So you think you are an IT expert?

A select group of teachers from across Victoria will converge at the University of Melbourne
to create a new secondary school curriculum; computer science for the ’iGeneration.’

"Secondary students think they know about I.T.," said Associate Professor Steven Bird, convener of the event, "But the truth is that they have never been exposed to the underlying science."

Google is sponsoring a series of workshops at the University of Melbourne with the goal of educating teachers about developments in Computer Science in order to get out a new message to students. "Computer Science is a fascinating and rigorous area of study and it leads to diverse and rewarding employment opportunities", Associate Professor Bird said.

"Computer Science powers our information society, but the students we want to attract are still only able to study traditional subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. We hope to fix this problem."

Computing drives innovation in health, entertainment, science and business, and it has transformed the way we conduct science and engineering. Simulation, virtual experiments, computational analysis and prediction have become indispensable parts of the contemporary scientific method. Computation enables us to make sense of data, whether it concerns the environment, the economy, health, entertainment, social and organisational structures, or any other sphere of human experience or endeavour. Computation is at the heart of social networking, helping us connect and interact whether we are at home, at work or on the move.

Despite all this, the underlying science is absent from the secondary curriculum in Victoria, and the VCE IT curriculum is focused on superficial vocational skills. Change is underway, and there are plans to introduce a new Computer Science course into the VCE. This week’s "Computer Science for High School (CS4HS)" workshop represents an important step in this direction. Teachers will learn about such areas as computer security, managing traffic networks, and developing intelligent game players. "Google’s sponsorship is a great start," Associate Professor Bird said, "And with new government and industrial funding, we hope to roll out new curriculum to schools next year, and keep pace with similar developments in the UK and the US".

What: University of Melbourne IT workshop for teachers
When: Wednesday 11-Friday 13 July, 2012
Where: University of Melbourne, Engineering Design Studio 1, Old Engineering Building
Enter via Gate 10.

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