June 11 2013, Canberra: Early high school is the critical time in which to engage teenagers in Science, Maths and Technology, according to detailed research from the University of Canberra’s Education Institute into teenagers views and use of Technology.
Dr Nick Tate, President of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), welcomed the research findings: "The ACS has long been calling on curriculum policy makers to focus more on technology education. The ACS commissioned this research in the national interest to address the alarming decline in interest among students in maths and sciences."
University of Canberra’s Dr Karen Macpherson who oversaw the ACS research project said the research highlighted a mismatch between the number of students who are interested in ‘how computers work’, the lower numbers of students who are interested in ‘studying Technology’ and the growing prevalence of Technology in our lives.
"Interest in how Technology works declines after the early high school years. Australia has a clear opportunity to interest more students in ICT if we engage with them at around 12-14 years of age," Dr Macpherson said.
"Further, there is a gap in young people’s understanding of the varied range of work available in ICT careers, and their stated ambitions of working in interesting and well-paid jobs that ‘make a difference.’ We need to provide learning opportunities to students that ‘join the dots’ between their general career objectives, and what ICT and science careers can offer them," Dr Macpherson added.
The research also yielded interesting findings about how the "average" teenager spends their time after school. When looking at activities undertaken over a period of several days, spending time with family ranked first; followed by doing homework; watching television; doing jobs around the house; spending time doing a hobby; playing sport; seeing friends; and reading. Interestingly "going on Facebook" and "playing computer games" ranked 9th and 10th on the list.
A summary of the report is available at www.acs.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/19025/ACS-Report-into-Teenagers-and-ICT-University-of-Canberra-2013.pdf
Adam Redman, Australian Computer Society, 0416 800 441
Ed O’Daly, University of Canberra, 02 6201 2441
About the Australian Computer Society
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The Society exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT to be recognised as a driver of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.