28 Oct 2021
A USC program is helping to equip educators with better ways to teach technology to primary school students.
USC has teamed up with Mountain Creek State High School to run a series of webinar versions of their popular hands-on Dig Tech Expos during the final term of school.
USC Lecturer in Education Natalie McMaster and Graeme Breen from Mountain Creek State High School have already run two Dig Tech Expos for more than 130 Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast educators this year.
Ms McMaster said the expos and webinars were designed to boost skills and confidence in teaching the Digital Technologies curriculum, which she said was a very steep learning curve for a significant number of primary school teachers.
“Many teachers were not taught this content at school nor was it included in their teacher training,” she said.
“Graeme set up the Dig Tech Expos at his school five years ago because he recognised the need to develop the skills of teachers in their primary feeder schools.”
In recognition of this important work, Ms McMaster received $28,000 in Google Educator Grants earlier this year. This was used to extend the expos into the Moreton Bay and Fraser Coast regions.
She said the expos were led by specialist teachers from local high schools and an environmental centre, by USC staff including Education academic Dr Emily Ross and IT expert Ian Sinclair, and by preservice teachers Patrick Bailey (pictured) and Zainab Diamond.
The in-person expos in mid-2021 featured hands-on sessions on coding (using Scratch and Python languages), robotics, website development, artificial intelligence, and planning teaching and assessment.
Some of the online webinars through October and November will allow participants to work along with the presenter through an iPad, while in other sessions presenters will show videos of lessons being conducted in classrooms.
These webinars are open to teachers, pre-service teachers, home school educators and librarians. Details at usc.edu.au/community/schools-engagement/dig-tech-expos-2021