Western Sydney students add up the benefits of studying Maths and IT

More than eighty students from Western Sydney high schools have participated in an academic enrichment day that focused on Maths and IT at the University of Western Sydney’s Penrith campus.

Math IT 2011 provided students with hands-on experience across a range of exercises and challenges linked to maths and computing.

Manager of Schools Engagement at UWS, Anne McLean, says building interest and capacity in Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology is a priority area for the University’s Schools Engagement program.

“The event gives smart and talented young high school students the opportunity to explore maths and information technology in interesting and fun ways,” says Ms McLean.

“Often students don’t realise how many real-world applications these subjects have, or the number of rewarding careers they underpin."

“By giving students the opportunity to meet academics from computing and maths, and raising awareness of the exciting opportunities while they are still in the junior years of high school, we hope they will continue to enjoy these subjects and make them a focus leading into senior high school and beyond.”  

Dr Leanne Rylands, Senior Lecturer from the UWS School of Computing and Mathematics, presented a short talk about ‘Why Math IT?’.

Associate Professor Andrew Francis, Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Computing and Mathematics gave a keynote address on ‘Mathematics: the Language of the Universe.’

The Year 7 students were then split into groups and rotated through five 40 minute interactive activities with each group assigned a UWS student as a guide.

Activities were run by staff from the UWS School of Computing and Mathematics and included:

  • Rubik’s Cube: Patterns and Solutions
  • Maths 4 Graphics
  • Digitising the World
  • Artificial Intelligence in Virtual Worlds
  • The Mathematics Amazing Race

Ms McLean says the students had a great time and feedback from them and their teachers was excellent.

 “One of the most pleasing things about this event, both this year and last year when it was run for the first time, was that the students really understood the message that, to quote a participant,  ‘maths is behind pretty much everything if you dig deep enough’,” says Ms McLean.

“When students get to university they need maths for degrees not just in the sciences, engineering and accounting, but also in areas like marketing, nursing and international studies.”

“Fostering a deeper interest now in Maths and IT and showing students how important these areas are will benefit students in the future as they progress to further study and careers.”

Western Sydney schools participating in Maths IT 2011 were:

  • Blaxland High School
  • Cambridge Park High School
  • Caroline Chisholm College
  • Colyton High School
  • Greystanes High School
  • Norwest Christian College
  • Penrith Anglican College
  • Penrith High School
  • Xavier College


23 November 2011

Contact: Kristy Gleeson, Media Officer