Designed as an innovative learning spaces and fitted with the latest technology to prototype, the Whittlesea Tech School will provide students with a creative and immersive environment, which will build on what students learn at their own school. Programs will range from compact inquires to extended projects and events. All will have a direct connection to the Victorian Curriculum and be embedded in the teaching and learning of the partner schools.
Learning programs offered at Tech Schools will supplement, extend and augment the school curriculum, with a STEAM emphasis. This will involve extended, high-tech, hands-on, STEAM-focused and industry-linked learning programs. Students will work on real-world problems using the latest technology, taught by a mix of their own teachers and other experts. They will gain skills and information they need to inform future study and career choices in STEAM-related fields.
The Whittlesea Tech School staff are employed to help design and deliver learning programs to students. This will be a mix of teaching staff and non-teaching staff, with the aim to provide students with skills, knowledge, support and ideas to enable them to innovate and think differently. The Whittlesea Tech School has staff members who are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching on staff and all staff members and presenters have current Working with Children’s Checks.
Partner school teachers are also a key part of Tech School program delivery to their students. These teachers are co-creators of the Tech School’s programs, including curriculum and lesson planning structure, the use of technology, the pedagogical approach, and linking the Whittlesea Tech School program to their core teaching and learning back at their school. Partner school teachers will accompany their students to the Tech School and have duty of care arrangements in accordance with their own schools excursion policies.
The Key Design Principles of the Whittlesea Tech School Program
- Inquiry based with STEAM connections
- Program design will be multi age/ multi stage
- Learning programs can occur across schools and across sectors
- The Tech School builds capacity in schools community and industry.
- The Tech School influences and advocates for the future for young people and our community. It is a convener of opportunities
- The Tech School develops an “innovation mindset” in the young people of our community.
- Programs are co- constructed- industry/education/community together
- The learning programs are applied and authentic
Inquiry focus- Deep learning experiences into things that matter
- Biannual (Semiannual) – The Tech School will engage in a different inquiry focus driven by partner and community needs twice a year.
- Enduring open ended questions and problems- The inquiry focus will pose open ended questions and challenges for students to engage in.
- Matched to curriculum outcomes- All programs will be matched to a range of curriculum outcomes, tailored specifically to the inquiry being undertaken.
- Enables authentic industry partnership – Each inquiry focus will enable deeper involvement with industry. On some occasions students will be solving industry problems and in others industry will partner with students to solve community based challenges.
- Transdisciplinary – Students will be engaged in transdisciplinary learning, where a range of disciplines are utilized in conjunction to solve the problem at hand.
- Must be “exhibitable” – All Tech School activities need to be shared and exhibited. This means that the result of learning opportunities provide something of value; be it a product or service that can be seen, heard, used, known, interacted with, experienced and shared.
- Must integrate with each school’s programs- The Tech School does not exist in isolation and has a direct connection to partner schools and other resources within the area.
Learning Design Underpinnings
As each partner school has a unique learning philosophy and framework, the Tech School needs to be flexible and adaptive to needs.
However, there are three key learning design underpinnings to each learning opportunity that students will engage in.
Design Thinking- Design thinking is an established methodology to creative problem solving and product development. It adopts a ‘human centric’ focus which examines issues and enables strategies to prototype and resolve these issues. Design thinking is used in industry and education and provides a common baseline to develop innovative solutions.
SOLO Taxonomy – (structure of observed learning outcomes) provides a simple, reliable and robust model for three levels of understanding – surface deep and conceptual (Biggs and Collis 1982). The use of SOLO will articulate the required content and surface knowledge that students need in order to enter into extended abstract development with confidence.
Deep learning Competencies/ Victorian Capabilities Curriculum- The Deep Learning Competencies and the Victorian Capabilities curriculum provide established scaffolds and indicators to design learning that promotes the development of enterprise skills and habits of the mind in students. These transferable skills provide students with the ‘backpack’ of skills required to engage in life and work in the 21st Century.
Key Program Offerings
- Co-constructed with schools, industry and community
- ‘Compact’ and ‘extended’ inquiries that schools select according to needs and requirements
- Event based learning opportunities (eg: hackathons, Science Fair, Maker Faires)
- Facilitated Masterclass sessions, utilizing experts and industry partners.
- Community/ Outreach programs
- Careers and Industry hub to showcase industry partners and future industries
- The provision of content, resources, expertise and connection to schools and community