Innovation: inside and outside of Logan classrooms

Innovation: inside and outside of Logan classrooms

         

Logan classrooms are fostering big thinkers and innovators through activities that include learning to fly drones, creating prosthetic limbs and fast-tracking prototypes.

At Mabel Park High State High School, students are helping make prosthetic hands for children on the other side of the world and learning how to fly drones, while a new generation of future innovators in other local schools are set to expand their thinking in STEM Punk workshops.

Head of Department of Mathematics and Science, Stacey King, says the prosthetic hand project is one of the ways the school is moving its Junior Maths and Science curriculum towards 21st Century skills.

The Helping Hand classroom program which was run earlier this year provided Year 8 students with the opportunity to assemble 12 prosthetic hands for children in India and South East Asia who lost limbs to landmine explosions and other accidents.

The 3D-printed plastic, claw-like devices help them to grip a pen so they can write and continue their education. The class is taught by qualified engineers and its inspiring students to think about careers in engineering in new ways.

“Many schools focus on STEM project-based learning as separate to the main curriculum, but this one went several steps further,” says Stacey.

“The prosthetic hand project aimed to relate every classroom learning to STEM innovation, link STEM professionals to classroom learning and bring STEM innovation and social enterprise into maths and science lessons.”

Last year, the school was the first in Queensland to offer a Certificate III in Aviation – Remote Pilot Visual Line of Sight (Drones). Participants gain a nationally recognised qualification at no cost to students (or parents), and valuable employment skills in an emerging industry.

Thirteen Year 12 students recently graduated from the two-year pilot program: eight from Mabel Park High and five from Woodridge State High. They are the first graduates in Queensland still at high school to do so.

Mabel Park High’s Girls Excelling in Maths Science (GEMS) program was launched on International Women’s Day 2017. The program aims to empower girls to view STEM as a viable and exciting career opportunity, raise awareness in the community to encourage participation of girls to engage in STEM, connect participants with mentors, and build STEM skills through meaningful hands-on projects.

Stacey has been recognised for her work in engaging girls in higher-level STEM study, with the Queensland Government Department of Education and Training’s International Women’s Day Award in 2017, and a National $20,000 CHOOSE Maths Mentoring Award in 2016.

INNOV8 Logan is thrilled to see that both local public and private schools are incorporating STEM, innovation and entrepreneur programs into the learning curriculum. This builds the next generation of big thinkers and innovators that can feed into the INNOV8 Logan ecosystem.

Elsewhere in Logan…

Over 60 students from Logan and Redlands high schools recently challenged their STEM skills during the third annual Glo@Logan High School Entrepreneurial Innovation in Health and STEAM Challenge at Griffith University.

Students were immersed in three days of experiential learning where they applied an entrepreneurial mindset to generate creative and innovative concepts, solving health issues across disability, aged and health care. Using STEM principles, students worked from real-life case studies to develop solutions, which improve their quality of life and increase their independence, using assistive technology.

Working alongside expert guidance from mentors including teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs and specialists from across the region, students were introduced to identifying opportunities, building a value proposition and creating consumer personas. As well as, human-centred design and prototyping using 3D printers, robotics, virtual reality and coding technologies. Students reported having developed valuable new skills in engineering, entrepreneurial and design thinking, crowdfunding, protostorming, mixed reality technologies and research, how to pitch and communicate their ideas as well as branding and marketing their solutions.

Exoskeletons, magnetic hands, eco reality virtual reality programs for reducing social exclusion of the elderly, adaptable transportation options, smart bands, VR spinal linkage technology were a few of the many innovations pitched professionally on the final day.

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