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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Watts

Rail Projects Victoria

Co-Designing High-Tech Industry-Connected Experiences for Students in Specialist Schools.

Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) and Monash Tech School (MTS) have been building a partnership based on collaboration and co-design for some time. In 2022 it became apparent that RPV’s Metro Tunnel HQ was the ideal partner to approach for a unique Industry Immersion collaboration. After discussion with teachers from MTS’s three specialist partner schools, they indicated a special interest in trains, transport and Victoria’s Big Build from their students.

MTS has 3 specialist partner schools, each with a teaching team keen to expand students’ experience with STEM activities. Students have multiple disabilities and complex needs with learning levels ranging from Level A to Foundation VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning).

Co-designing the program with Metro Tunnel HQ staff and partner school teachers ensured there was an opportunity to modify the activities to support student participation. Schools were consulted, and minor tweaks were made to ensure students’ individual needs were accommodated for each of the three immersion days.

Students learned about the purpose and progress of the Metro Tunnel and participated in a Q&A session with Metro Tunnel HQ staff. Students asked numerous thoughtful questions and enjoyed watching the tunnel progress on the big screens. STEM-focused activities included Virtual Reality goggles, Augmented Reality colouring sheets, Signalling Secrets, and using colour coding to direct tiny robots (Ozobots). The immersion was structured but also allowed for students to have time to return to activities they had particularly enjoyed. Existing Metro Tunnel HQ student experience programs were modified for 2 of the 3 schools that participated.

A co-branded digital badge was also created to capture the foundation skills students were exposed to as part of their STEM activities. The digital badge is an important first step for those students who have pathways and employment aspirations. It also provides a sense of achievement and demonstrates students' first steps in industry investigation.

The students were well-engaged, and, with support from Metro Tunnel HQ staff, MTS staff and their classroom teachers, they easily completed the pre-planned activities. The Industry Immersions were a delightful experience, and student feedback was positive. Students were engaged, well mannered and deeply connected to their learning experience, with all finding different takeaways from the day.

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