Singleton teacher cracks the code with award win

A computer whizz is the latest teacher at Singleton Primary School to be awarded for outstanding achievement on a national platform.

Deputy Principal Yvonne Harrison was named the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) and Australian Computer Society (ACS) Leader of the Year at a ceremony in Sydney recently.

The award recognises Mrs Harrison’s contribution to the industry and leadership in developing programs to incorporate digital technologies in Australia.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted, I never thought in a million years that I’d win,” Mrs Harrison said.

“There’s so many other people doing great things out there.

“I’m not the kind of person who would put myself out there for an award but I have always been the kind of person to try new things and push the envelope.

“I started tinkering here in technology education right from the beginning 20 odd years ago and I’ve just kept reinventing the ideas as technologies changed.”

Colleague and maths guru Sheila Griffin also won a teacher excellence award at the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) Choose Maths Awards last term.

The much loved teacher at Singleton Primary was named the Outstanding Primary School Teacher at the event in Melbourne.

As well as her responsibilities in the classroom, Mrs Harrison volunteers her time after school to teach classes in Minecraft and CoderDojo.

She has also led the implementation of a number of digital initiatives, including Scratch and robotics.

“In the modern landscape, technology is really important in the classroom and we’re really using technology in a whole variety of different things here,” Mrs Harrison said.

“There’s a lot of reports out there on the future of work, in particular from the Foundation of Young Australians, that point to the most important skills that kids are going to need and coding is fundamental.

“It’s not just the coding side of things but the people skills that accompany them, because the kids are involved in making decisions and negotiations with other people along the way.

“That’s how society works and that’s how we need to be producing our kids for the future and coding is a part of that now.”

Mrs Harrison added that technology provides a new arena in which students can excel.

“It’s really important that kids get their opportunity to shine,” she said.

“Often it’s the quiet and quirky children and some children with disabilities that shine in this area and it’s great for them to have a strength to work to and utilise.”