In just her second year of teaching, Ferny Grove State High School teacher Britt Cleary has been recognised in awards for her use of Virtual Reality (VR) within the units she has written. The former HPE teacher was a runner-up in this year’s Industrial Design and Technology Teacher Awards and was invited to present her immersive VR work at the 2019 Design Teachers State Conference. In the past six months alone Britt, who teaches Food Technology, Industrial Design and Technology and Business, has written three new semesters of curriculum and has learnt significant new technologies to teach to students, including 3D Printing and laser cutting, Virtual Reality headsets and multiple forms of software such as Sketch Up, Illustrator, AutoCAD and Inventor.
She has used VR to tie-in students’ design of micro houses in an extended writing course to enhance student engagement and writing capabilities. Britt has built an exceptional rapport with students and their parents, providing them with weekly updates, postcards and phone calls home to encourage and sometimes follow-up on potential behavioural issues. Her exciting curriculum and commitment to sharing the school’s new programs and technology with parents, and the local community, has been credited with fuelling a significant increase in the number of students enquiring about taking up subjects in her faculty area. Ferny Grove State High School Industrial Design and Technology and Agriculture Head of Department, Corey Gieskens, says Britt is a natural teacher of 21st Century skills. “She does this through developing curriculum that encourages innovative responses in which students can take ownership of their own ideas,” Corey says. “As a natural researcher, upon hearing of an education trend or like, she will often return the following work day with extensive additional information to share with her peers,” he says. “Britt is also an Essential Skills for Classroom Management profiler and has been very popular with the school’s volunteer system for observations of the process because of her ability to communicate clearly to her peers and provide a supportive feedback process.” Britt also works with local feeder primary schools and with an aged care facility through the community’s AIM program, and has run staff PD sessions in staff and faculty meetings. She applies the school-wide Art and Science of Teaching agenda and John Hattie’s research findings, and uses the Learning Pit model to help facilitate student-directed learning. As a result of her exceptional skills, knowledge, commitment, lesson delivery and leadership, and her recognised grit and tenacity, Britt has been enrolled in the National Excellence in Leadership for Women program. Britt looks forward to undertaking her newly appointed position next year as Ferny Grove’s State High School’s first STEM teacher and embedding 21st Century skills into the curriculum that she is writing alongside her STEM partner teaching subjects such as prosthetics, biomechanical joints and artificial intelligence. Congratulations Britt on your nomination.