Plus Ultra | November 2020

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ACADEMIC

A TIME TO THRIVE Unexpected learning outcomes have been widespread around the College this year. Instead of throwing in the towel after the struggles of COVID-19, our students have chosen to thrive. In Junior High, the case is no different, with students embracing new learning opportunities wholeheartedly.

KEL SEY BRICKNELL

communications officer

I

n Year 7, St Peters students study a sixmonth Digital Technology program. The subject covers programming, networks, robotics and culminates in a group Ethi‘Cool’ Project. Now in its fifth year, the Ethi‘Cool’ Project requires students to apply their Digital Technology knowledge to a real-world problem with an ethical dimension. Students work together to develop a technology-based solution and then pitch their ideas (‘Shark Tank’-style) to a panel of industry experts. The project, overseen by Mr Peter Hurwood, is a chance for students to work like they would in a practical IT environment. “Teamwork is what you do in Digital Technology,” he told us. “My personal hope is that what I’m doing is getting more [students] interested in technology.” And that, he certainly is. Year 7 students, Chloe and Oscar, met with Plus Ultra to reflect on the Project. “It was quite fun,” Chloe shared. “We got the chance to actually express our ideas [in person], even after At Home Learning, so we’re very lucky.” Chloe and Oscar were in different groups, yet their motivations behind choosing their real-world problems were similar. “We looked at helping people,” Oscar said, “with a focus on the bushfires [across Australia]. We looked at using drones to track the fire fronts to improve knowing where the fire is headed and therefore being able to help [the people on the ground].”

Plus Ultra | November 2020

Chloe’s group focused on how drones could improve access to medical resources in rural communities—an issue close to home for the young boarder from Moree, country NSW. “Where I live, we only have one ICU bed,” she said. “And it’s expensive trying to fly to health facilities for [specialist] care.” Like the other groups in their cohort, Chloe and Oscar’s groups examined current technologies before developing a polished pitch of a unique or re-imagined product. They considered risks, sustainability issues, social practices, equity, privacy and security in the design of their products and did so in a two-week timeframe. “I found it good that we were [only] given a short period of time,” Oscar shared. “It was a bit stressful, because I’ve never done a project like it before, but I guess it was more like real life— ‘Project, due date…get it all done’. I enjoyed it!” Neither Oscar nor Chloe seemed to be intimidated by the impressive panellists in front of them. Comprised of Katrina Lawrence (Regional Sales Director, Dell Australia); Kym Mellor (Programme Manager, Tquila ANZ); Amanda Rablin (St Peters eLearning Coordinator); Glen Richards (CEO Greencross and Shark Tank Australia panellist), the students said, more than nervous, they were grateful that the panellists came along. “I didn’t mind,” Chloe said. “Honestly, I can talk to anyone!” This, Mr Hurwood shared, was one of