Interview with Matt Hall, Head of Technology, Mount Waverley Secondary College

Interview with Matt Hall, Head of Technology, Mount Waverley Secondary College

On September 17, three momentous events marked the Day of STEM calendar. The Cyber Victoria Schools Challenge (click here) was launched; Mount Waverley Secondary College became the first Cyber School and Matt Hall accepted the first Cyber Teacher certificate. Our Director of Education and Engagement, Renee Hoareau, went back to Mount Waverley Secondary College to speak with Matt and reflect on these markers.

Renee: Matt, can you tell us a little about your role at Mount Waverley Secondary College?

Matt: I am a specialist teacher, Visual Communication – Design and Technology and head up Technology.

Renee: What are your interests in teaching?

Matt: I have a passion for Technology, STEM, Arts and Design in general and their interconnection. I am an advocate of collaborative teaching. I am a Google Certified Educator. I am passionate about supporting students in choosing a career in STEM.

Renee: When was your first introduction to the Day of STEM?

Matt: I attended the Deakin University Teacher Briefing session. My motivation to attend was essentially to broaden my students’ experience in this new learning area of Cyber Science and technology. I also saw it as an opportunity on behalf of the Careers Advisor here at Mount Waverley as an extension into STEM career pathways.

Deakin University has been a supportive partner. A pivotal event in 2003 was the destruction of the whole school in a fire. The school moved to Deakin University until reparations were made. It’s incredible to think that happened when you are sitting here on a sunny calm day.

Matt: I really believe that there should be closer connections with local universities so students can transition well. That’s was one of the things I liked about the Day of STEM; giving students this insight into what these STEM careers are really about before you choose your pathway.

I am keen to help our students learn to be adept in a 21st century workplace, working collaboratively, communicating, problem solving; being an entrepreneur and being innovative; going for gold in terms of their aspirations.

I am working with teachers in my faculty on an elective ‘Designing for Tomorrow’ This will be a project based learning module. Students will use design thinking and work in teams. We want it be like a mini-university environment providing the freedoms to be independent and inquisitive learners. We will be setting up a space with Lego, Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, emerging and new technologies.

Renee: What is the impact of running your first Day of STEM program?

Matt: I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. The Day of STEM platform is high quality and considered, high level educational value. I like the way the concepts of gamification are applied in the Cyber Situation. There are many questions to answer. I was also impressed with the STEM resume. I can use it as a good talking a point with students. The Day of STEM content is quite rich. This is demonstrated by my students’ responses in a ‘wordle’ evaluation. Diverse responses means high quality and connects with students. It’s also easy to administer.

Renee: How did you find the Cyber Teacher professional learning program?

Matt: The Cyber Teacher program took me about 4 hours to complete. I think Cyber Teacher supports the teacher to assist students with the topic. It provides a means for the teacher and kids to learn together. The kids can have the opportunity to shine and know more than the teacher. It doesn’t matter when you are working together. Cyber is in the news every day. It is important for students to understand why and that it’s now a part of our thinking.

Renee: What was the best part of the Optus Cyber Security Experience?

Matt: Watching the students engagement lift then they realised it was a real world application.

This program provides real world learning. Stephanie, the year 10 student who spoke about her experience at the launch, never knew or considered deviating from being a Law student. She told the group that the program was brilliant, engaging, easy to use and perfect for those keen on being introduced to cyber security and the careers available. She now will consider combining her love of law with cyber security. Stephanie is a strong student in general. I encouraged her to explore other careers and the possibility of mixing disciplines. The program was also good to do for life skills, to help students examine their interconnected digital and how technology impacts their life.

Renee: What do you see as next steps?

Matt: We are taking a cross faculty, interdisciplinary approach and will work to integrate cyber across different subjects. Participating in the program lead to discussions in the other forums for e.g. in the Managed Individual Pathways (MIPS) -tertiary pathways- managed by Mount Waverley Careers Advisor and key STEM leaders. Everyone can access the technology at school.

Renee: Did you enjoy the Cyber Victoria Schools Challenge launch?

Matt: The breadth of speakers was great and it was apparent the speakers from the government, university and private sector have a genuine interest in getting kids aware and excited about the opportunities in cyber security.

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