Transforming Lives and Regions

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Developing Young People's STEM Knowledge 

The Project

STEM Knowledge_Read more about this rprojectIn our fast-changing and diverse ‘knowledge economies’, young people will be constantly faced with new and complex learning challenges as well as the necessity to navigate an increasingly high-tech social environment.

The aim of this research is to provide young people with a strong foundation in Science and Technology through the introduction of computer programming. Current research suggests that even though Australian youth are some of the highest users of technology, they fall behind in these areas. Those students in rural, remote or disadvantaged areas tend to show the least engagement and confidence in science and technology subjects.

This project aims to build a prototype of an interactive application to teach primary grade students (K-6) basic computer programming skills. It will be specifically developed to target students in rural, remote and disadvantage and will not require prerequisite computing knowledge or specific supervision.

The prototype will help stimulate students’ scientific and technological curiosity and help improve problem-solving skills, and generally increase confidence in the use of technology.

The Researchers

STEM Knowledge_Read more about the ResearchersThis project brings together researchers from the Faculties of Engineering and Information Sciences, Law Humanities and the Arts and Social Sciences.

Dr Joseph Tonien obtained his PhD in Information Security at the University of Wollongong in 2005 and has nearly a decade of experience in enterprise software development. He has published more than 30 papers in prestigious journals and conference proceedings. He was a recipient of a research grant and a postdoctoral fellowship from Australian Research Council. Prior to joining UOW, Dr. Tonien was a Solutions Architect and Team Leader for several projects developing specialised compliance and enforcement software solutions for Roads and Maritime Services NSW and other Government jurisdictions.

Dr Grant Ellmers specialises in design for graphic user interface (including design for mobile technologies), design thinking, the design process, and design education. Grant has had sustained interest in teaching and learning both in research and practice, with a particular focus on project-based learning, structured reflection, and learning transfer. Dr Ellmers is an ECR having completed his PhD in 2014 through the School of Education at UOW where he investigated how a structured and critical approach to reflective practice can support designer students foster the conditions for knowledge transfer in a project-based environment.

Dr Sarah Howard received her PhD in 2009 from the University of Sydney. Her research addresses the underlying principles of technology integration in teaching and learning and technology-related educational change in teachers’ practice. Specifically, she considers how teachers understand and negotiate technology integration within their school and subject area cultures to support learning. Her research has attracted over $2 million in funding through national competitive grants and commercial research. Research partners include education and industry organisations, such as One Laptop Per Child and Adobe Systems and schools across Australia, in the United States and South Africa.

Professor Willy Susilo earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from UOW in 2001. His main research interest include cryptography and computer security, in particular the design of signature schemes. He is currently the Head of School of Computing and Information Technology at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, UOW. Prior to this appointment, he was awarded a prestigious ARC Future Fellow role. Previously, he was the Head of School of SCSSE, Deputy Director of ICT Research Institute and the Academic Program Director for UoW (Singapore). He is the Director of Centre for Computer and Information Security Research. Willy has published more than 250 research papers in journals and conferences. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Information journal, and an Associate Editor at the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Information Security and Forensics.

Last reviewed: 21 June, 2016

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