At St Michael’s, Technology is a key learning area for all students. Technology is an integral aspect of the world we live in, and a vital component of our children’s education. Technology skills are developed within many study areas, with a focus on Product Design and Technology, Information Technology, and Food Technology. Students develop design thinking skills within these study areas, as they explore and develop inventive solutions to important and real-life issues.
We encourage students to create ‘human-centred’ design solutions for a better world – a challenge which has been taken up by many of our students. One St Michael’s student designed a transportable water carrier for the use of people in developing countries, solving real-world problems through imaginative design.
St Michael’s students experience a variety of technology-based projects and challenges, with those in the early years demonstrating technological and engineering principles on a range of practical projects. Students in the junior years also have the opportunity to master basic machines, including pulleys, levers, planes and axles.
This practical experience prepares them for a range of challenges – for example, collaborating on a bridge made only from dried spaghetti that will withstand significant loads. In the Year 6 Billy Cart project, students test out their design principles in the most enjoyable way possible – a race to the finish line against the staff!
Many other early opportunities are available for St Michael’s students to put design and engineering principles into practice. One example is the Natural Disaster unit, which offers Year 6 students the opportunity to understand how physical phenomena impact people’s lives. This challenging unit enables students to utilise knowledge about natural disasters to solve real problems – for example, a student who lives near the beach may choose to design an effective flood prevention system.
Robotics is used as a gateway to coding skills, as St Michael’s students learn to program increasingly complex robots to perform a series of tasks. This area is introduced in Year 5, where students have to program a small spherical robot called a ‘Sphero’ to roll across the room and come to a complete stop on a bullseye. Students in the same year can choose to compete in the RoboCup Challenge, where they compete with other schools to navigate a robot around an obstacle course.
Coding and robotics at St Michael’s expands from there, as students engage with intuitively designed and progressively more complex robots appropriate for a range of year levels – including Bee-Bots, Makey Makeys, Ozobots and LittleBits and online coding programs such as Kodable, Tynker and Hour of Code. These programs build towards the Lego Mindstorms program, where students design a programmable robot capable of carrying out a complex series of instructions.
By Year 10, students interested in Technology can choose subjects as diverse as Product Design, Fashion Design & Textiles Technology, Food Technology, and Information Technology.
Students studying Food and Technology learn an advanced set of culinary skills in preparation for a career in the industry, gaining the skills to plan a range of delicious and nutritionally balanced meals. Areas covered include Barista skills and Safe Food and Handling, within the expansive industrial-grade kitchen of The Gipson Commons.
In Product Design & Technology, students create and construct products using a variety of materials, tools and techniques, including computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing and routing. Students can choose to construct a variety of objects – including the Year 10 speaker project, in which they design, engineer and manufacture a set of high-fidelity speakers.
Fashion Design is another highlight of Product Design, allowing students to design and construct simple fashion accessories such as designer Tote bags and pyjamas. In VCE, students engage in self-selected projects addressing real needs, including dresses made from recycled materials.
The year-long ‘design and make’ VCE project is taken up with enthusiasm and imagination. This year, student projects include a pop-up emergency disaster shelter, an adjustable and portable DJ work station, and a compact folding carbon fibre skateboard.
Information Technology students engage with a range of applications and platforms, from Game Development to Web Design. Students use industry-standard software in real-world situations to design games, moving on to more complex control structures using text-based coding to create their own software solutions (e.g. Flight Control).
At St Michael’s, studying Technology opens a world of possibilities in a continually evolving environment of technology.