With imagination and technology, anything is possible!
Ange Tutty, Teaching Excellence Program Master Teacher
Throughout history, there have been many inventions that were embraced by some, while others were met with more scepticism. This included paper, calculators and of course, the computer. New digital tools and programs are constantly being created to meet the needs of our digital natives in exciting and innovative ways. In our ever-evolving world, it is important for teachers to understand the implications of new technologies to enhance the learning experience for their students. The Academy Master Teachers and the Principals in Residence were recently given such an opportunity by trying a variety of different digital tools at the Wyndham Tech School.
Some areas of the curriculum, especially in the senior years, have mandated using programs such as ArcGIS. Personally, even though I had to use this application, I have found it a fascinating way to view maps both past and present. Students can access live data on areas such as health, natural disasters, changing landscapes using geospatial technology. Humanitarians often ask: What has gone before us? What is the story? What perspective am I hearing/not hearing? What is the significance of this place? Technologies such as ArcGIS and Digital Twin Victoria highlight this data in an interactive way that is both visually appealing and starts to answer some of these questions. Learners can gather information from these and other websites to tell a story using technologies such as Storymaps, Copy.ai and images developed in Freecovermaker and Dall.E.
The curriculum at the Wyndham Tech School is industry-driven, using a design thinking process for project-based learning. Students love the opportunity to be in a world that has high impact engagement with industry-driven spaces and resources. Adults also find this learning environment accessible to all regardless of ability level. Data in Excel may not always be appealing to all or easy to read but with the data imported into Tableau, you can present it visually in a way that works for you as the learner. It enables the learner to tell the story using data journalism with themes such as location, alphabet, category, time and hierarchy.
Wyndham Tech School focuses on real world skills, so students are exposed to important topics that will be required for future employment, including critical thinking, analysis and curiosity.
Given the rise of, and interest in ChatGPT, which according to its definition is a ‘language model developed by OpenAI’, it’s important that teachers engage with these tools and develop their understanding, in order to help students to consider the ethics and morals of using this type of information and these platforms. This language model offers a great opportunity to use the skills required for future jobs as well as to delve into bias and question the fairness of data gathering to be able to create content.
However we feel about them, these technologies are here to stay. If you are not confident in using them, the best way to approach these tools is with a positive mindset and a willingness to learn. The technologies we encountered at Wyndham Tech School empower learners to creatively engage in their discoveries and prepare them with skills for future careers. With imagination and technology, anything is possible!