Bundaberg leads the state in technological innovation, with three of Queensland's new community digital champions from the region.
Government Minister Mick de Brenni announced the 19 new champions in Toowoomba yesterday.
The Bundaberg people recognised as Queensland digital champions are Damien Tracey, Regina John Luan and Geoff Augutis.
Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the trio and said it confirms the Bundaberg Region “punches above our weight” for innovation.
“We're the innovation capital of Queensland,” he said.
“From pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler to the young people who starred in the Mayor's Telstra Innovation Awards and everything in between, we're leading the way.”
The Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions program encourages Queenslanders to explore and enjoy the benefits of the digital age – through the stories and activities of inspirational champions.
Champions come from all walks of life and may represent an industry, community or demographic group in Queensland.
Digital Queensland says “these wonderful individuals are on a mission to make sure Queenslanders have the skills and confidence to be part of today’s global digital world”.
Bundaberg champion profiles
Delivering assistive technology solutions
Damien is passionate about advocating for people with assistive technology needs and has spent the last few years exploring the nexus between health and technology.
As CEO of Bundaberg not-for-profit charity Community Lifestyle Support (CLS), he and his team provide a wide range of NDIS and allied health services to people living with a disability.
Their objective is simple – to make life a little easier and loads more fun.
As part of this charitable enterprise, Damien has worked with countless like-minded partners to create the CLS Innovation Hub, a place that promotes wellness, skills enhancement and the sharing of ideas.
Whilst it may be a commercial hive of activity during the day, after hours Damien and his collaborators run free workshops and programs designed to build the technological capability of the Bundaberg community.
A critical part of the hub is the AT_Makerspace, a rapid hardware prototyping facility where people with shared interests in electronics and advanced manufacturing can gather to collaborate on innovative projects. The AT_Makerspace is part of a global network of Makerspaces across the globe, each one tailored to a specific topic, cause, or community need.
For Damien and his like-minded community collaborators, the AT_Makerspace embraces volunteerism and is focused on the research and development of assistive technology. This umbrella term includes assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities or the elderly. The group’s aim is to improve an individual’s functioning and independence. Damien actively volunteers his time and knowledge to organise, support and train at events.
Damien was instrumental in bringing the Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) assistive technology Makeathon to Queensland. Starting life in Israel, these three-day events are part of a global movement aimed at developing innovative technology solutions for people with disabilities. These events leverage the collective skills and knowledge of people living with a disability, makers, technology specialists, schools, universities and the general public to affect positive change through technology. Other uses for the AT_Makerspace include training workshops on 3D printing and digital literacy.
Crush Pop-Up Makerspace, held annually, giving people a chance to participate in a wide range of creative experiences and hands-on activities that combine the power of new technology with the wisdom of traditional methods.
TOM Queensland Makeathon and TOM Maker Long Weekend, both events are part of the TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers) global movement that is bringing together people with disabilities and makers to develop open source assistive technology to address everyday challenges.
A wide range of evening and weekend technology focused workshops designed to enhance the Bundaberg regions technological capability.
Best practice digital solutions in education
Geoff Augutis uses his considerable digital skills to empower and educate the wider Bundaberg community to become more innovative and invest in their futures through technology.
He regularly volunteers his time to provide consulting services to schools and training organisations about how to best implement technology in their school to reach learning outcomes. This includes the use of traditional computing products and today’s more interactive products such as touch screens and robotics. It is Geoff’s goal to give both staff and students advice and show them how to avoid poor or outdated technology that may impede teaching and learning.
He also works closely with key vendors including Apple, Microsoft and Samsung to deliver solutions that cater specifically to the individual client and their current and future circumstances.
Geoff was an active participant in the Digital Skills for all Queenslanders roadshow in 2017, advocating for the Bundaberg region. He also took part in the Fraser Coast Libraries Young Innovations Symposium, an event aimed at encouraging children to develop their entrepreneurial skills and learn more about digital technology. Additionally, he was a participant in the Crush Festival Queensland’s Mini Makerspace, providing children and families with an opportunity to participate in STEAM activities for free.
Geoff volunteers with the CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools program, which facilitates partnerships between schools and industry to bring real STEM into the classroom. He also works in partnership with Apple and other large digital companies to facilitate workshops free of charge.
Providing monthly one-on-one leadership mentoring to education professionals on how to implement a successful technology program in their facility. Programs range from device choice to complex requirements such as assisting in the design of their coding classes. He also increases the focus on STEM, with 3D printing, interactivity, drones and robotics.
Coding workshops held 2-4 times per year at local schools or libraries, with content ranging from coding basics to expert level programs. Often held in partnership with large technology organisations.
Geoff was nominated by Kepnock State School.
Regina John Luan
Putting digital media at everyone's fingertips
Regina John Luan is the digital media lecturer at Central Queensland University’s Bundaberg campus. Multimedia was her first insight into the power of digital technology and inspires her ongoing interest.
She has been a master trainer in Malaysia for the Smart School Technology program, which was created to show teachers how to embed digital technology into their lesson plans. She has also delivered free professional development for teachers called “Weaving technology into the fabric of the classroom”, which assists teachers to use robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality in their classroom.
As a staff member, Regina helps to inform and educate the community about digital media technology through a yearly workshop to high school students. Her research area is in technology-assisted authentic learning in digital media courses at higher education, which inspires her to share her ideas on how to use technology in education.
She is responsible for teaching and producing some of the units in the Bachelor of Digital Media courses such as programming, mobile application development and digital publishing. She also teaches game design and development, digital video and audio and visual storytelling.
Quarterly workshops on digital publishing, demonstrating what packages are available, how to design and how the process works.
Annual learn to code workshop, aimed at STEM students.
Regina was nominated by CQUniversity.