Pialba State School students Sienna Piggott and Mia Kenny with USC Education Lecturer Dr David Martin.
Pialba State School students Sienna Piggott and Mia Kenny with USC Education Lecturer Dr David Martin.

Teaching skills of tomorrow through hi-tech sessions

PROGRAMMING driverless cars, coding and robotics are parts of what Fraser Coast students are tackling in a new learning initiative.

The University of the Sunshine Coast has partnered with Pialba State School, Hervey Bay State High School and Aldridge State High School to provide students and teachers with hands-on exposure to the latest digital technologies through in-school lessons and professional development sessions.

USC Lecturer in Education David Martin said the university planned to expand the programs into other Fraser Coast schools next year.

 

Year 7 and 8 Aldridge State High School students with USC Education student Curtis Muller.
Year 7 and 8 Aldridge State High School students with USC Education student Curtis Muller.

 

"This is about developing the knowledge and skills of current teachers and USC's Bachelor of Education students so they can prepare the next generation for a future where digital technologies will play a central role," Dr Martin said.

"This year we have run a very successful pilot at Pialba State School, where our pre-service teachers have helped pupils as young as Prep engage in coding and robotics."

In collaboration with the school's teachers, the university students have planned and co-taught units which embed the latest digital and robotic technologies into subjects such as maths, science and English.

 

Aldridge State High School students Rachael Thiry and Amber Glock building and programming a driverless Arduino toy car as part of a collaboration with USC.
Aldridge State High School students Rachael Thiry and Amber Glock building and programming a driverless Arduino toy car as part of a collaboration with USC.

 

Deputy principal Peter Genrich said the partnership was a way to progress the school towards the State Government's vision of creating 21st century primary schools.

"Many of the future jobs that our current primary school students will be undertaking will involve being creative, innovative and being able to collaborate with others face-to-face and online," he said.

"Our students are actively engaged in solving challenging tasks using robotics, coding, digital systems, information systems and learning all about being cyber safe."

This term at Aldridge State High, USC Education student Curtis Muller has been delivering a series of digital technology lessons as part of the university's Make, Integrate, Explore research project.

During the lessons, the school students used gadgets, such as electrical circuits, sensors and basic electric motors to develop their computational and abstract thinking using algorithms, patterns and logical reasoning.

The sessions culminated in students assembling a motorised model car and programming it to navigate a maze, simulating the process of programming a driverless car.

The Mine Lab initiative will be rolled out into other Fraser Coast schools next year.

It is funded by the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program which aims to increase access and participation in higher education.