Fostering Interest in Information Technology: Running a Vacation School for Pre-university Students

Purchase, H. C. , Hussey, A., Brookes, W. and Leadbetter, D. (1997) Fostering Interest in Information Technology: Running a Vacation School for Pre-university Students. In: 2nd Australasian Conference on Computer Science Education, Melborne, Victoria, Australia, 2-4 July 1997, ISBN 0897919580 (doi: 10.1145/299359.299378)

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Fostering an interest in Information Technology (IT) in school students is important both for the IT industry and for universities: we therefore enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to hold an Information Technology vacation school for year 12 students in April 1996. Initiated and sponsored by the Australian Computer Society and Rotary International, the school enabled 60 secondary students who were in the process of making decisions about tertiary study to spend three days participating in a variety of computer-related activities at The University of Queensland Department of Computer Science, and experiencing life as a university student. The students developed skills in programming in Smalltalk, and using information systems and Internet resources. In addition, they visited other departments on campus and companies in the city to see a variety of uses of IT. We hoped to give the students the opportunity to make an informed decision about their future careers. A follow-up survey in early 1997 revealed that 80% of the students felt that attendance at the school helped them with their post-school career decisions. This paper describes our experiences with running the school: the program, components, feedback, and future plans. It was a very rewarding and worthwhile experience: we hope that this paper will encourage other universities to attempt similar programs.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Purchase, Dr Helen
Authors: Purchase, H. C., Hussey, A., Brookes, W., and Leadbetter, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science

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