The event provided an opportunity to explore views on the link between education and teaching with the evolving technological environment, with insights into how government and industries are helping shape education and curriculum. The event was well supported with standing room only as Dr Ian Opperman (CEO and Chief Data Scientist NSW Data Analytics Centre DAC), Scott Thomson (Executive Director NSW Department of Education) and Professor Maurice Pagnucco (Deputy Dean of UNSW Engineering) provided thoughts on this exciting space.
The first speaker, Scott Thomson, who leads project teams responsible for delivering NSW Department of Education IT services to students and staff shared his first hand experiences of how the 1.2 million students currently in NSW are witnessing a change from content consumption to content collaboration with the availability of online data being identified as a catalyst for this evolution. This was also reflected in the thoughts of Professor Maurics Pagnucco, who outlined that through digital forums, portals and social media students are now frequently collaborating by sharing information and course feedback which is having a positive impact on their education as well as course providers.
Dr Ian Opperman provided the Key Note, who discussed ideas regarding how he envisages data supporting decision making in education by sharing real world examples of how citizen privacy and human bias in data collection is continually having to be considered in the work of the NSW Data Analytics Centre. Ian also provided an insight into how “Through data we are able to analyse the past to help improve the future”.
James Miller who was recently seconded to work with colleagues from the UK relating to a large data architecture and transformation programme commented:
“Technology and data is continually transforming the way people do business, and changing consumer habits with the creation of digital marketplaces where on many occasions no physical goods or services are ever purchased. Ensuring this data is interoperable and available in a format that can be consumed by millions of services across the globe is key. Overall, it was a very thought-provoking morning and it was particularly interesting to hear the impact this is having on not only the skills required in the modern workforce but also the challenges that need to be overcome to continually provide relevant training and education in schools, universities and industry”.