The Year 8 Superpowers program at Monash Tech School aims to introduce students to a multitude of fascinating concepts and ideas framed by the Design Thinking approach.
During the initial phases, students focus on research and ideas generation. Proceeding past these points requires rich thought, discussion and engagement with the topics and concepts. These portions of the program culminate in the use of two digital programs, allowing students to prototype a potential renewable energy idea. Leading on from the initial portion of the tutorial, the class is introduced to CoBlocks, a coding interface within the program; this allows students to code animation into their designs. It is a fascinating introduction to computer design and the digital prototyping world.
What is truly inspiring is how the students immediately understand the design of the site, opening the library and understanding how to obtain objects that are then manipulated. Once they understand how to access several menus to alter their object, they begin to execute more complex tasks outside of the tutorial. Due to the intuitive design and accessible nature of the interface, students can then build upon the tutorial rapidly.
The creativity of students flourishes here. One notable example was how students developed animated water for their hydro plant, as CoSpaces — the second digital program — has no blocks to show water flowing. The group experimented and brainstormed the alternatives, eventually deciding upon using a series of blue objects to simulate water flowing. The blocks bounced up and down emulating waves and water moving along a plane. This was a fantastic example of problem solving where, through an inspiring level of creativity, the group accomplished their imagined design concept.
Through the use of a completely cost-free design program with a limited suite of options, students were profoundly creative. Through their imagination and problem solving abilities they achieved their design concepts.