I lead and have led a number of high impact outreach programs for the Faculty of IT at Monash University and as an independent education consultant.
We work with schools, industry, and government to create inspiring engagement initiatives and new, exciting education programs that combine motivating topics with in-depth learning and that provide improved pathways to tertiary education.
Here is a brief list of selected projects and links connected to our outreach activities.
- We are really excited about our new “Internet of Things Kitchen Garden” (IoTKG) Program that combines evidence-based thinking and data-driven reasoning with digital technology. Read more in the brief outline linked here.
- I am the lead author of the “Algorithmic Thinking” Special Topic of the “Maths by Inquiry” program of the Australian Academy of Science (reSolve).
- I am a chief investigator of Monash’s “Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship” initiative funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
- Together with Steven Bird (the University of Melbourne), I designed the Year 11/12 VCE study “Algorithmics” for the VCAA (the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority). This was introduced in 2015. For more details see https://www.monash.edu/it/future-students/study-areas/vce-algorithmics. VCE Algorithmics emerged as one of the strongest performing year 12 VCE subjects (see VTAC scaling report 2015). Further information on the background for this unit can be found on Page 12-13 of this VCAA position paper where the study was still titled “Computational Logic”: Strengthening Senior Secondary Pathways.
- “Algorithmics has just been reaccredited”. You can find the latest study design here.
- The study is a first in two regards:1) it is a radical departure from what is normally taught as IT in school curricula, emphasising Algorithmics, the core of computer science. 2) it is the first study under a new schema that is designed to let high performing students get early access to tertiary learning.
- The study will be delivered in collaboration between schools and the universities and will ideally prepare students planning to enter tertiary studies in computing. However, its appeal is much broader than this: it will benefit students in any field that requires formal, abstract reasoning.
- The study is specifically designed to have no gender bias and should have particular potential for engaging girls with the field. It radically moves away from the often-found IT obsession of “wrangling the machine” and focuses on the underlying conceptual aspects and theory.
- Microbit at Monash: Most recently we have started to explore the potential of the BBC micro:bit in our outreach activities and are planning a much broader scope of activities in this area: watch this space!
- We work with the amazing John Monash Science School on designing a whole spectrum of science-rich computing curricula. Outcomes so far include an ’emerging technologies’ study at year 10 level, an innovative implementation of VCE IT 1/2 at year 11 level, and a computational physics and mathematics unit.
- We develop open education resources for advanced IT education. Extended materials for self-guided learning and for classroom use that have their roots in the programs designed with JMSS have been published as free interactive, multimedia eBooks, have been downloaded more than 15,000 times and are in use at several institutions world-wide.
- We develop and publish open educational software
- We work with the University of Melbourne to provide teacher professional development for advanced IT teaching in the Google sponsored Computer Science for High Schools initiative CS4HS.
- We are building the Alexandria learning objects repository for the collaborative development of coursework resources which enables educators at all levels to co-develop and share open education resources for IT education.
- We are designing ‘linking initiatives’ and materials that clearly demonstrate the relevance and enabling role of IT for studies in other fields. The first pilot project in this stream is ‘Bringing Angkor Wat to Life‘, which leads students behind the scenes of the making of the digital reconstruction of ancient Angkor Wat which is exhibited at the Google Cultural Institute and featured by National Geographic. It will teach students the skills to develop immersive 3d visualisations such as these. As students now study Angor Wat as a part of the national History curriculum, this module provides an easily implemented starting point for schools to create a nexus of IT and studies in other fields.
- We worked with the NICTA-led Group X/National initiative in a nation-wide effort to improve quality and attractiveness of IT education and to build a national-level repository of open educational resources for IT.
If you would like to learn more about any of these activities or if you would like to discuss ideas for a new outreach project feel please contact me.