ncss news

January 4th 2014

Programming: Change the World

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Lift your eyes from the screen and take a look around you. Are there people about? Are they happy? Excited? Are their eyes glued to the front of an auditorium brimming with eager eyes and buzzing minds? No? Well you must not be at the NCSS Summer School!

Hands waving in the air and with a voice echoing along the walls of Menzies Hall across a hundred students, James issues a “recipe” we should all get used to using:

  1. Run your program.

  2. Stop.

  3. Think. Is there a better way to do this?

Everything can ultimately be expressed in true or false when you’re writing code.

So when you reach step three, consider that the answer is always true.

Nods. Pens in mouths, eyes flickering with energy. No fidgeting. Pure focus.

“We can associate more meaning with a name instead of a number” James says, drawing on how to label variables. And I can tell you, that when we look at these kids, we are looking at a bunch of bright sparks who are giving a name and face to the future of Australian Engineering.

Exactly what Australia needs.

Richard White takes to the stage. And upon looking at each and every one of them, he says gently, “You can change the world”.

And yes they will. NCSS is only the beginning.

teacher spotlight

You have a background in industry. What made you make the switch to teaching? When I was at Uni studying my Economics degree, I got involved in tutoring students in Eco, IT and Law. I enjoyed it, and it was at that point I figured I’d pursue teaching as an option. After working on Web Dev for a few years, I got my Dip. Ed. and I’ve stuck with it since.

What’s your favourite part of teaching? I get to see a lot of students in my classes that have an interest in IT but don’t really know much about it. Seeing how they respond to the challenges that IT throws up, and the skills they leave with, makes the whole experience really rewarding.

What makes you give up 10 days of your holidays to spend with us here at NCSS? It’s a great program - I love it. I’ve been involved as a teacher/student in both the embedded and web streams, and been a tutor too!

What advice do you have for new IT teachers? Don’t be afraid to experiment with new technologies; and stay up to date! It’s cool to be working on things that are current in industry, and there’s so much going on it’s great to be able to share that with students.

What about some advice for students? If you want to learn more than what your school is offering in your course, look for other options to supplement that - there is heaps online and your teachers can probably suggest things too.

Nerd Camp in one word? 0110100101110101001001011010111010101111000010110101101011010000