MacICT pursues collaborations with other educational institutions and industry where there are common synergies that support and inform the educational community. These collaborations deepen the expertise of MacICT’s team while furthering its scope and reach.
With the direct support of Sandra Googan (Senior Regional Manager) LEGO® Education Australia is continuing to provide both financial support and expert advice for MacICT’s robotics programs. Examples include:
- Covering the cost of experts for workshop development and professional learning events.
- Providing robotics equipment and resources
- Connecting MacICT to relevant industry contacts
As a result of this critical support MacICT has been able design, develop and run quality robotics programs that reflect current thinking around best practice for the integration of robotics in the classroom.
In 2014, as a result of meeting MacICT’s manager and STEAM team members, and seeing some of the work the team were conducting with Makerspaces, Intel Australia sought out MacICT’s expertise to develop a Teacher’s Guide for their new Intel® Galileo Gen 2 development board, develop an engineering kit and run professional learning workshops. The project aimed to introduce teachers to programming with physical computing and support the development of STEM skills. Intel funded the $40,000 project with MacICT successfully developing a Teacher’s Guide in late 2014. The Guide will be distributed to teachers Australia wide, as well as being internationally available.
The partnership with Intel has been very successful and has led to other opportunities for staff to present at conferences, teach inter-state and provide on-site professional learning services to schools.
We’ve been extremely pleased with MacICT’s work in this space and certainly want to continue a long-term relationship with MacICT. Cathie and her staff have been enormously helpful and we have valued their input and all the work they have done.Katie Ford
This independent games and entertainment studio has collaborated with MacICT on a number of occasions since 2011 providing authentic learning experiences for teachers and students. This year a small team from MacICT have collaborated with Bubble Gum Interactive on their new charity sponsored project, a gamified STEAM learning platform built initially for the Philippine education system. This project has recently received wide support and will be released globally and available to schools for free.
In 2015, MacICT was approached by ANSTO to run workshops during the school holidays to encourage students to become involved with engineering. MacICT facilitators have run holiday student workshops on robotics, game design and coding with Scratch. These have been sold-out events with fantastic feedback from all involved.
ANSTO have subsequently tapped into MacICT expertise and have funded a project where MacICT will design and build a robotics LEGO® prototype of their neutron scattering instrument (Taipan model) for ANSTO to replicate and host in its Discovery Centre. MacICT will also provide build instructions and design some simple activities using the model that can be carried out by student visitors to the Centre.
MacICT developed a partnership with Think 3 to run workshops for teachers on a range of entry level topics such as iPads A-Z and using Apple Configurator to manage iPads. These workshops provided teachers with lesson ideas and different ways of using the apps.
The Bridges to Higher Education initivative, funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), works towards promoting continuing education in schools with low socio-economic status. MacICT has been collaborating with Bridges since 2013 to provide support, training and project development for their Bridges Connect Robotics project. In addition to running workshops at Macquarie University, MacICT facilitators have travelled to Young and Kyogle to deliver professional learning workshops for teachers. Hands-on student boot camps have been delivered via Video Conference facilities and Adobe Connect to several regional schools.
The robotics project, in collaboration with MacICT, officially ended in 2014, but due to its great sucess, Macquarie University decided to incorporate it into its LEAP Program (Learning, Education, Aspiration, Participation). MacICT continued to support this program in 2015.
“It’s given [students] the opportunity to explore possibilities outside their world to work with technology and 21st Century capacity building. It’s given teachers a chance to explore new opportunities in their professional learning.”Janeen Silcock
In 2016 MacICT has been involved in the design and delivery of a ‘Digital Literacy Project’ aimed at improving the Digital Literacy skills of Stage 5 High School teachers so they can effectively design learning that builds digital literacy skills in students. This project is a result of findings that indicate first year university students do not have the digital literacy skills to adequately engage with the digital tools and online spaces used for the delivery of university courses.
MacICT also provides access to Video Conferencing facilities for the Widening Participation Unit to run Conferences with schools on a wide variety of subjects connecting them with academics and experts from the University.
Read more about the Maker Space workshops on our blog.
Read more about our Computational Thinking workshops.
In 2014 MacICT was successful in an application for a ‘Computer Science for High School’ (CS4HS) grant covering primary as well as high schools. This annual program promotes computer science education by helping to equip educators with the skills and resources they need to teach computer science and computational thinking concepts in fun and relevant ways. Globally, this program has already trained more than 12,000 teachers and reached over 600,000 students.
MacICT’s successful application, resulting in a $14,000 Google grant, allowed us to develop a series of professional learning workshops for primary school and high school teachers titled, MakerDay C.R.E.A.T.E! How to create reality with electronics, art and technology in education. These workshops, inspired by the Maker movement, aimed to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and science) skills. These workshops were very successful and after a couple more iterations, MacICT is now offering professional learning courses titled, Learning through Makerspaces to both Primary and High School teachers.
In 2015 Dr Matt Bower from Macquarie University and MacICT submitted a joint CS4HS application for a professional learning and research project. The submission was to fund the development of a professional learning course to assist K – 8 teachers develop their computational thinking pedagogies. The submission drew on contemporary innovative practices from around the world as well as prevailing literature in the computer science education field, to progress the capabilities of teachers to teach the upcoming Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. Research was to be conducted into the difficulties that teachers experience when learning computational thinking concepts and pedagogies. Were were successful in receiving a Google grant to fund the development of the professional learning only. Some data will be gathered from the project and used for research purposes.