Tech for teaching
BY JANE LEWIS
There’s a wealth of opportunities for those inspired by the idea of using their computing skills to help others learn.
Claire Hocking is one of a new generation of students looking to combine interests in CS and education. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Teaching/Mathematical and Computer Science at the University of Adelaide.
“I always liked computer science and maths at school,” says Claire. “I also enjoyed coaching kids at sport, and I chose this course thinking that teaching might be similar.”
Claire likes being able to share her knowledge. “I also love that I could teach someone who goes on to become the ‘next big thing’ in computing.”
NEW WAYS TO LEARN
There are endless options in careers combining computing and education. Take Jess McCulloch, who’s “bringing transmedia storytelling to education”.
In 2013, she created The Dragon Collective Trilogy – narrative-based units for students learning Chinese. Each student plays a secret agent on the hunt for clues to defeat ‘The Doom of Not Knowing’.
“I love what I do. I get to make up stories that kids can get involved in, which is made all the more interesting and engaging with the digital tools available,” she says.
“Technology is still seen as an add-on rather than a standard way of delivering education.” For these reasons, Jess is pushing for greater integration of tech in teaching.
Geoff Prince, director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, says coding opens up a raft of career avenues.
“The ability to code is a necessary skill for the majority of mathematically capable professionals in science, technology, engineering, finance and increasingly in medicine,” he says.
He adds that acquiring these skills shouldn’t be “left to chance” – that coding should be taught alongside maths at school.
The new Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum is a step towards this and helps students become “innovative developers of digital solutions and knowledge”.
THE PATH TO CHANGE
Linda McIver, a computer scientist and high school teacher, agrees that change is on the way. The state of Victoria, where she teaches, has introduced a new Year 12 CS subject called VCE Algorithmics.
“I think it’s going to change the approach of schools nationwide. We’re going to see a much stronger focus on computer science in high schools.”
If you love technology and enjoy connecting and communicating with others, Linda says teaching is a great option.
“There’s an increasing demand for teachers with a computer science background. If you do a CS degree, teaching is going to really need you.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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