ELSA team recognised by University of Canberra for their efforts to engage and inspire
The Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) team won the University of Canberra’s (UC’s) research award for Distinction in Engagement and Impact last week in recognition of their efforts and achievements including attracting more than $8 million in Federal Government funding over the past two years to develop and implement a national pilot program (featuring six digital apps) to 100+ preschool services.
The 2019 UC Research and Teaching Excellence awards were held at the Ann Harding Conference Centre on 18 November, with the following ELSA team members receiving the award:
- Centenary Professor Tom Lowrie – Project Lead
- Matt Bacon – Project Manager
- Assistant Professor Tracy Logan
- Assistant Professor Kym Simoncini
- Ross Hope – Digital Coordinator
- Amanda Levido – Communication Coordinator
- Garrett Lommatsch – Data Scientist.
Assistant Professor Tracy Logan also won an individual award for her contribution to the Faculty of Education as an early career researcher.
The key achievements that led to the ELSA team winning the award for Distinction in Engagement and Impact include:
- Demonstrating “initiative and savvy” in the pursuit of engagement with the industry (sic) and government bodies. A cornerstone of this engagement was the ELSA Symposium held at the University of Canberra’s Inspire centre in October 2018. More than 80 delegates attended, including industry and government stakeholders, as well as ELSA educators from across the country.
- In order to distinguish ELSA from other ‘educational apps’ for children in the marketplace, the team has taken novel approaches to engagement, such as holding numerous professional development workshops for participating educators, and developing more than 100 off-app activities for the program including 4 picture books, board games, card games, and ELSA character plush toys.
- Recently, the ELSA team engaged the services of Play School presenter Luke Carroll to star in six short videos to engage industry (sic), government, organisations, educators and families in the ELSA program. The videos will be released later this year, accompanied by a full press and promotions campaign.
- Developing an online Community of Practice for the 100+ ELSA educators, allowing educators to connect and share examples of how they are implementing the ELSA program in their context.
- The success of the 2018 ELSA Pilot resulted in the ELSA team securing a further $2.2 million from the Department to extend the pilot into 2019.
- Impacting the long-term teaching practices of early learning educators by broadening their STEM knowledge and increasing their teaching capacity.
- ELSA’s research productivity in early childhood education has attracted the interest of the Australian Children’s Education & Care Authority (ACECQA), the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Apple, Samsung and Questacon.
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