Swinburne IT for social impact project wins international education award

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Dr Jason Sargent with PIEoneer award

Swinburne Information Systems lecturer Dr Jason Sargent (left) has coordinated the IT for Social Impact India project since 2014.

In summary

  • IT for Social Impact India project receives Real Life Learning award at the PIEoneer Awards
  • The project has been co-creating positive social impact in remote tribal India since 2014
  • It is funded under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan mobility program and supported by Swinburne Abroad

Swinburne’s IT for Social Impact India project has been globally recognised for work in the remote tribal Maharashtra State with this year’s Real Life Learning award at the PIEoneer Awards ‌in London.

The awards are hosted by an independent media organisation focusing on leaders and innovators in international education.

Swinburne Information Systems lecturer, Dr Jason Sargent, has coordinated the IT for Social Impact India study tour since 2014.

“This program enables IT, business, science and education students to turn theory to practice, practice to service and service into life,” Dr Sargent says.

“This award is a recognition of the contribution of the more than 40 project alumni who have journeyed with me and our guide Noel Blencowe of CERES Global.

“Over the course of the multi-year project to our home base in Pal we have worked to bring to life the project’s mission of co-creating positive social impact through the use of innovative technologies.

“There is no better example of real life learning. The project’s growing ‘family’ in Pal and surrounding villages are as excited about this award as we are and we cannot wait to share in celebrations with them.”

Indian students looking at tablet

The project will make its sixth visit to a remote tribal region in India in the Satpuda Ranges of Maharashtra State in December 2018. Students will work with project partners using technology to support education delivery in schools, community development and farm science projects.

Some of the technology used includes drones, virtual reality and robotics. This year a mobile digital classroom in a box will be deployed between more remote village schools where there is no internet and a ‘computer driver’s licence’ accreditation process will begin to address the digital literacy gap.

Past students have conducted gender equity workshops with female high school students in the village, created an online cookbook to support local children, and planted a friendship forest.

The IT for Social Impact India study tour is funded under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan mobility program and supported by Swinburne Abroad.

The awards are hosted by The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News. They began in 2017 and recognise innovation and achievement in international education.

A distinguished judging panel from across the field of international education selected the winners of 14 different award categories from a shortlist of 65 finalists representing 19 countries. All PIEoneer award winners were recognised at a ceremony on 7 September.

Swinburne’s project was selected from five finalists in the Real Life Learning award.