Tech Girls Launch

Our Thriftr app developers, Suki and Olivia, were invited to the 2022 launch of the Tech Girls Movement yesterday. The launch was held at Stone and Chalk, Australasia’s leading independent, nonprofit technology innovation hub that help accelerate high-growth startups.

The girls spoke to an audience of ‘women in tech’ about their ‘Thriftr app’ which came out of their involvement in the Tech Girls Competition in 2021. Their presentation was very well received by the audience, so much so, that they have been invited to give their presentation to the executives at Allianz. Hopefully this might lead to some financial support!

Currently the girls are working with a developer from Apple to help get them started on building the app. They are using the prize money from the Tech Girls Competition to help in this process but will need a lot more financial support to get the app fully built. We are very grateful to Apple for their support in providing us access to one of their top developers.

The girls will be working alongside the developer as part of their work in the iSTEM course. They will be using Apple’s latest Swift 4 platform that allows anyone to build an app for the App Store. This will be done entirely on an iPad! The Apple Education team are keeping a close eye on the project to see if this is something that could be integrated into mainstream education.

Robotics

We are excited to share a fantastic partnership we have happening in 2022. Both iSTEM classes will be working with the team from NexGen Code Camp throughout the year to not only build amazing robots but develop high level coding skills along the way.

To get the program for 2022 underway, NexGen ran an incursion for both classes last week. This was a fun way to introduce the students to the types of amazing activities they will be exposed to during the year.

The workshop started with an ‘Introduction to Rovers’ then how to setup and assemble the Rover. The students then observed how the Rover behaved based on code before being given their own challenge of coding the Rover to follow a path.

We are very excited about this partnership and the wonderful opportunities it will provide to our iSTEM classes.

Mini Solar Cars Workshop

Our Year 10 iSTEM class recently participated in a workshop run by Mike Richards from UNSW’s Sunsprint Challenge. Mike is also part of the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy so having him spend two hours with the students was of enormous benefit.

The purpose of the workshop was to build some of the foundational skills required to build a model solar car. One of the main focus areas was the electrical aspect of the cars and the difference wiring in series or parallel can make to the performance of the cars. Talk of amps, voltages and maximisers reminded the students how important the skills developed in their Science classes are when you leave school and how they can apply to everyday situations.

After the ‘technical stuff’ was over it was time to apply those skills by building some ‘mini solar cars’. These are kits that replicate what students are asked to do for the Sunsprint Challenge. As the students had participated in a similar workshop in 2021, Mike added a few complications to get the students thinking as engineers.

Once the cars were ready to go it was time to venture out into the sunshine to test and modify the cars. This was a lot of fun, but also frustrating, as some cars ran more efficiently than others. At the end of the session the students had a greater understanding of what is required from them in this project.

Year 10 iSTEM

Our Year 10 iSTEM class are tackling the UNSW Sunsprint Challenge as their first project for 2022. Initially our planning was built around the postponed 2021 event which was scheduled to take place at the end of Term One. Under directions from UNSW this event has now been cancelled and we are now looking at the 2022 event which takes place in August.

Starting off the Challenge is always daunting for those who have not participated previously with a complex set of regulations to negotiate before the design process can begin. The regulations are set by the National Model Solar Car Committee and they make slight adjustments each year to ensure the same cars cannot win each year.

Once the regulations are unpacked the design process can begin. There are numerous iterations before a team can settle on their preferred design. The students this year will be using Adobe Illustrator to design the various components of the chassis. Using Illustrator enables the students to use the laser cutter to build their car to precise specifications.

The designs created in Illustrator will then be laser cut using cardboard so the first prototypes can be built and tested. Once the teams are happy with their cars the designs will be cut using laser ply and the racing models will begin to take shape!

Coding in 2022

Developing the coding skills of our students will continue to be a major focus at the College in 2022. In previous years we have used Grok Learning to help teach our students the basics, whether that is simple block coding or introducing students to a  language like Python. This year we have formed a new partnership with CS in Schools.

Partnering with CS in Schools will enable us to put more structure around the program embedding it within the Year 7 Maths classes. The program will be embedded during Term 3 classes with students completing twenty hours of instruction throughout the term.  Students will complete the ‘Introduction to Coding Course’.

Coding is also a major part of the Stage 4 Technology syllabus so our students are exposed to a wide variety of experiences. If a student develops a passion for coding the opportunity to further develop skills is available through the iSTEM Stage 5 elective.

CS in Schools was featured on 7News recently highlighting the need for coding to be taught within schools.

Sustainability TED Talks

In what was a very unusual final term, our Year 7 students took on the challenge of creating TED Talks around the theme of ‘Sustainability’. This project was a joint effort from the English and Maths teams, with the English focus being on persuasive language and Maths, data collection and analysis.

Covid once again played havoc with the schedule with the project being launched during lockdown, some great work happening both at home and then at school, with everything coming to a grinding halt with the end of the school year being brought forward. As usual our staff and students showed great resilience to get the job done and complete the project.

Each student was able to submit their talk and there were some very impressive efforts.  Special mention must go to Amelia Betros and Lily Carter who submitted their talks to the PhenomeWomen Simple Speaks Competition. We are very proud of both of these amazing young women!

The students took on many issues connected with ‘Sustainability’. Initially the project seemed quite straight forward. Collect and analyse some data and then prepare a four minute talk that would hopefully inspire the viewer to take action.  As the project progressed it became obvious to all that this task required a great deal of thought and planning, combined with a lot of creativity when presenting to a ‘virtual’ audience.

Despite all the obstacles the project was a success and will definitely be refined for our incoming Year 7 cohort. If they can produce something close to the standard of the following two videos we will be very happy!

 

Gamechangers Girls Minecraft eSports Competition Update

Our Year 7 and 8 teams are coming to the end of their involvement in the Gamechangers Girls Minecraft eSports Competition. The competition is designed to encourage girls to get involved in STEM related learning through the use of Minecraft.

The competition requires the students to work in teams to create an interactive game that other girls around the country can play. In doing so they are able to connect with other students, who share a passion for games like Minecraft, in a safe and secure environment.

In this video, Gabriella, a member of our Year 8 team talks about the development of their game.

The competition is run by Dr Bronwyn Stuckey, one of the leading gamification educators in Australia. The competition is part of Bronwyn’s research into girls and their learning and will be officially launched on International Women’s Day 2022.

The Australian Virtual Astronaut Challenge Concludes

Our small group of Year 7.1 students who have been participating in the Australian Virtual Astronaut Challenge have finalised their pitches and submitted them to the judging panel.

The Mission Brief at the start of the six week Challenge was:

Your team is on the Moon. You need to produce food in order to support life on the Moon.

  • How are we going to sustainably grow food on the Moon?
  • How do we ensure this food is nutritious?
  • How can the environment affect your food?
  • How can the food be stored?
  • Does the food produce enough energy?

Design an experiment, device or environment that can grow food on the Moon.

The Challenge was put together by the NSW Education Departments STEM Unit in conjunction with Fizzics Education as a response to the ongoing lockdown that was occurring at the start of Term 4.  We are very grateful to all involved for putting together such an amazing experience for students around the country.

Here are the final pitches from our teams. The teams had a one minute limit so it was quite challenging to sum up all their ideas in this time.

Capturefy Update

Our Year 9 Capturefy team have been patiently waiting for the first prototype of their 2020 “Capturefy’ device to be made. ‘Capturefy’ was a finalist in the 2020 Clickview Inventors Competition. Here is a reminder of what the team originally planned.

Having made a number of adjustments to their original design following online meetings with mentor, Sally Dominguez, the team was hopeful this first iteration would be close to the mark.

Thanks to Dave Jackson and the team at Metrowelding, the team were able to test just how good their initial design was during the week. They ventured out into Church St with high hopes only to realise there was still much work to do!

The realisation that drains are all different sizes certainly hit home very quickly and the fact that ‘Capturefy’ will need to have some adjustability built in to cope with these variations.

Despite the disappointment from our first prototype testing there was much learning that took place. The team are now working on the second iteration and another visit to our friends at Metrowelding!

2021 Clickview Inventors Competition

During Term 3 2021, Clickview ran a nationwide search for Australia’s next generation of inventors – the Aussie Student Inventions Competition! With the help of some of Australia’s leading innovators, a panel of experts have selected the finalists in each category (primary, lower secondary and upper secondary) with the winners being announced in the coming weeks.

Following on from our success in having finalists in the 2020 Clickview Inventors Competition we are very excited to acknowledge the outstanding work of Amelie Allen (Year 8) and Tilly Groves (Year 11). Both students have been selected as finalists in their respective categories.

Amelie’s ‘Modvision’ concept has been selected in the Junior Secondary category. Modvision looks at how technology can assist people who suffer from conditions that make recognising faces difficult.

Tilly has been selected as a finalist in the Upper Secondary category for her ‘Kookies Adventure Travels’ concept which looks at improving school attendance for indigenous students in rural regions.

Congratulations to both students on being recognised for their exceptional work. Both projects will be added to our growing list of concepts that we are looking to develop further in 2022.