Making Sense of the Future at Wyndham Tech School

Published: Friday 24 August 2018

As you approach Wyndham Tech School, their slogan reads “Connecting Students to Their Future.” Its mission is to increase young people’s interest in the high-tech careers of the future.

As LEA Victoria’s July 2018 event, the Wyndham Tech School is one of ten such projects located throughout Victoria. Each Tech School is hosted by a local university. Wyndham Tech School’s host is Victoria University’s Werribee campus.

The Tech School Initiative

The “Tech School” name is deceptive. Wyndham Tech isn’t to be confused with the Tech Schools of the past. It is not about delivering vocational or technical training. Wyndham Tech School is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) hub for 18 primary and secondary schools in the Wyndham region.

Excursions to the Wyndham Tech are integrated into each partner schools’ curriculum. It will provide students with hands-on opportunities to engage with cutting edge technologies. Opportunities that they might not be able to get at their own schools. These include robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and 3D maker spaces.

Dan O’Brien, the Department of Education’s Director of Tech Schools Division, indicated that student uptake of STEM related careers has remained steady despite growing emphasis in the field. In some instances, it is on the decline. Activities at Wyndham Tech School are designed to engage students and change their perception of STEM.

According to Director Brenda Frisk, students will be granted the autonomy to self-direct their learning experience. Local industries such as health, transport, and construction helped inform the school’s learning outcomes. One activity on display asked students to explore the engineering, physics, and aesthetic design of bridge construction. This curriculum will evolve over time with the continued input of local students, industry, and education partners.

An ILE for Innovation

Gray Puksand Partner, Mark Freeman spoke about the school’s co-design process. Stakeholders included the partner schools, VSBA, Victoria University, and local industry. These stakeholders required many touchpoints for communication and input. The first briefing session occurred at Scienceworks in Spotswood. But, where Scienceworks is an experience curated by adults, Wyndham Tech School empowers students to guide their own outcomes.

Wyndham Tech School's diamond footprint

The co-design process is further highlighted in the interiors. The spaces are warm and inviting. Timber and bright colours askew the typical notion of a high-tech environment. The Tech School has a diamond footprint. The southern edge of the building is comprised of a series of lab, enquiry, and support spaces. The northern edge opens out to a courtyard on the Victoria University Campus. Internal spaces along this edge allow opportunities to learn in large, small, or individual groups. Affordances such as hinged walls, mobile wipeboards, and ideate spaces allow these spaces to flex with their learning requirements.

Wyndham Tech School opened its doors to students on 25 July 2018. Deloitte Australia will be carrying out ongoing evaluations of the impact of the school. This measurement and evaluation provided will help inform future initiatives. It will be interesting to see how the school evolves, and how they connect students to their future.

And Now, Something for Your Viewing Pleasure

Wyndham Tech School was not the only initiative in action that evening. LEA Victoria was also in the process of implementing our own. The Moonshine Agency was filming the first of a series of videos to highlight LEA events.

This video captures the exciting learning and networking opportunities evident at each event. To learn more about LEA and Wyndham Tech School, please watch the following video. You can find out more about upcoming LEA events here.

Article: Wayne Hay

Photos: Wayne Hay and Bella Bower