2021 Ethi'Cool' Projects

Technology, Innovation & Ethics

In Year 7, as part of their six month Digital Technology subject, St Peters students participate in an assessment known as the Ethi‘Cool’ Project. Tasked with working in groups to apply their Digital Technology knowledge to a real-world problem with an ethical dimension, students develop a technology-based solution and then pitch it, Shark Tank-style, to a panel of industry experts.

Each year, we’ve been blown away by both the types of problems our students have decided to tackle, and the innovative solutions they’ve devised to do so. Generally, the best pitches come from students who select an ethical topic close to their heart. As 2021 panelist, Jen Mathers (from Dell Technologies), shared with the students, the personal connection really helps to draw the audience in.

“After that [last opening anecdote], we were all instantly paying attention!”

Now in its sixth year, the Year 7 Ethi‘Cool’ Project has produced a range of unique ideas—rarely has there been a crossover in the ethical topics, or the solutions devised to tackle them. Our students have proven, time and time again, that they are creative and independent thinkers, with interests that stretch far and wide.

Ethi‘Cool’ in 2021

This year, like in previous years, students, presented their Ethi‘Cool’ Projects to a panel of industry experts, however each class also arrived to find a few additional special guests in the mix. The panel members, consisting of Professor Adam Scott (Executive Director of Clinical Support Services at Metro North Health and current parent); Mark Newman (Head of Operations at BOP Industries and 2011 St Peters Old Scholar); Jen Mathers (Account Executive for Private Education at Dell Technologies); Jonathan Nalder (Chief Futures Officers at STEM Punks) and Meg Foley (St Peters Robotics and eLearning Coordinator), were joined by members of the Year 11 International Baccalaureate (IB) Business class. Students – Harvey, Kayla, Ava, Frank and Caio took turns listening to the Year 7 class presentations and offered advice and feedback alongside their real-world industry counterparts.

Head of College, Mr Tim Kotzur, and Service Learning Coordinator, Ms Angela Braby, also popped in to listen to some of the presentations and, in 7G, College Vice Captain, Rachel, came along to represent not only her Year 12 Digital Solutions class, but her cohort—the very first group of students to complete the Ethi‘Cool’ Project in 2015!

On the experience, Rachel was impressed. She commented on how the students had adapted their solutions to fit with evolving technologies over the years.

“[The Year 7s] did a great job,” Rachel said. “The technologies they work with [in their projects] have definitely come a long way since I did the subject!”

Cool, like their projects

Despite their high calibre audiences, the Year 7s remained cool and calm throughout their presentations. When asked about nerves, the students simply said they were prepared.

“I had one group member away,” one student, Tess, told us. “But I think we were able to improvise and get everyone to be succinct despite that. We were told that there was going to be a panel, so our group prepared for it well.”

Tess went further to tell us that, not only was she not nervous while presenting with her group, but that she delighted in the experience.

“I enjoyed seeing other people’s thought processes and what they had considered in their products,” she said. “Working in a group was a bit of a struggle, but I did enjoy it and I wouldn’t be surprised if I decided to study more [in similar subject areas] as I go into my Senior years.”

Tess shared that, previously, she’d had no interest in Digital Technology—her subsequent 360° turn in attitude is reminiscent of last year’s Ethi‘Cool’ Project interviewees (which you can read about here in Plus Ultra)—a true testament to the presentation of the subject!

Where to Next?

The Year 7 class groups who presented their Ethi‘Cool’ Projects last week (Year 7A, C, G, E and J) will conclude their Digital Technology studies at the end of Term 2. In Term 3, they will move into other subject areas—testing the waters to see where their interests lie before they make further subject selections in later years.

Our second group of Year 7s will then commence Digital Technology, working through Programming, Networks and Robotics, before completing their Ethi‘Cool’ Projects toward the end of the six month block. With the bar already set high by last week’s classes, we’re looking forward to the ideas the end of the year brings!

Scroll down to watch the video of our most recent Year 7 Ethi‘Cool’ Project Presentations. If you’d like more information about Year 7 at St Peters, take a look at our Junior High page.