Girl Geek Academy is at PauseFest 2018 – Australasia’s premier creative, tech and business event. We’ll be sharing our insights & takeaways here, but you can also follow along on Twitter!

New School Rules – A Panel On Driving Innovation in Education


How can education keep up with ever-changing technology?  How can technology improve education delivery?  Where is it helping, and where is it harming?

Here’s the highlights from each of these amazing educators.

The new generation is predicted to have 17 jobs over their lifetime – how can we encourage & guide them to make the right education decisions when they are young?

Daizy: Teach soft skills much earlier – skills like resilience, a curiosity to learn. These are what employers look for, because the tech skills can be taught.

Madeleine: Be more open to role models, because they are so powerful. You can’t be what you can’t see. Also stretching outside of thinking ‘I’m only good at one thing’ to avoid tunnel vision with your goals.

Sarah: Teaching our school career counsellors to keep connected to industry, and teaching kids to be comfortable with transition and change – if you work in tech your job description can change every 12 months, so we all need to get used to constant change.

What are some trends that you see in education?

Sarah: Micro-credentialing – we know the standard formal pathways, but there’s also value in the extracurricular activities and outside events (like meetups) that provide less formal education as well as social skills.  Also keeping primary & secondary teachers up to speed with what kids need before they hit uni.  It’s important to keep teachers open and upskilled – open up their world so they can open it up for their kids.  After the age of 9 most kids start to cement their idea of what they want to be when they grow up, so we want them to experience a variety of skills before that age.

Daizy: work integrated learning is an important trend, so the students are immersed in work before they graduate.

Madeleine: How much are students driving learning? They want immediacy, impact and immersion in education. Kids want to solve big problems.

Automation & AI is predicted to disrupt 800 million jobs – how does education play a part with robots joining our workforce?

Sarah: Personally I welcome our robot overlords.

Madeleine:  Robots are only as smart as we train them to be, so they will never completely replace us. It will just evolve the workplace, like computers did.

Daizy: If robots make repetitive tasks obsolete & free us up for more creative work it’s a good thing!

Where are the Aussie kids at with education?

Sarah: The Digital Technologies curriculum is announced, but there’s a lag – now the question is how do we teach the teachers & keep their current to what’s going on in the industry?  Really we are asking teachers to learn what we are learning right now in the industry – adults & kids are in the same situation.  Drones are a great example – an 8 year old and a 33 year old are learning about them at the same time.



Is traditional education dead?

Madeleine: No, but traditional education providers need to learn to redefine their value – like looking at human centred design.

Daizy: Deakin’s cloud campus is bigger than real life campus, but the cloud students still like using the physical facilities. So there is a place for both.

Sarah: When we teach kids at #MissMakesCode they want to know – why should I learn this?  They’re not interested in learning something just because they are told to.  Having something that is ‘cool’ is as important as what we are teaching to keep kids engaged.



How do games & eSports fit into education?

Madeleine: Gaming does require critical thinking, creativity, teamwork – it’s not all bad. But moderation is key.

Sarah: We can’t ignore the social skills developed in multiplayer games as well – kids are developing entire social networks online, and for those who may be isolated in real life that can be a huge benefit and worth encouraging.


If you don’t have tech skills can you still be an entrepreneur?

Sarah: Absolutely! We have our Hacker Hipster Hustler guidelines, which align with the curriculum pillars of algorithmic thinking, design thinking and systems thinking.

Madeleine: Entrepreneurs just find a good problem to solve. The best entrepreneurs are incurably curious, and can always hire in the tech help they need.

Jeanette: It’s better to do what you’re great at rather than working hard to be better at your weaker skills.

Final advice from the panelists

Sarah: Be brave. You’re going to screw it up – we’re all learning, if you’re not failing you’re not learning.

Daizy: Educators need to keep learning new methods of educating, be open to feedback and show enthusiasm to keep students interested.

Madeleine: Keep sharing stories, keep talking in human ways, and remember real world learning happens in the real world – so if you can’t learn it in a classroom, get out into the real world and learn it there.


Thanks to all the panelists for a great discussion!