Monday, 13 August 2012

The bad and the good

Work has been pretty crazy over the last, well, 7 months or so. I think I can trace it back almost exactly to a point 2 weeks after returning from my Christmas holiday, since which point I've basically been constantly behind what I needed to do. At the moment I'm neglecting my paper reviewing duties, as well as a few hangover things from tidying up last semester's course. I'm fortunate enough to not be coordinating any courses this semester, but that will be more than made up for by my service duties.

Sometimes, though, there are some things that make it worthwhile. On Saturday I went along to serve as a judge at Young ICT Explorers, a competition held at UQ for primary and high school students. The competition, which has been running for a few years now, sees groups of students from grades 4 through to 12 present projects they have been working on over the last year. I served as a judge last year and was really impressed by so many things about the day: the quality of the students' work, their enthusiasm for working with ICT, and the number of students participating (and especially the number of girls participating - ICT needs more girls!). So I was keen to come back and help out again this year.

This year I was judging with Dan Angus, another lecturer from ITEE (actually a joint appointment with the school of journalism), and Mithila, a student in our multimedia and design degree. We had 7 projects to judge, but one didn't show, so we made very good time getting around talking to the students. The first five projects were pretty good, and once provoked, the students were enthusiastic about telling us what they'd enjoyed, what they'd found hard, and why they were proud of their work.

The sixth project was by just one girl, who had made a website providing maths and english exercises for other year 6 students. She had clearly put a lot of work into it, had thought about why it was useful, and had done a bunch of other things such as making a maths game with some quite well thought-mechanics linked to her theme. She was our pick as the best project we saw, and wound up in a tie for first place in her category.

Before the presentation of the awards, I heard she'd been having a cry because she'd had such a good day. Knowing that she was about to get some more good news, I was just so excited, and sure enough she had another cry when she was called up on stage. It was such a good feeling to be able to give her the acknowledgement she deserved for her hard work, and to see how happy it made her.

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