STEAM is an educational approach which incorporates the five areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. It focuses on problem solving, critical and creative thinking and inquiry skills.
At GWSPS we follow a whole school approach to STEAM. All levels include STEAM rotations in their weekly program, consisting of four different sessions. These incorporate various areas of the STEAM approach, and have Digital Technologies and Design Technologies as overarching curriculum foci. Teachers assess students on their approach to the tasks and the skills they use to get to their end result. During some sessions, students aim to produce a learning task that is assessed and then available for parents to view on Compass.
The STEAM approach aims to develop students’:
- Creativity and ability to innovate solutions to problems
- Critical thinking processes that support logical, strategic, flexible and adventurous thinking
- Confidence in evaluating thinking and thinking processes
- Teamwork and communication skills
The Technologies Curriculum
At GWSPS, technologies are integrated throughout the curriculum as Digital Technologies and Design Technologies, in accordance with the Victorian Curriculum. The Victorian Curriculum states that:
The Technologies provide a framework for students to learn how to use technologies to create innovative solutions that meet current and future needs. Students are encouraged to make decisions about the development and use of technologies, considering the impacts of technological change and how technologies may contribute to a sustainable future. The curriculum provides practical opportunities for students to be users, designers and producers of new technologies.
(Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority)
Digital Technologies is taught explicitly through a range of learning contexts including Inquiry, STEAM activities and rotations, as well as through English and Mathematics. Through these sessions, we aim to develop students’ understanding of the three strands; Digital Systems, Data and Information and Creating Digital Solutions.
Across all levels we educate our students to be safe and responsible users of digital technologies. This includes cyber safety and using shared information ethically. Students are encouraged to think about the positives and negatives of digital technologies, and how to ensure that we are respectful users.
Through STEAM rotations, students learn basic functions of digital technologies, allowing them to progress to becoming makers as well as users. They use coding software such as Scratch, Code.org and other apps to develop problem solving skills. They can then apply this to making programs and games of their own. They also consider the way that computers work and think about how software and hardware interact.
Teachers assess student learning and record data based on the achievement standards in the Victorian Curriculum.
In an increasingly technological and complex world, it is important students develop knowledge and confidence to critically analyse and respond creatively to design challenges. Technologies can play a crucial role in both enriching and transforming societies, and in the management of natural and constructed environments.
In the Design and Technologies curriculum, students create quality designed solutions across a range of technologies contexts. Students consider the economic, environmental and social impacts of technological change and how the choice and use of technologies may contribute to a sustainable future. Students also take into account the ethical, legal, aesthetic and functional factors that inform the design processes.
Through STEAM rotations and Inquiry activities, students plan and manage projects from beginning to end. They apply design and systems thinking and design processes to investigate ideas, generate and refine ideas, plan and manage, produce and evaluate designed solutions. They develop a sense of pride, satisfaction and enjoyment from their ability to create innovative designed solutions.
Through the practical application of technologies, students develop dexterity and coordination. This curriculum offers students a broad range of learning experiences, readily transferable to their home, life, leisure activities, the wider community, and to work.
The Design Technologies aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that students:
- become critical users of technologies, and designers and producers of designed solutions
- can investigate, generate and critique designed solutions for sustainable futures
- use design and systems thinking to generate innovative and ethical design ideas, and communicate these to a range of audiences
- create designed solutions suitable for a range of contexts by creatively selecting and safely manipulating a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment
- learn how to transfer the knowledge and skills from design and technologies to new situations
- understand the roles and responsibilities of people in design and technologies occupations, and how they contribute to society.
Technology Resources at GWSPS
The use of technology resources at GWSPS is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. We have invested in more mobile devices which allow for greater flexibility in how technology is used in our classrooms.
We provide access to:
- Smart TVs
Teachers aim to include the use of these technologies in their everyday planning across all subjects. We educate our students to be safe and responsible users of digital technologies, as we are an eSmart School.
Foundation classes have access to a mixture of desktop computers, netbooks and iPads, allowing them to begin developing the computing skills that they will use as they move forward through the school, while also giving them access to mobile technology which they use in a variety of learning activities.
Students in Levels 1 and 2 have access to banks of netbooks and ipads which are used regularly in engaging learning activities both in and out of the classroom. The mobile nature of these devices means that students are able to participate in a much broader range of collaborative activities, as well as using the devices for individual research or publishing when needed.
In Levels 3, 4, 5 and 6, GWSPS implements a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) iPad program. BYOD refers to students bringing a personally-owned device to school for the purpose of learning. There are different models of BYOD programs. At Glen Waverley South Primary School we have chosen a BYOD model that works solely with iPads. We call it the GWSPS BYO iPad Program because the one and only device that students can bring to school is the iPad. Whilst this program is optional it is strongly encouraged that students participate in this program.
Like all learning tools, the iPad is not used exclusively to complete learning tasks. It does not replace the tools we already use such as books, pens, paper, netbooks and desktop computers. The iPad is a companion device. The advantage of the iPad is its mobility and ease of use. It is the perfect tool to help students expand their learning experience by providing them with an instant gateway to a multitude of resources. The iPad also allows students to document and reflect on their learning in a range of exciting ways.
Students and classes across the school use a number of educational programs and websites on a regular basis. These include:
- Google Classroom & the Google Suite for the administration of homework, sharing resources related to learning and communicating with teachers
- Mathletics and Reading Eggs are subscribed by the school for students use in class and at home to develop their skills in Mathematics and English.