‘Google education evangelist’ Jaime Casap used education to battle his way out of a childhood of hardship in New York’s famed Hell’s Kitchen to get to the forefront of technology giants Google’s education program.
On Thursday Mr Casap dropped into Tamworth to address over 1850 students from all over NSW and Queensland on what the future might hold for them at the UNE’s Future of Work seminar at the TRECC.
“One of my favourite things to do is talk directly to students – talking to them about the future, what they should focus on – it is something I wish I had when I was growing up so I am excited to do that,” he said.
“When you talk about the future you talk about digitalisation – technology, computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning – they are all impacting all industries, all businesses around the world and that is here to stay.
“So we need to think about how do those things compliment some of the things we do as humans, and how can they work together.”
The seminar also included talks about how the UNE is preparing for the future, while a range of stalls were also set up with people from different faculties and areas of the university on hand to talk to students.
While Mr Casap is more than aware that education systems must change with the times, he stressed that he is definitely not an educational reformist, and the reason for that is simple.
“I am not one of those education reformers that talks about education systems being broken, because I can’t,” he said.
“It worked for me, and it has worked for lots of us – I was able to make it out of my situation and my community because of education, which is why I am so passionate.
“So we need to take the best ideas and then ask ourselves how we use what is available for us today to bring education to the next level.
“These kids in Tamworth today have more access to information and more computing power than Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin) had when they created Google – so the next big company can come from right down the street.”