During 2022, we have collaborated with Weeroona College’s electronics class on a special creative design unit. Read on to hear from teacher Scott Nicholls about the program.
“As the electronics teacher at Weeroona College, I identified a need to address some shortfalls in my curriculum and decided to develop a new unit of work towards bridging this gap. I determined that the subject did not incorporate new technologies and thought it could better provide innovative/design learning opportunities. Further to this, discussions with students told me they wanted a fun and unique unit that provided them new experiences and that allow them opportunities to independently create and build their own project.
It wasn’t difficult for me to see the potential in collaborating with BTS on this unit of work, and I was pleased to find that Ember was also enthusiastically behind the idea, this did introduce a few more requirements however. Any excursions and works had to fit the normal class times, also BTS’s recommendation to link to industry would be highly desirable.
Working with Ember, we decided to base the work on a unit where students design watercraft to aid in flood recovery work. In this we thought we could effectively address the above criteria whilst incorporating electronics learning in circuit work such as motors, sensors and switches. This also provided us the opportunity to celebrate the unit’s completion with a testing and racing excursion at the city’s park lake.
To make this happen, firstly we planned a fairly comprehensive map of learning for the unit then we looked at what resources offered at the BTS we would use, deciding upon the 3D printers for the boats and perhaps the sensors kits to aid in solving each student’s identified ‘problem’. We then worked out which of these sessions could be done at school without the BTS involvement, those that would have a BTS representative come to school to facilitate, and those done at the BTS site.
We managed to plan the unit to fit an eight-lesson block, five of these are done at school, two at the BTS and a final one at the lake. From here it was just a matter of ensuring everything is appropriately booked and making sure the class remains on task and is suitably ready for each step of the plan.
Having done the unit twice now, I have found numerous benefits in working with the BTS that goes far beyond the obvious opportunities. I have found a renewed freshness and enthusiasm in the subject, with students actively choosing the elective now simply to participate in the BTS experience. The sessions where the BTS staff take control of the teaching provides me a unique opportunity to participate as a learner and model to students some strategies of an effective learning.
I have found it to be a great opportunity to showcase to students happenings outside their school environment; exposure to the university and linking to both the BTS and the emergency service industry. These are just some of the many benefits I have found with this collaboration, and the rewards have motivated me to looking at how to bring the BTS into other subjects I teach.”
Please contact us at [email protected] to discuss developing a similar program for your students.