This week we have a special guest introduction from Sue Healey, Director of Information & Technology Services.
Visitors to our school who come into The STEAM Centre will often ask me whether we have introduced a STEAM subject into the curriculum to give student access to the Centre and its resources. This is an interesting question and one that I believe reflects our 20th century educational experiences which generally introduced new subject areas as separate standalone curriculums. The short answer is no – we have not taken this approach with STEAM at Tintern Grammar.
STEAM is about Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics coming together and offering new opportunities for all teachers and students. To create a new subject called STEAM or STEM at certain year levels with specific timetabled classes continues the subject solo experience which limits access to certain year levels and creative exploration to specific times each week. By supporting all staff to embrace the digital technologies curriculum within their subject areas we have seen an increase in the number of classes using a variety of digital resources to better understand key subject related concepts.
One of the many highlights this year has been supporting a number of peer-to-peer experiences using technology. In the Junior School, our buddy program has been used very successfully to engage students in the technology curriculum. In Term 3, our Year 3 girls teamed up with their Prep buddy to design and create a marble run as part of a technology challenge, while our Year 3 boys teamed up with their Prep buddy at the end of Term 2 to create a robot in Tinkercad as part of their Letterland focus on Red Robot. Our Year 3’s were passionate teachers offering encouragement and support to their buddies while the Preps loved the opportunity to work with an older peer.
We have an open door policy in relation to The STEAM Centre which allows students to explore ideas which are of interest to them and not necessarily associated with a classroom activity. Students from all year levels are welcome to explore any of the technologies available in The STEAM Centre during lunch breaks as well as before or after school from 7.30am until 5.30pm. During the recent term break, a father and daughter came in to look at some of the technologies available and went on to work together using a Brother ScanNCut machine to replicate an electric lamp using paper, circuit paint and a button battery.
If you are interested in doing something similar, the term breaks are a great time for parents to come along and have a look at what technologies are available. You may be interested in knowing more about 3D printing or how to create a design for the laser cutter. If so, please email email@example.com to make an appointment with one of our IT/Library staff and we will take you through the steps to make your first 3D print or laser cut design.
The STEAM journey at Tintern Grammar is well underway. Much has been achieved this year in terms of engaging staff and students in the digital curriculum across all schools. This week, we have our ELC learners coming to visit the Centre where they will be assembling a 3D printed robot as part of the Treasure Time tour. We have our Year 7s exploring geometry concepts using Adobe Illustrator and the laser cutter as well as coding Ozbots to create Polygons. Our Year 8s & 9s are currently printing out their 3D designs designed in TinkerCad. Our students are truly making their own future.
What’s next? 2019 virtual reality tours!
We recently purchased a 360 camera to allow staff and students to make their own 360 videos. Videos taken while on an excursion would help students who could not attend or others that want to relive the experience when writing up their excursion reports. Our Farm Manager is also interested in using this technology to create animal husbandry videos to better support student learning. Our call goes out to any parents who may have experience with 360 filming to get in touch and support our journey into virtual reality.