D&T Hub Conference – 2018 Reflections

"The passion the Design and Technology teachers hold in regard to high quality teaching and learning is evident through the continued attendance and support the annual HUB meeting receives" 
Neil Seaman - Wudinna AS

Compiled and written by:Gavin Hammond, Ty Redden, Neil Seaman, Andrew Hudson and David Hawes

The West Coast and Northern Areas D&T Hub Group has been active for decades and covers a large, constantly growing proportion of the state. Each year we have a 2 ½ day conference (usually in term 1) which is primarily planned and managed by the host school.

A decision was made at the 2017 Tumby Bay conference to pursue the STEM theme further by meeting in Adelaide during 2018. This is a first for our group and turned out to be a winning idea! A small committee was formed to plan this epic event for 2018. Two former hub members who have recently moved to city schools joined our committee and offered to host.

Our hosts were Andrew Hudson of Brighton SS and David Hawes of Urrbrae Ag HS. As usual, we had a very full agenda which started (unofficially) on Saturday evening with a meal and a few beers at the Arkaba Hotel. Despite the usual Saturday night socialising with old mates and “talking shop” into the wee hours for many of us, Sunday was great.

Based at Brighton Secondary School, the group of about 30 started the formal program with an excellent session from Andy Waller (Cardijn College) introducing us to the Arduino microcontroller with computer coding, simulations and hands on breadboard work. This was followed by Andy sharing his experience with the EV3 Lego robotics gear.

Pizza and soft drinks for were scoffed for lunch while we had an open-forum discussion with Peter Williams (Ed Dept WHS unit). Brighton Secondary School colleague, Finn Galindo then gave us an insight into why the Brighton SS students have been, and continue to be, so successful with the F1 in Schools competition. The work done by these students is astounding! Of course, we all had a good look-around the BSS facilities and were very impressed with how well equipped they are.

The remaining two days were spent at Urrbrae Agricultural High School. After an early, jaw dropping, “sticky beak” around the Urrbrae workshops we settled down to our ongoing work of embedding the Australian Curriculum (Design Technologies and Digital Technologies) into our teaching programs and tasks. We were glad to have Chris Thompson, a Project Officer from the Learning Improvement team to support us during this session. She could provide clarity on several points and seemed impressed by the range of tasks shared between us, generating some great collaborative discussion.

Neil Seaman (Wudinna AS), with support from Ty Redden (Streaky Bay AS), then led a session on “flipped learning”, which involves the use of video to support learning. We were all convinced that this methodology can be applied in a range of ways to enhance what we do, save time and provide explicit instructions and feedback, which students can watch over and over until they get it. This session blended nicely into our traditional “show & tell” forum where each of us share some small component of our practice. We all consider this part of our conference as one of the most valuable as it provides a heap of ideas, resources and task designs which we can use, adapt and apply in our own sites.

The afternoon involved boarding our hire bus again for a trip to Tonsley TAFE. We were addressed by the management and then split into 2 groups for a fascinating tour of this very impressive facility. The tour ended with a clear message for us to bring our students back here for a good look around these inspiring learning environments.

An early start back at Urrbrae on Tuesday enabled us to make full use of the limited time that D&T legend, Steve Read (DATTA, SACE Board, UniSA, REA SA rep.) and his guest, Dr Michael Myers OAM (Founder and Chairman of Re-Engineering Australia Foundation (REA)) had available.

Steve shared topical information from each of his roles including discussion on the review and current re-write of the SACE D&T framework. He was supported by Joy Cresp (SACE Board D&T Curriculum Area Officer). We were privileged to have Michael Meyers with us to give an insight on the creation and remarkable success of REA programs such as F1 in Schools. He pointed out that on the world stage, Australian students were among the best at applying the skills and resourcefulness necessary to consistently win this competition.

Emil Zankov (Pedare College and DATTA President) followed Steve with info about DATTA. We were glad to hear about increased inclusivity for regionally based teachers. He then shared a passion of his in VEX Robotics and, with support from SA based company rep., Nicole Champagne, demonstrated how these robots work. The benefits of students in taking part in the VEX Robotics Competition were also good to hear about.

We wrapped up the formal proceedings with some more “show and tell” and an open forum session. During this time, we all uploaded any electronic files that we thought others might find useful and then downloaded the 10GB folder to our USBs.  As always, a decision was made for the next Hub Conference before we went our separate ways with renewed vigour and a bunch of new ideas to try out. As we headed off, contemplating lunch, we were already looking forward to Streaky Bay in 2019!

The following workplaces were represented at the 2018 Adelaide Hub Conference:

Bordertown HSBrighton SSCaritas College – Port AugustaCardijn College
Ceduna ASCleve ASCoober Pedy ASCummins AS
EJEHS WhyallaKimba ASMiltaburra ASPasadena HS
Peterborough HSPort Augusta TRTPort Augusta SSPort Lincoln HS
Quorn/Hawker ASSamaritan College – WhyallaState-wide PRTStreaky Bay AS
Swan Reach ASTumby Bay ASUniSA D&T undergraduateUrrbrae Ag HS
Wudinna AS 

We are grateful for the input made by the following guests and presenters:

Andy Waller, Peter Williams, Chris Thompson, Finn Galindo, Steve Read, Joy Cresp, Michael Myers, Emil Zankov and Nicole Champagne.

We are also grateful for the continued support from Larry Spry who organised funding support through a submission to the Council of Education Associations of South Australia (CEASA) and DATTA for managing this process.