UWA software engineer opens up world of mathematicsBy University of Western Australia Jan 07, 2013 12:01PM UTC
I have a background in computer engineering and have been working and studying in the Information Technology environment for the past ten years. As a woman and mother, I am interested in advanced research for women and children, especially in relation to their education and health.
The area of education, and particularly education for young children, has interested me since my daughter started school and also after my postgraduate studies at the University of Adelaide. Through volunteering in the school system I have gradually noticed that our teachers and young students are facing various technological challenges. Since then, I have designed and developed many technology based programs for children’s education, however my activity in this area became more formal in 2011 when I joined UWA to undertake my PhD.
I introduced a new research project in the school of Computer Science and Software Engineering to investigate how teachers and students can use appropriate computer-based educational applications in the classroom to enhance mathematical achievement.
I strongly believe that mathematics is a language that we just need to know how to learn and teach. As a parent myself, I understand that not every child wants to be a mathematician – however, all children can benefit from strong mathematical skills to aid in decision making and increasing opportunity in their lives. In today’s competitive world, many careers require a strong mathematical foundation and technology skills. The aim of my current research is to motivate, engage and inspire young children to explore mathematical concepts through technology and real world events and settings.
As part of this project, I have designed and developed a novel application that, for the past six months, has been used for teaching mathematical concepts in primary schools with different socio-economic backgrounds around Western Australia. The feedback from mathematics educators, teachers and students has been overwhelmingly positive.
Also during the trial of the software in classrooms, I was inspired by the interest shown by young female students, not only in using the software for learning mathematics, but also in approaching the creator of the software. Their interest in talking to me as a female computer engineer regarding the process of the development of the software and future career opportunities in this area was very encouraging. In most schools, I had a group or individual conversations with young children regarding my professional computer science background and the process of design and development of the software in a very informal and understandable language.
I am still working on this interesting research and it is a pleasure to observe young children enjoying and learning mathematics through the technology in their classroom. I encourage children to not just be consumers of technology but also creators of technology as well.
If you require more information about the project or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on (08) 6488 2238 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my research website http://www.mymathstory.com/
Computer Science and Software Engineering
The University of Western Australia