she appears to be a confident, bubbling extrovert but at other times seems quite defensive.
She loves sparkles and frills.
She dances and cartwheels rather than walking sedately and some of the teachers wonder whether she has ADHD.
Michaela’s responses to assignments are usually very different from the expected responses. They reflect her creativity and unusual approach to the subject and often also express her strong opinions and her deep inner convictions. Some teachers consider her to be rebellious and have discipline problems. They can easily find themselves in a power struggle with her.
Michaela needs parents, teachers and mentors who will recognize and encourage her areas of talent and focus on her creative potential rather than achievement.
While there needs to be tolerance of her individualism she does need instruction in interpersonal skills and help with her organizational issues.
Most of all her feelings need to be respected and her original thinking needs to be encouraged

Edward the Autonomous

Originally posted on Sprite’s Site blog 4 December 2014

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag

And now there are three!

My friend Judy Murcutt brought me another doll last week. Judy has been helping me to locate materials and work out methods for creating persona dolls. She asked several of her friends who are keen on craft work and has been given new leads. One of them gave Judy a doll frame which had been standing in her garden to scare away possums. She thought I would be able to take it apart and see how it had been put together and she did not want it back.

I was able to see how the doll had been put together and have repaired and clothed it and it has become Edward, a sensitive botany and animal loving gifted boy. Edward is a little professor who dresses in a rather old fashioned manner, plays the recorder and other instruments and reads classical literature. Although quiet and peace loving he is very interested in knights, Arthurian legend and life in mediaeval times. That is a leather bound copy of Ivanhoe he is clutching.
I am having a great deal of fun with these dolls and think there must be a divine purpose behind them because there have been so many amazing coincidences in the finding and making of all of them.
I am just waiting to find out where it is all leading and said jokingly that maybe I would end up with a full set of persona dolls representing Neihart and Betts Profiles of the Gifted and Talented.

I am half way there.

Sprite is definitely an example of the 2E Profile.

Felicity is either an example of the Successful Profile or the Underground Profile.

And Edward is a prime example of the Autonomous Learner Profile. Edward reads voraciously and can often be seen examining plants and insects with a magnifying glass. He loves science experiments. He is happy in his own skin and pursues his own learning at his own pace in his own distinct manner. It is very appropriate that he is wearing the ‘Do what is most sensible’ Brown Brogues. He would also be comfortable in the Investigative Grey Sneakers.

So now I need to create Vincent (Vince) the At Risk Profile graffiti artist, a Creative Profile character and either a Successful Profile or  an Underground Profile character.

Photo Jo Freitag

Photo Jo Freitag