BOMA fellowship awarded to Ara computing tutor

News News & events

19 Dec 2018

An innovative computing tutor from Ara Institute of Canterbury has been awarded an exciting fellowship opportunity for 2019, which will support him to create a hands-on digital technology project for secondary school students.

Josh Hough is one of 10 motivated secondary school educators in Canterbury to receive a Boma New Zealand Education Fellowship, which includes a trip to the United States in April to experience project-based learning in action at High Tech High in San Diego and Stanford University.

Ara computing tutor Josh Hough works with secondary school students, delivering digital technology programmes, which a Boma fellowship will help him to expand.

“I’m really looking forward to it. My project still needs to be defined a little bit, but at the moment I’m thinking of possibly doing something with Artificial Intelligence,” Hough says.

Over the past two years Hough has worked with students from Christchurch high schools including Christchurch Boys, Shirley Boys, Mairehau, St Thomas of Canterbury College and next year Avonside Girls, each through an educational partnership with Ara.

Hough thinks the appeal of computing lies in its relevance to everyday life.  “Part of the attraction for students is not just learning cool, techy stuff, it’s also about doing things that can make their lives better, as well as those of other people, and contribute to society in useful ways.”

“Computing is becoming ever more pervasive, it’s in every industry. It’s one of those things that’s just growing all the time, so it’s great that we get to do our bit to prepare students to be a part of that,” he says.

As for whether computers will take over the world, Hough thinks people skills are irreplaceable.

“People will always be needed. Sure some jobs will disappear as the industry changes, but new jobs will be created that don’t even exist yet, and there will be new gaps for specialist skills too.”

“There’s a lot of jobs opening in software development and big data. There’s also a big demand for people who can work across diverse fields and understand how different technologies work together.”

In his Ara computing classes, Hough is currently working through NCEA standards with his students, exploring such topics as the Internet of Things, a concept of device interconnectedness.

“It’s a multi-faceted convergence of different technologies. For example, maybe your fridge might talk to your smart watch and tell you that your drink is now chilled. We try to contextualise the learning around topics that are actually future relevant and will be useful to this tech-savvy generation.”

“Of course we discuss the obvious things like designing useful websites, which is well worthwhile, but we’re also getting students thinking along the lines of how we can develop something for a city to actually enrich people’s lives.”

This is the kind of creative thinking that Boma wants the Fellows to develop through their personal research projects which will explore how exponential technology can transform learning outcomes for their students and wider school communities.

Boma New Zealand founder and Chief Executive Officer Kaila Colbin says, “We feel both privileged and excited to offer the Education Fellows programme. As educators, the Fellows are already on a mission to transform learning for young people. Our ambition is to turbo-charge that mission and support them to have the biggest possible impact on the next generation.”

Caption: Ara computing tutor Josh Hough works with secondary school students, delivering digital technology programmes, which a Boma fellowship will help him to expand.

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Breeze Robertson BA
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