Innovation in the Classroom

Innovation in the Classroom

As we move deeper into the 21st century, technology is becoming more pervasive. In order to survive fast-paced changes in the environment, schools are arming the next generation with skills for the future.

Our Middle Years Program (Years 5-8) offers opportunities designed to build competencies and extend capabilities with real-world experiences – such as innovative lessons in the classroom, international programs, internships, leadership development and micro credentials.

“Utilising the different technologies has showed me what the jobs of the future will look like and how we can take part.”

Abigail, Year 6

A question we are asking our Year 6 students this term as part of an innovative technologies class is: In what ways can new technologies be harnessed to have a positive impact on society?’

“To prepare students for an increasingly complex and globally connected world, our Year 6 students are doing a deep dive into media,” says Billie Staples, Assistant Director of Middle Years.

The students are working with RMIT Program Manager and Lecturer of the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) program, Dr Li Ping Thong, to develop a project in response to the aforementioned question, with a direct focus on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

Dr Thong has vast experience practicing, teaching and researching digital media specialisations; including in the fields she is researching with the students, such as 3D animation, interactive media, app development, motion design, e-learning technologies and VR and AR.

“These girls are growing up in a world where digital technologies are weaved into their daily lives,” adds Dr Thong. “What is now required is to re think how these technologies could be repurposed for meaningful actions and impactful outcomes.”

“Adults are often the ones developing innovative technologies for students to use…if the classrooms of the future take charge, it lets students be the designers and innovators, thus letting them respond to real world problems and come up with creative solutions through innovative technologies.”

The research project allows our students to explore and experiment with digital media technologies – showing them they are not just passive users of technology, but rather how they can use media in a positive way and utilise creative and critical thinking skills to problem solve.

Year 6 student Ruby says the project has extended her learning capabilities and problem-solving skills.

“It’s been really interesting to think of a problem, create something new and overcome hurdles,” says Ruby, “Since learning all the different elements of media, I’ve started to think about where I could use this knowledge and what career I might want to pursue. I’m now thinking about being a journalist, newspaper editor or YouTuber because I love creating things and coming up with new ideas.”

Ruby’s peer, Abigail was similarly inspired by the project, stating the program implored her to think outside her own environment and experiences.

 “Utilising the different technologies has showed me what the jobs of the future will look like and how we can take part. I found VR extremely interesting, the way it can be used to immerse a person in an environment or even put someone into another person’s shoes inspired me”.

A selection of student’s works will be on display on the Federation Square Digital Façade in October this year.  

“Our students enjoy learning  about how what they’re investigating in the classroom can translate to real world experiences and futures within the media landscape,” says Staples, and Dr Thong agrees.

“Our students are the designers of the future who will shape what the world looks like,” adds Dr Thong, “so why not start now, in the classroom?”

This topic program provided inspiration for the article which appeared in The Age Innovation in the Classroom feature on 8 September 2019, written by Portia Conyers-East.