Gaming and 3D Printing at Quantum

Last Thursday 24th October 37 students from Hawkesdale College were at school at 6.00am, ready for a four hour coach trip to Quantum Victoria. Quantum is one of the specialist Science and Technology Schools in Victoria, “bringing the world of science and maths to life through games technology, augmented reality, project based learning, virtual reality, robotics and mechatronics.” Year 8 students had selected the 3D printing workshop, while the Year 9/10 elective students chose Game Development. We had about three hours in total, which allowed for each student to create two designs – one in SketchUp on laptops and one in 123D Creature on iPads. Students were able to observe a 3D printer in action and handle some of the 3D printed objects that had been created. Their SketchUp designs (earphone holders) will be printed and posted, as that part can be more time consuming. There are a range of 3D printers on site, from a $50,000 version to a $500 version, and one being put together by Year 9 girls who come in from Charles LaTrobe High School at lunchtime, to build one using 3D printed parts!

So, what are the learning outcomes? Students were given the opportunity to “jump in” feet first, with virtually no instructions, using MacBook and Alienware computers. After stepping through a few introductory activities, they were given the task to create two “key holes” and design a holder for earplugs around them. All students, even our students with special needs (low literacy & numeracy, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD) achieved success, with students who finished early giving peer-to-peer support. Students saw that anything they could create in SketchUp could be 3D printed, but soon realized that long narrow pieces would be fragile. So, “design thinking” was important for the finished product.

Some examples of the uses of 3D printing were shared, as well as the prediction that most Australian households will own a 3D printer by 2030. Joel from Quantum explained that instead of having a warehouse of spare parts, Boeing have a database of 3D “blueprints” that enable any part to be 3D printed in titanium, on demand. In Australia recently we heard about the racehorse who had his hooves scanned to create custom, 3D printed titanium horseshoes, which are stronger, lighter and fit better, to give him a distinct advantage on the track! I like the medical uses – a man who had part of his skull 3D printed and the 3D printed ‘cast’ for broken limbs, that is waterproof, light and allows air and water to circulate, preventing the appendage from getting itchy and allowing the person to go swimming and have showers. There is a duck with an amputated leg that can walk again due to a 3D printed webbed foot and an American bald eagle with a 3D printed beak! Some people believe that in future, we will no longer dash off to Bunnings to buy a specific tool or part, but get online and buy a plan to print one at home.

What does this mean for our students? They may no longer get a job in retail as easily, but perhaps there will be employment for students who can design, create, reverse-engineer and visualize solutions. Ballarat Grammar is preparing students for just that kind of future with their Year 8 Rocketry program, “To Houston…..and Beyond!”

Book Presentation by New York author

Last year, a group of 9 students volunteered for weekly lunchtime videoconference linkups with an author from New York to pursue their passion for writing. Each week they were set writing tasks. Their completed tasks were shared online with Chrisopher Herz, a New York author, using evernote. He would then look at their work, give them feedback and set further tasks.

Christophers second novel  was released in December last year. On Thursday, last week, at a special lunchtime ceremony, Christopher ‘beamed’ in from New York, using skype and presented each student with a copy of this novel. (He had posted the books to our school during March.) A big thank you is extended to the parents and teachers who attended the celebration with the students.  This was an exciting  connection and an amazing opportunity to learn from and with an author. It is hoped that lunchtime connections will continue during late term2 and term 3. Any secondary students who wish to improve their writing skills are encouraged to attend.

Thank you so much Christopher for giving up your valuable time to work with our students!

Students with Christopher

Students Leaders for the Ultranet

On Tuesday, April 17th, a group of 17 students were trained as leaders in the use of the Ultranet. These students came from year five through to year 9. Nigel Holloway, our Barwon South West ultranet coach, capably led them through the following:-

  1. explore what it means to be a leader
  2. learn about Ultranet functionality
  3. learn where to go to find Ultranet support materials
  4. engage in action planning for how they will effectively use the Ultranet in their schools.

Students spent their time productively during this full day workshop. On Wednesday, they were able to help their fellow class members with their ultranet space. These students were part of the leadership training:-

  • Year 5: Chelsea A, Caitlin M
  • Year 6: Hailey K, Kailyn, Jess S
  • Year 7: Tate G, Alannah G, Kirsty H, Matt R
  • Year 8: Jade M, Kaylee, Jobe H, Ruby F
  • Year 9: Emma H, Leah D
Thank you to these students for taking up this challenge!

Digital Footprint Competition

digital footprint winners

Congratulations to all students from Grade 5 to 8 who participated in the “What Does My Digital Footprint Say About Me?” competition. We recieved some excellent posters, pieces of writing, music and multimedia projects demonstrating a very good understanding of appropriate online behaviour. The winners are shown above, with great prizes donated by Target, Dick Smith and IT Made Simple. Thanks also to Mrs Davey, who did a great job assisting students with their entries and co-ordinating the entry process. The winners are:
Nicky Oosthuizen – Year 5/6 Writing (Target Voucher)
Billy-Jo Parsons-Muskee – Year 7/8 Writing (Dick Smith MP3 player)
Thalia Watson – Year 7/8 Poster ($20 iTunes voucher)
Ben Casey and Luke Gow – Year 7/8 Music (Rap) ($20 iTunes voucher)
Sophie Hines – Year 5/6 Multimedia (Digital video camera donated by IT Made Simple)
Sarah Herring – Year 7/8 Multimedia (Digital video camera donated by IT Made Simple).

Learning safely online!

Five year 8 students, from Hawkesdale P12 College, were part of an exciting initiative offered by Innovations and Next Practice, DEECD. They worked on a number of aspects of online learning and chose to look at the lack of sleep that many student suffer because they are either bullied or up late using social networking sites. Several online sessions were organised for the students from all schools involved, with Dr Martyn Wilde leading them through some of the current research findings.

A celebration day was held in Melbourne at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) where all students involved shared their projects. The Premier of Victoria, Mr Brumby and the Minister for Education, Bronwyn Pike were both in attendance.

The five girls created a glogster, which shares

  1. the movie that they made
  2. an interview with Heather Blakey
  3. a graphed summary of the survey results etc

You can view the glog below, or alternately visit the glog by clicking on this link.

The movie “Life of a Cyber Bully Victim can be viewed below:-

listen2learners – "It's just what we do"

listen2learners resized

Tara, Emily and Dhugan took part in the listen2learners forum at the Melbourne State Library, on Monday 11th October. This forum was an opportunity for teachers, education department leaders, software designers, business leaders and other interested parties, to listen to learners. I was blown away by the maturity, independence, collaboration, problem solving and confidence which was evident in each of the 12 school groups who spent the day talking to the adults.

Several things impressed me at the forum. The technology savvy students was the first stand out impression, but another fabulous “take away” for me was the genuine interest those attending the forum, actually invested in really listening to these students. This was not just a token forum where innovative projects were show cased. The “listeners” were really listening. They were really interested in what the students had to say, what they were doing, what they were thinking and where they were going.

Another thing I will never forget, is the comment Tara gave in response to a question from one “listener” who asked the students, “so what is e-learning?” For a moment, they said nothing. They did a lot of looking at each other without coming up with an answer. Finally Tara shrugged and replied “it’s just what we do.” The man who had asked the question, grinned broadly and said “yay!”. He went on to explain that as a dinosaur, he had a tag for what it was the students were doing, because it was so different to how he had learnt at school. The fact that our students don’t see it as “using computers”, the fact that they see it as “just what we do” was exactly the response he was seeking.

I came home from this amazing forum with the confirmation that tomorrow’s leaders are indeed in our schools today and that the skills they are developing as collaborators, communicators, innovators and problem solvers can only be further developed if we continue to listen to what they have to say. We need to be less “sage on the stage” and much more “guide on the side” (INTEL Teach to the Future.) We need to let go of the reins and give them the opportunity to lead. We have got to learn to listen!

Read another blog post about the day.
listen2learners resized 2
Students being interviewed and filmed about the Flat Classroom Project.

Weekly ICT Award

Update – Recipiants for the Weekly ICT Award for the past two weeks are:

Trevor C. in year 6 for working well with ICT, and

Maddison J. from year 7 in recognition of her work in ICT this week for Education Week.

Well done to both students and keep up the great work!

Weekly ICT Award

Thank you to Magazines4students, a company the library orders with annually. They have provided us with a prize of 50 x 2.0GB USBs for being one of the first schools to place an order in 2009. To try and share them amongst as many students as possible it has been decided to have a weekly ICT Award. This award will recognise excellence, hard work, good results and breakthroughs in students ICT pursuits. Students from the year 3/4 class right through to and including year 12 will be eligible for the award.

To begin the awards this week, we have two recipients for their ‘Excellence in ICT’ – International finalists in the ‘netgened project video competition’.

  1. Carly who won second place for her video on Geo Everything.
  2. Hannah who was a finalist in  Semantic Aware Applications  


Watch the school blogs and newsletter for the weekly recipients of this award.