EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
Year 2 students at a Sunshine Coast school are flying drones and tracking their waterways back to the ocean.
In Year 3, students are preserving the historical stories of their elders in augmented reality videos.
Their older peers are building a virtual reality Mars colony for the future.
The astonishing, futuristic projects that children are undertaking at Matthew Flinders Anglican College (MFAC) have led to teacher, Laura Bain, being a finalist in state awards.
The MFAC Head of Emerging Technologies and Innovation is a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Excellence in Teaching Award for her exciting projects, and her ‘have a go’ approach, which helps students solve problems using technology, creativity and design thinking.
Ms Bain said she first became excited by the opportunities that technology offered students when she moved to England to teach.
“I came out of a classroom with a blackboard and chalk, and into a classroom with an interactive whiteboard in the UK, and I was just amazed,” she said.
When she came back to Australia she started working with her Year 3 students to create websites and Wikipages, and connected in with the “Ed tech teacher community” worldwide.
“And everything exploded for me at that point, and I just discovered so many things I could be doing with my class,” Ms Bain said.
MFAC students code from Prep, starting with coding “friendly monsters” with Ms Bain.
A book called Pippa and Dronie, in which a young girl with a drone travels around Australia witnessing how scientists and other professionals use the technology, sparked what even Ms Bain thought was impossible at the time: Year 2s learning how to code and fly a drone.
“We had a parent open-evening for prospective and new parents and the Year 2s were flying drones around the classroom demonstrating their abilities competently with no fear … they were so good,” Ms Bain said.
“Children constantly amaze me with what they can do.”
“I will bring something and say, this is what we are going to do: I am going to break it down for you and work with you through this, but sometimes when we are coding, I look at a kid’s codes and I’ll say, ‘Hang on, how did you do that?’ I’m going back through and going, ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t think of that’ – it’s so exciting for me.”
Projects can go much further than she initially thought because of her students’ creativity.
“Learning these tools and learning to work in this way gives them another opportunity for creativity, and that is what is going to solve the future problems of the world, that ability to think creatively and to utilize things like technology to solve problems,” Ms Bain said.
TEACHX Awards winners will be announced on 28 October, the eve of World Teachers’ Day Celebrations in Australia. Finalists receive $500 and winners $5000 for professional development.