Welcome to Stemiverse Podcast episode 47.

In this episode, Peter talks with Dr. Linda McIver.

Dr. Linda McIver started out as an Academic with a Ph.D. in Computer Science Education. When it became apparent that High School teaching was a lot more fun, Linda began a highly successful career at John Monash Science School, where she built innovative courses in Computational and Data Science for year 10 and year 11 students.

Nominated one of the inaugural Superstars of STEM in 2017, Linda is passionate about creating authentic project experiences to motivate all students to become technologically and data literate.

While Linda loves the classroom, it was rapidly becoming clear that teachers in the Australian School system were keen to embrace Data Science, but that there was a serious lack of resources to support that. That’s why Linda created ADSEI – to support Data Science in education.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 47.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to txplore.com to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Dr. Linda McIver
[01:52] Welcome
[02:39] Dr. Linda McIver, Superstar of STEM, 2017
[02:49] Linda describes herself on her website’s About Me page as "a professional outlier"
[04:29] Linda’s childhood experiences as an outlier and her growth as a professional
[08:39] Linda's early experience with computer technology influenced her career by providing her with the self-assurance to succeed
[09:20] "The fear factor, I think, is the biggest thing that pushes people out of computing"
[09:40] When and how it occurred to Linda to become a teacher: Linda's journey from being an Academic to becoming a High School teacher at John Monash Science School
[11:32] Developing courses in Computational and Data Science for year 10 and 11 students
[11:49] Linda is "always interested in opportunities to promote social justice"
[12:12] How your "choice" not to immunise could kill
[13:20] Social Justice according to Linda
[15:04] Opportunities to promote Social Justice: Linda combined her two passions, Data Science and Social Justice into creating The Australian Data Science Education Institute, a registered charity/non-profit organization
[16:18] About the Australian Data Science Education Institute - Promoting Data and Scientific Literacy
[20:20] The importance of distinguishing and also presenting valid data
[21:23] What is Data Science?
[22:19] The MRI example and an fMRI cautionary tale regarding data
[26:51] Examples where Data Science application is changing our everyday lives
[32:53] Knowledge set and skills required to be a Data Scientist - How transferable are those skills? - Critical thinking
[34:49] Professor Geoff Webb's example
[37:49] Stemiverse Episode 0033 - Tim Mendham
[38:10] The difference between Computer Science and Data Science
[39:56] The difference between a Data Scientist and a Data Science Educator
[40:42] What being a Superstar of STEM means to Linda, and what it entails
[44:07] Authentic Project Experience
[44:36] The ROI from teaching Data Science and Critical Thinking
[45:46] The Israeli Parole Board Study
[47:27] The 'Data Science for High Schools' Workshop

[52:23] Rapid Fire Questions
[52:26] Linda's Favorite Programming Language: Python
[53:45] Linda's Book Recommendations: [54:52] Productivity and efficiency tips by Linda: “Be different”
[57:08] Advice to Educators just starting out: “Try new things”
[58:21] Linda's Contact Information: Twitter, Email
[58:51] Data mining and social manipulation