South Oakleigh Secondary College
Supporting a place-based strategy that will raise student engagement, community perceptions, and foster greater academic drive for all students.
In 2018 the Department of Education and Training announced the development of the Oakleigh Education Plan (The Plan); a place-based strategy, which would “raise student engagement, community perceptions and foster greater academic drive for all students.” The Plan would include South Oakleigh Secondary College (SOSC), South Oakleigh Primary School, and Huntingdale Primary School.
South Oakleigh Secondary College has been a Monash Tech School partner since 2017 and the Oakleigh Education Plan is an exciting addition to the Monash Tech School’s body of work.
As part of The Plan, SOSC received funding to build a new STEM Centre, which will support significant investment in developing students' understanding of and passion for STEM related subjects, future pathways, and careers.
Early in the Plan, the MTS Director, and key MTS staff, met with the Leadership team at SOSC. The meeting identified key areas where MTS could provide agile support. These areas included are: i) Professional Learning (PL) for teaching staff, ii) Additional support for building students aspirations, and iii) Support for the creation of a multi school, multi year level transition project, utilising technology, design thinking and MTS know-how.
SOSC has committed to overhauling the way they educate, engage and inspire students and teachers. An integral part of The Plan lies in embedding Designing Thinking as part of the core approach to teaching and learning, across multi disciplines in the school. MTS Facilitators have led the way in advocating for the Department of Education’s Design2Innovate program, collaborating with fellow Tech Schools colleagues, Bastow Institute, Secondary School teachers and international design thinking experts, to develop and deliver a 3-day Design Thinking workshop for Victorian Government School teachers.
In addition, we have also forged a partnership with FutureAmp, which will allow SOSC students at Years 9 & 10 to explore careers & pathways using a global edtech platform backed by Amazon Web Services, The University of Melbourne InnovatEd and the David Gonski Future Minds Accelerator.
Moving forward with The Plan, Monash Tech School was able to design a bespoke teacher PL session, which introduced 16 teaching staff to Design Thinking principles, and supported them to create an introductory activity, which could be easily incorporated into the classroom. The PL demonstrated how to use a basic Design Thinking activity in the classroom, align it to the existing curriculum, and weave it into the current STEM offerings. All three schools in The Plan were invited to send teachers to the PL, which was delivered at SOSC.
Phase 2 of the Professional Learning rollout for teachers allowed for the inclusion of 2 SOSC teachers in the Department of Education’s Design2Innovate program. Participating teachers learned how to use design thinking to enhance student-led learning, build 21st century skills, and facilitate cultural change in their school. A further 2 SOSC teachers are confirmed participants for the second round of Design 2 Innovate, scheduled for delivery in Semester 2, 2021.
Design Thinking will spearhead a shift in approach to teaching at SOSC. When Design Thinking is incorporated into a classroom environment, it fosters student voice, collaboration and freedom to try, test and try again.
In a COVID restrictive environment, participation in the FutureAmp pilot has allowed students to explore 27 industry sectors, deepen their understanding of occupations, technical and soft skills, participate in virtual work experience and earn digital badges for their efforts. Students have also been able to analyse their own Morrisby Report in detail, thereby adding value to a written static report. The backend of the platform also allows for the Careers Coordinator to build substantial reports regarding student activities and to pinpoint trends and areas of interest.
SOSC has also made good use of the current series of Industry Immersion offerings developed by MTS. The combination of participation in the FutureAmp pilot and recognition by the school of the importance of participating in immersive experiences, has allowed students to be able to explore careers and pathways in a deeper manner. In a COVID disrupted world, connecting students with both technology driven and face to face options, means that students have developed a rich understanding of local and global options available to them post secondary school.
Families, students, tertiary providers and industry can feel optimistic, knowing that the key technologies, learnings, innovations and enterprise skills required to succeed and thrive, are being well supported. The Oakleigh Education Plan is in its infancy, but Monash Tech School is adopting an agile approach, developing resources and opportunities which are proactive and support learning, teaching and whole school aspirations.