Meet our champs | Community Digital Champions
We currently have 82 active Digital Champions.
We currently have 82 active Digital Champions.
18 October, 2019
Leading by example to boost digital literacy in the bush
Alison Shaw is a passionate advocate for digital technology. In her work at the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council and as owner and director of local retail business Tambo Teddies, Alison is recognised as an inspirer, always looking for innovative ways to get results using digital technology.
Alison understands that retail in drought-affected communities remains challenging. At the same time, she is driven by a desire to boost the digital literacy of regional small business owners, helping them to become digitally savvy.
Alison supports business owners in her region to attract new customers and revive their businesses through the use of online platforms. She mentors them in the development of digital strategies, modelling them on the successful Tambo Teddies’ digital strategy which includes:
a functional website that allows online purchasing
weekly posts on Google My Business
Google AdWords campaigns
social media – Facebook, Instagram
online listings – TripAdvisor, Bing
online shops with eBay
an online accounting system
a Google 360° view in store
online videos of the shop and products to tell the business story.
Alison uses Tambo Teddies as a real-life example of what can be done with digital technology to promote and run a business. Her hands-on experience means she can share her successes and highlight pitfalls with some authority.
Alison was first recognised as a Community Digital Champion in 2016. As a continuing Champion she will continue to volunteer her time to mentor local business owners, helping them to claim their online profiles and improve their digital presence. Through her work at the council, she will continue to promote the region as a tourism destination via two different tourism initiatives, both of which have a strong digital focus and aim to assist local businesses to achieve improved outcomes.
Alison is nominated by: Blackall-Tambo Regional Council
22 October, 2019
Helping people enter the digital world
Located in Toowoomba
Andras Csabai is a valued member of Toowoomba’s East Creek Community Centre, coordinating all its IT functions. But it’s what Andras does for the centre above and beyond his core role that makes him remarkable.
Andras finds a strong purpose in helping those who are hesitant to tackle the digital world. He has a strong passion for technology and shares this knowledge with those who want to share in its benefits.
He initially started by working one-on-one with people, sensitively helping them to navigate through the myriad of internet options, which is part of his passion. He develops a strong rapport with his clients and empowers them to try more ambitious digital tasks. His passion for all things technology is evident in his enthusiasm to share his knowledge and espouse the benefits of being online.
After hours, Andras provides voluntary digital support via telephone or email. Where appropriate, he visits clients at their homes to facilitate their learning. If he can’t solve the problem on the spot, he will do research at home and return with the solution.
Andras freely gives extra hours to host small workshops and provide tuition by telephone, to assist seniors to be more digitally savvy.
Time and research helped Andras to understand the fears that keep seniors away from technology and led him to develop his own approach for encouraging and supporting them to access more services online. He develops strong rapport with clients and doggedly searches for accessible and easy solutions for them.
- Weekly one-on-one computer training sessions, educating the client on the specific area of technology they have chosen (such as iPad or email use) or troubleshooting any issues they have to help them access online services.
- On a monthly basis, visiting clients in their home when transportation or mobility issues prevent them from coming to the centre, to provide instruction and troubleshooting. Designed for both groups and individuals.
Andras is nominated by East Creek Community Centre
22 October, 2019
Inspiring others in the adoption of ICT, since 1959
Ann Moffatt forged an exciting career as a woman ahead of her time and a leader in her field. An early adopter of ICT, she has professional experience as a programmer, analyst, designer, project manager and company manager, as well as serving on several company boards. Now as a retiree, she is inspiring her local community to understand the benefits of ICT to regional communities.
Ann started work in the information technology industry in 1959 as a programmer for Kodak. In the 1960s while working with the FI Group in the UK she pioneered the concept of teleworking; by the time she left the company she was in charge of 400 professional staff – all working from home.
Ann moved to Australia in 1974, where she worked as an IT executive at AMP Society from 1975 until 1987. She was the only female executive until 1986.
From 1987 until 1988 Ann was National Development Manager for ASX. She had a key role in integrating the state-based stock exchange applications into one integrated system to serve the new national ASX. She was one of a team of three people who developed the National Strategic Plan for ICT to take the ASX into the 21st Century.
In 1989, Ann was appointed Director of the Institute of Information Technology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Ann founded Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications (FITT) in 1990 as a self-help/support group for females in ICT. It now has over 5,000 members.
In 1993, together with staff from UNSW, Ann created Technology Solutions – a virtual office delivering IT services to businesses. The company grew to 100 staff with an annual revenue of $4 million.
In 2001, Ann retired to Hervey Bay where she continues to lead her community. Her past initiatives have included:
- a series of tech talks in Hervey Bay, bringing top technology speakers from all over Australia to share their knowledge
- establishing and managing the FACTOREE – operating from 2003-09 - the Fraser Area Communications & Technology Open Resource Education Enterprise in partnership with USQ, Wide Bay Institute of TAFE and the Department of State Development
- establishing the Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School (SCXCS) in 2015, to teach programming to students in regional and rural Australia.
Ann was the first woman inducted into the Australian ICT Hall of Fame in 2002. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by USQ in 2006 and inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2015, Microsoft listed her as one of 10 Australian innovators for her pioneering work and advocacy for teleworking.
Ann was first recognised as a Community Digital Champion in 2016. As a continuing Champion, her focus will remain on her work with the community:
- advising on ICT issues
- delivering ‘tech talks’
- teaching about PC security issues through U3A and neighbourhood watch
- teaching young people in her region to code
- mentoring students and local business people on opportunities in ICT.
Ann is nominated by: Hervey Bay Computer Club
22 October, 2019
Promoting independence and social inclusion in community care
Anne Livingstone combines more than 35 years in the community service sector with her passion for innovation and digital inclusion and contributes both in her day job and as a volunteer.
She is dedicated to helping the sector embrace the power of digital technology. Of particular interest is how digital inclusion can improve the quality of social supports and services, and how special needs groups can be better supported through better digital inclusion.
Anne is the Research and Development Lead for an Australian-based company called Global Community Resourcing. She is based in South East Queensland’s city of Redlands but her work reaches across Queensland, including into rural and remote communities and special needs groups, as well as nationally and internationally.
She contributes through roles that include Chair, Co-Chair, Director and Board Member to a variety of Queensland and social support committees, councils and networks, including those with a focus on enabling technologies. These include Queensland Organising Committee for International Congress on Smart Homes and Health Telematics meetings and Technology in Aged Care meetings.
Anne’s voluntary work also includes contributions to the World Science Festival in Brisbane, National Science Week, Queensland Community Care Smart Assistive Technology Collaborative state-wide activities, digital inclusion forums, social media posts and innovative digital inclusion projects.
Anne was first recognised as a Community Digital Champion in 2016. As a continuing Champion, her future planned activities include:
- continuation of state-wide roadshows and awareness-raising of the role digital inclusion will play in more inclusive and engaged communities. This will include visits to very remote and rural areas of Queensland
- a state-wide digital inclusion project which will engage with special needs groups and older Queenslanders
- continuation of a digital inclusion blog — www.digitallyincluded.com.au(External link)
- a series of events including innovation lunches and conferences highlighting the role digital inclusion needs to play
- coordination of a network of other digital champions who have interest in similar areas in health and community care
- engaging with a number of leading international experts in this area and sharing lessons learnt and successful projects through the production of webinars and resource materials.
Anne is nominated by: Australian Academy of Technical Sciences and Engineering
22 October, 2019
Creating a future of women coders
Located in Brisbane
Anwesha Chatterjee is passionate about engaging women about technology. With a drive to inspire others to explore IT as a career pathway, Anwesha strongly encourages women to learn coding and programming skills.
Anwesha’s enthusiasm for computer programming started in her high school years in India, finding the language of computers interesting and refreshing to learn. Moving to Brisbane to further her computing studies, Anwesha discovered there were few women in her IT classes; an environment unparalleled to educational settings she had experienced in India. Aspiring to improve gender diversity in the tech industry, Anwesha has since dedicated her time to providing the female mentorship she once sought.
In addition to her work as a software engineer at Red Hat, Anwesha dedicates a large amount of time to mentoring others on their digital journeys. She has volunteered as a mentor with CoderDojo, an organisation that teaches young people coding skills in a fun, creative environment. She was also a judge in the FIRST LEGO League, a competition for children to design, build and program robotics.
As a Community Digital Champion, Anwesha plans to grow the number of women participating in coding by:
- leading soft-skills workshops to support women to enhance their confidence within the IT industry
- supporting Tech Girls are Superheroes to help girls build confidence with technology and learn hands-on entrepreneurial skills.
Anwesha is nominated by: Node Girls Australia
22 October, 2019
Providing coding opportunities to everyday people
Brendan passionately believes that given the opportunity, nearly everyone has the ability to learn how to code. He also believes it is an essential 21st century skill required by anyone looking to participate in the digital economy.
As a result, at the start of 2017 Brendan founded the not-for-profit start-up IT etc. Training with fellow Community Digital Champion Paul Buckby. Its aim was to provide people with the opportunity to learn quality, industry-relevant coding skills to enable them to participate in the digital revolution. With no entry requirements and no course-fees, the training removed barriers that restricted access to traditional learning.
Based in Brisbane at the State Library of Queensland, with classes running on Saturdays, it was a success from the start with every eight-week, challenge-style course oversubscribed.
Now operating through newly founded social enterprise, “Just Coding”, Brendan continues to deliver coding challenges, expanding on the original vision of IT etc. Training in 2018 and beyond. The State Library of Queensland supports these trainings to be delivered in their business studio.
Through his free workshops with Just Coding, Brendan aims to create a community around learning IT, which empowers people by providing them with encouragement, support and modern, innovative learning methods. Just Coding is committed to re-inventing how and where people acquire IT skills.
Prior to starting IT trainings, Brendan taught IT at TAFE for more than 10 years – specifically in software and web development. He also worked at Careers Australia developing their online web development course. Working in the education sector opened his eyes to the unlimited opportunities for people to rise to the challenge of the technological revolution. He became passionate about finding ways for ordinary everyday people to access free, quality, relevant IT education.
As a Community Digital Champion, Brendan will continue to deliver learn-to-code training courses and will explore new ways to equip people with industry skills that will allow them to succeed in the rapidly changing digital environment and job market.
Brendan is nominated by: State Library of Queensland
22 October, 2019
Motivating young people to engage with technology
Brent Neale is a Mackay based web developer who is inspiring young people to learn to code and realise the potential of technology. Brent also uses his vast knowledge of technology to support local businesses in developing their online footprint.
Learning on the job as a web and graphic designer sparked Brent’s passion for web design and development. Early days spent shadowing experienced developers spurred Brent to pass on the gift of mentoring that set him on his pathway.
Brent now champions the CoderDojo program in Mackay, a volunteer-led movement of free coding clubs for children. He teaches young people the skills to build their own website, create smartphone apps and develop games. Brent has begun developing a coding program for adults with the hope of expanding knowledge of web design across generations.
As well as sharing his coding skills, Brent works with not-for-profit organisations to create and maintain websites and generate an online presence.
As a Community Digital Champion, Brent will educate others on computer programming by:
- partnering with community co-working hub Split Spaces to deliver CoderDojo workshops for young people to learn basic coding skills
- developing WordPress webinars to teach small businesses how to create a website and demonstrate the benefits of creating a digital footprint
- expanding his coding workshops to engage adults in website basics and guide the development of their first website.
Brent has worked as a digital marketing and IT manager, and founded his own company, Digital Crayon which helps businesses with web-based marketing, development and cloud-based infrastructure. He is an active member of the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA).
Brent is nominated by: Split Spaces
22 October, 2019
Combining Japanese language and digital technology
As a teacher of Japanese language at Brisbane State High School, Brianna Winsor is integrating digital technology with the schools’ curriculum and sharing her experience with other teachers along the way.
After studying Japanese in primary and high school herself, Brianna set off on an exchange year in Japan and returned to complete a Bachelor Degree in Language and Applied Linguistics and a Graduate Diploma in Education.
As a Japanese language teacher to Brisbane State High Schools’ Year 7–12 students, Brianna is proud to be one of the school’s Digital Learning Champions and has been inducted as an Apple Distinguished Educator – a global community of education leaders recognised for their outstanding work with Apple technology in and out of the classroom.
Initially, Brianna was overwhelmed at the thought of introducing iPads to her Japanese program. However, in less than one year she has transformed her classes to improve student engagement and outcomes, extend learning beyond the classroom and free-up more time to interact with and support students inside and outside of class.
As a Digital Learning Champion at Brisbane State High School, Brianna has also:
- helped other teachers improve their ability to use technology to enhance lessons for students including iTunesU, Showbie and Nearpod
- supported teachers to select and develop digital resources to transform learning experiences
- developed teachers’ capacity to plan and cater for individual learning needs through the integration of technology
- heightened teacher awareness of the possibilities for effectively using digital content and tools
- collaborated with teachers and school leaders to set, monitor and develop digital performance goals
- created #ClipsTips for language learners
As a Community Digital Champion, Brianna will continue to introduce digital technology to her classes, and mentor, tutor and coach fellow colleagues at Brisbane State High School and share with her wider community, including:
- meeting with other Brisbane State High School Digital Learning Champions and the Digital Committee to strengthen the school’s digital program
- meeting with and assisting ‘mentee’ teachers including classroom observations, team teaching and reflective conversations
- presenting at language faculty meetings to teach colleagues about digital tools and share strategies
- creating videos for student and parent information nights to promote digital technology in the classroom
- sharing classroom activities and pedagogical reflections through social media platforms such as Twitter.
Brianna is nominated by: Brisbane State High School
22 October, 2019
Bringing coding, robotics and STEM to the classroom
Located in Gladstone.
Carol Devney is a primary school teacher with a passion and commitment to bringing coding, robotics and STEM practices to the classroom and to her broader school community. She leveraged her teaching role as Digital Technologies Specialist Teacher at Gladstone Central State School to bring robotics to her town by being part of the Gladstone STEM Cluster. As one of the cluster leaders, Carol has helped coordinate two Gladstone Robotics Competitions for students.
Volunteering many hours of her time over and above regular school hours, Carol provides teacher training in the use of robotics in the classroom and as part of her robotics club. She runs weekly Code Club groups after school for Years 4-6.
In 2017 and 2018, she successfully assisted her school to bring the international robotics competition First Lego Leagueto Gladstone and was the head referee in the Robot Games section.
Carol works with local industry groups such as Queensland Alumina Limited and Rio Tinto Yarwun to link STEM professionals as mentors with students. She is recognised as a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy Digital Capitol Champion and has delivered professional development on EV3 design and programming to other teachers. This program allows students to design, build and program robots to bring real-world scenarios to life.
- Weekly after- school coding clubs for students covering topics on robot design and programming. These clubs have entered events such as the Gladstone Robotics Competition, the Premier’s Coding Competition, the Central Queensland Junior Robotics Competition in Rockhampton and the First Lego League tournament.
- Coordination of workshops to mentor students in STEM and develop STEM challenges with local industry professionals, cultivating and advancing links between industry and local cluster schools to the benefit of multiple organisations.
- Facilitating and contributing to annual events including Lego Mindstorm Robotics (part of the Gladstone Robotics Competition for which Carol is a referee) and the Gladstone Regional First Lego League.
Carol is nominated by Clinton State School
22 October, 2019
Helping small businesses to thrive in a digital environment
Hailing from a family of IT professionals, Chris Vella has been immersed in technology his whole life. Seeing his father run a successful IT business in Mackay exposed Chris first-hand to how technology can improve local businesses. It was this upbringing that ignited his passion for educating others about the benefits of using and adopting the latest technology.
Chris is a Senior ICT Systems Engineer at Mackay Regional Council who dedicates his spare time to providing IT services to individuals, small businesses and start-ups. As a pioneer member of the co-working innovation hub Split Spaces, Chris helps by managing all the IT requirements for the hub and keeps the space technologically active.
As President to Startup Mackay Inc, Chris helps foster the local startup ecosystem through the promotion of events and meetups, teaching members start-up and technology techniques, and helping local start-ups find investment to pursue their ideas. He also focuses on fostering technology and entrepreneurial skills through multiple youth initiatives. Chris recently joined as a committee member of the Mackay IT Network, a community group dedicated to promoting a strong and sustainable ICT industry in the Mackay-Whitsunday region, and is an active participant in Young Professionals (YP) Mackay.
As a Community Digital Champion, Chris will continue to educate others in the use of technology by:
- encouraging participation and providing mentorship at Startup Weekend and Startup Weekend Youth events, connecting people, teaching them how to develop a start-up, and encouraging them to learn new skills while collaborating with others
- mentoring young people in learning how to code as a volunteer CoderDojo tutor
- fostering a passion for technology and entrepreneurship through mentoring of youth and facilitation/support of events such as hackathons, think tanks and pitch nights
- volunteering his time at Split Spaces to provide IT services for start-ups and small businesses
- contributing to the Mackay IT Network Business Event by connecting businesses with local IT professionals to support their journey in becoming more tech savvy.
Chris is nominated by: Split Spaces
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