Semester 1 has been a busy one for STEM and Digital Technologies subjects at the College this year, with two Year 9 STEM electives running and 4 classes of Year 7 DigiTech. The Year 7s have been studying the components of computer networks and what the internet is, and more recently, developing their coding skills by programming mBots to carrying out a range of functions using the motors, LEDs and speakers. The Year 9 STEM classes have also been working on their programming skills using our Lego MindStorms robots. Students have been programming these robots to perform a number of functions, ranging from relatively simple tasks using motors, to much more complex ones that involve using a range of sensors and a number of different variables. The Year 9s have also been honing their engineering skills, designing and fabricating model speed boats which they have raced against their class mates.
Semester 2 is looking just as busy, with another Year 9 STEM class, a Year 10 STEM class and another 4 Year 7 Digitech clases running. We are also going to be reintroducing a Robotics and Coding club during Semester 2, which will run weekly at lunchtime in our brand new STEM workshop. A special thanks needs to go to Drew Cook and Stuart McIntyre for the work they have put in to create this amazing new space for our STEM students.
This year we are reviewing the iPad program that currently requires all Year 7 – 9 students to use an iPad as their digital device at school. As part of this review we have sought feedback from students, staff, parents and carers on several different options for students’ devices for 2020 and beyond, including retaining the iPad program or moving to a BYOD program, where students can choose the type of digital device they use at school. Thank you to everyone that has provided feedback through the surveys we have sent out. The data collected is currently being collated and will be distributed to the working party, which includes staff, students and parents, to make a decision on the direction we take with digital devices in the future. We will have this decision finalised by early Term 3. If we do decide to change the program it will be phased in from 2020, and students will not be required to buy a new device if they currently use an iPad at school.
In other eLearning news at the College, we are continuing our work as an accredited eSmart school to educate our students about Cybersafety. Being an eSmart school gives us access to a wide range of resources that we implement across Years 7 to 12 to ensure that students are able to use technology in a safe and responsible manner. If you would like any information on how you can assist your child/children in being eSafe you can find valuable information at https://www.esafety.gov.au, or contact me at the College for further information.
Mr Justin Wischusen
Director of eLearning/STEM