Get to know Dr Matt Harrison, avid gamer, researcher and Lecturer in Learning Intervention.
Q: Do you mind giving a short introduction to your background?
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) I began my career interning at the 15 May School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This inspired my interest in education as a means of social transformation. After completing of a Diploma of Teaching, I taught in Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom at primary and secondary levels in both mainstream and specialist schools. I completed the first half of my Master of Education at the University of Melbourne, and completed on exchange the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. These teaching experiences inspired my passion for inclusive education and digital games-based intervention, which led to me completing my PhD focusing on these areas.
Q: Do you have a particular area of research?
My research specialisation is exploring how we can use cooperative digital games as tools for developing social skills and social understanding for both neurotypical and neurodiverse students.
Q: Do you have a defining moment or influential person who encouraged you to pursue education?
Following the completion my Bachelor of Arts, I completed an internship with the 15 May School in Ho Chi Minh City. While I began working with the administrative and fundraising branches of the school, I was one day asked to cover an English class for an unwell teacher. I very quickly discovered through this serendipitous event that what I really wanted to do was to work with the children and the teachers within the school. By the end of the five month internship I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of life.
Q: What advice would you give to those students thinking about studying Learning Intervention?
I think many people in this day and age want to change the world for the better but are not sure of how they can have a meaningful impact. If you want to change society then I truly believe that a career in teaching allows you do this at a very personal level, one relationship at a time. It is not always easy and there are frustrations for sure, but I would never want to do anything else.
Q: What are your passions outside of education?
You might be able to guess this from my research interests, but I am a very enthusiastic gamer. I was a child of the 1980s and 1990s, so I am a big fan of this era of Nintendo games and in particular the Legend of Zelda series. Besides gaming, I am also a weekend warrior playing hockey and enjoy running.
Read Dr Matt Harrison's biography here.