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11 and 12 Year Olds’ Creative Thinking on Show at Fed Square’s Digital Façade

In order to survive fast-paced changes and thrive in careers that don’t yet exist, schools like Melbourne Girls Grammar are arming the next generation with skills for the future.

The Middle Years Program (Years 5-8) at Melbourne Girls Grammar offers opportunities designed to build competencies and extend capabilities with real-world experiences such as innovative lessons in the classroom, international programs, internships, leadership development and micro credentials.

Last term, Year 6 students were tasked with projects that utilised innovative technologies to address: In what ways can new technologies be harnessed to have a positive impact on society?’

“In the Middle Years we encourage students to develop understanding and empathy before taking action on authentic real-world problems. Through this process of inquiry exploring media, our students are developing the confidence and skills to make a real difference as emerging citizens locally and globally,” said Billie Staples, Assistant Director of Middle Years at Melbourne Girls Grammar.

The students worked with RMIT Program Manager and Lecturer in the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) program, Dr Li Ping Thong, to develop a project with a direct focus on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

 “These girls are growing up in a world where digital technologies are weaved into their daily lives,” says Dr Thong. “What is now required is to re-think how these technologies could be repurposed for meaningful actions and impactful outcomes.”

“Adults are often the ones developing innovative technologies for students to use…if the classrooms of the future take charge, it lets students be the designers and innovators, thus allowing them to respond to real world problems and come up with creative solutions through innovative technologies.”

The research project allowed our Year 6 students to explore and experiment with digital media technologies – showing them they are not just passive users of technology, but rather how they can use media in a positive way and utilise creative and critical thinking skills to problem solve.

Year 6 student Ruby says the project has extended her learning capabilities and problem-solving skills.

“It’s been really interesting to think of a problem, create something new and overcome hurdles,” says Ruby, “Since learning all the different elements of media, I’ve started to think about where I could use this knowledge and what career I might want to pursue. I’m now thinking about being a journalist, newspaper editor or YouTuber because I love creating things and coming up with new ideas.”

Ruby’s peer, Abigail was similarly inspired by the project, stating the program implored her to think outside her own environment and experiences.

 “Utilising the different technologies has showed me what the jobs of the future will look like and how we can take part. I found VR extremely interesting, the way it can be used to immerse a person in an environment or even put someone into another person’s shoes inspired me”.

On 22 November at 11am, a selection of student works will be on display on the Federation Square Digital Façade so that everyone can see the creative and powerful solutions students are already thinking of to solve problems while harnessing digital technologies.  

Their projects tackle important societal issues including: Body Image; Sustainability; and Empowerment. By translating these topics into visual presentations outside of the classroom environment, our students are building creative solutions to raise awareness of global issues.

“Our students enjoy learning about how what they’re investigating in the classroom can translate to real world experiences and futures within the media landscape,” says Staples, and Dr Thong agrees.

“Our students are the designers of the future who will shape what the world looks like,” adds Dr Thong, “so why not start now, in the classroom?”