EDUTECH DISRUPTHER

“We’re living in a digital world and this is where the jobs of the future will be. Young people need to be focused on future proofing.”

MARY-LOU o’BRIEN

“After launching one of Australia’s first fully online retail businesses, I discovered I was one of the few people in Australia with e-commerce skills. So, I went back to university and did a Masters in e-business and was later invited back as a lecturer. My involvement in tech grew from there. I’m not highly technical, I came in sideways and learnt from the ground up.

I’m a disruptHER because I’m passionate about seeing more women in STEM. When you look at AI and data bias, this has evolved from the majority of computer and data scientists being male. This is problematic as they’re obviously not accounting for half of the population.

It’s also a challenge because we’re living in a digital world and this is where the jobs of the future will be. Young girls need to be focused on future proofing. Working in girls’ schools previously and having two daughters of my own, it is encouraging to see more and more young women considering STEM careers as viable options.

There are many challenges for the education system currently and the biggest debate recently has been the banning of devices in schools. Mobile devices have become integral to our lives and banning them makes schools negligent to students operating in the digital world and preparing them for the future.

Educators need to be wholly focussed on preparing students for the future of work, but the sector in general has been slow to adapt, particularly Higher Education. We need to lift our game as young people are beginning to take ownership of their own learning, pursuing personalised learning through online platforms, MOOCS and micro-credentials and won’t accept a 52 slide powerpoint as a learning platform. This is an exciting challenge for the education sector as we begin to see new roles in Schools appear such as Instructional Designers, Chief  Digital Officers and Academic Coaches.

To me, s p a c e is a great opportunity to work alongside an eclectic group of Australians, to give people a voice and to be the force for change.”

Check out the rest of the s p a c e guest list or connect with Mary-Lou on LinkedIn

*Interview and write-up- s p a c e storyteller, Sian Gooden

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