Empowering Educators: The Engaging Minds Workshop Series

In 2023, the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus played host to the Engaging Minds workshop series, a professional development initiative organized by UQSchoolsNet and AusCERT. The program's primary objective was to empower teachers by equipping them with the necessary skills to seamlessly integrate Information Technology (IT) and computing into the Queensland Education Curriculum. The two-day workshop, enriched with interactive sessions and hands-on activities, proved to be an invaluable experience for educators seeking to enhance their pedagogical approach.

The Engaging Minds workshop series provided teachers with a comprehensive exploration of various aspects of IT and computing. Participants delved into the foundations of artificial intelligence (AI), binary coding, cybersecurity and design thinking, gaining practical insights through hands-on activities designed for replicability in the classroom. The interactive sessions, led by UQ IT researchers and academics, allowed teachers to witness firsthand the work being done in the dynamic fields of IT and computing.

The program was particularly inclusive, extending its reach to regional and remote teachers who travelled to the UQ St Lucia campus from areas outside Brisbane.

To facilitate the participation of teachers from regional areas, UQSchoolsNet provided on-campus accommodation at no cost to the participants with morning tea, lunch, and dinner. This thoughtful arrangement ensured that educators could fully immerse themselves in the learning experience without logistical concerns.

One educator remarked on the relevance of the presentation on AI in education, describing the tools discussed as practical and easily implementable in the classroom.

Design Thinking stood out to another teacher, who appreciated its broad applications. The comprehensive understanding gained through discussions and activities left a lasting impression.

Activities such as cryptography and wicked design solutions were highlighted as particularly useful for a primary school setting, providing valuable insights applicable to the participants' educational contexts.

The success of the Engaging Minds workshop series at UQ St Lucia in 2023 demonstrates the importance of empowering educators with the skills necessary to navigate the evolving landscape of IT and computing. By providing hands-on experiences, insights from industry experts, and a platform for collaborative learning, the workshop series has undoubtedly contributed to the enrichment of teaching practices. As educators continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the next generation, initiatives like these ensure they are well-equipped to guide their students towards a future driven by technology and innovation.

Last updated:
7 March 2024