Educators applauded for connection with community
TWO Gladstone educators have been recognised for connecting their careers with their local community.
Research Fellow Dr Linda Pfeiffer and Bachelor of Learning and Teaching student Paula McDonald received CQUniversity Opal Awards for Engagement on November 20.
Ms McDonald, who has just completed her third year of her Bachelor of Learning Management, said her project began with volunteering as a tutor for the ARTIE: Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education program.
As a coordinator of the program, she's been working with Former Origin Greats Queensland to take football heroes into schools, and provide ongoing support to engage Indigenous students at Toolooa State High School and Gladstone State High School.
"When I started, it was the first time the program had used volunteer tutors for the students, and the results were just great," Paula said.
Attendance by program participants has increased by up to 10% at the schools, and Gladstone and Toolooa have achieved the best results of participating schools statewide.
Ms McDonald now has a paid position with the ARTIE program, and will defer her study next year to continue in the role.
"When I started my study, I hadn't really considered Indigenous education as a career path - but volunteering with ARTIE has definitely decided my direction!" she said.
Dr Pfeiffer worked with a CQUniversity team to develop a Digital Classroom for secondary school students, aimed at increasing participation in maths and science.
The project delivered three online lessons around human anatomy for year nine and 10 students, with blended learning to engage the students in experiencing radiography and sonography equipment.
Her role included monitoring the students' interest and engagement, using video, interviews, and technology.
While the pilot project was delivered in Mackay, in coming months the sessions will be delivered at every school around the state, and Dr Pfeiffer said it was a win for students across Queensland.
"This project has given me a real insight into classroom activities, you could just see how the students were soaking up the information, once they were given the chance to take it away from a computer screen, and actually see the science close-up," she said.
CQUniversity's Opal Awards recognise staff and students who are engaging with local community to provide education, research and service that is meaningful and relevant to locals.
The 2014 ceremony saw dozens of CQUniversity staff and students from across Australia honoured with a total of 10 Opal Awards.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Pierre Viljoen said the community projects were both diverse and innovative.