I am not going to lie, not all presentations across Macquarie have me bouncing off the walls about attending. This statement could be said before a certain university event I was invited to last week, however after said event, my tune has changed.
If you weren’t already familiar, LEAP (Learning, Education, Aspiration and Participation) is a program here at Macquarie aimed at ‘raising aspirations and creating possibilities’ for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in Higher Education.
This year LEAP ran a Digital Literacy Pilot Program after winning a grant through the Commonwealth’s Higher Education Participation Program. Written by Raewyn Burden and Julia Watters of the Widening Participation Unit, the program is now funded to be piloted with high schools in regional and remote areas.
The program includes three parts, a teacher workshop, a student on-campus day including a lecture on Cyber Security and Digital Criminology by Dr Angela Irwin, a tour of the university’s simulation lab and a workshop session where the students could work on their own projects.
The third part was a presentation day (the very event I was invited to) where students from participating schools, Bankstown Senior College and Granville Boys High, could present their projects and ‘show off’ their learning through the program. There were 6 PowerPoint presentations on a variety of topics, including World War, disease outbreaks and swooping magpies. One PowerPoint presentation had, fittingly appropriate, trance music to accompany a presentation on swooping magpies, while another presentation was a ‘low budget’ advertisement for a gaming ad, made by the boys themselves. On the whole, each presentation was entertaining (and in some cases hilarious*) to watch, but it was also refreshing to see school students take to something outside their curriculum with such enthusiasm.
Well done to the team from the Widening Participation Unit for a) creating such a workable and successful pilot program and b) putting on such a captivating presentation. I will definitely be reassessing all university invites from now on.
To learn more about LEAP, visit their page here, alternatively contact Raewyn Burden, firstname.lastname@example.org