School of Computing and Information Technology researcher Dr Holly Tootell was one of 12 speakers at the Soapbox Science Sydney 2020 event held as part of National Science Week (15 – 23 August 2020).

The event had many opportunities for the public to be involved, with organisers encouraging people to ask questions, probe and interact with the leading female researchers featured.

Professor Jennifer Martin, UOW’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at UOW was keen for UOW to be involved again after last year’s success with 2 of our researchers selected for the inaugural 2019 Soapbox Sydney event at Circular Quay Sydney.

“As one of the first universities in Australia to have been awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Institution Award from Science in Australia Equity (SAGE), I am very proud that 4 of our STEM researchers were selected in this year’s Soapbox Science Sydney. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their research and engage with the public in such an innovative way under current social distancing measures. I really enjoyed watching them online and learning about their research,” said Prof. Jennifer Martin.

Drs Holly Tootell from EIS, and SMAH’s Jody Morgan, Natalie Matosin & Melinda Waterman were selected to participate as speakers for Soapbox Science Sydney

Holly delivered insights into her research on pre-school aged children and their educators as active participants in technology design processes. Topics on the night were wide-ranging from: “why do children that age need to be involved in the design”, to “do they give you useful answers?”.

Holly is motivated to work in this area to ensure we encourage positive technology interactions for both adults and children to ensure the discussions on the use of technology run deeper than “screen-time”. Drawing on Human-Computer Interaction theories and practices, and aligning them with early childhood education philosophies, this research seeks to bring new understanding into how young children can be included in technology design processes. This research is conducted with the support of UOW Global Challenges, in the JumpStart project which also includes Senior Professor Tony Okley, Dr Mark Freeman and Dr Grant Ellmers.

All 12 presentations from the night can be accessed online.