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Technology Curriculum Leader, Danny Arrow, believes students can benefit from learning about traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world they live in.

‘The key to success in learning is to provide the platform for learners to become problem finders and to enhance students‘ abilities and skills in reasoning, logic, resourcefulness, creativity, imagination and innovation,‘ Danny said.

‘However, we need to firstly develop their understanding of resistant materials and how to manipulate them so then their design solutions can be more valid. It would be like trying to create and design a new menu in a restaurant without the chef having any experience with the ingredients,‘ Danny explained.

Students at St Peters can undertake studies in the more traditional technologies as well as the emerging technologies such as Graphics and Design, which are popular choices for students in Junior High and the Senior School.

Year 10 Graphics student and aspiring architect, Ashlee H, explained how she was using Autodesk Revit® Architecture, a design software with Building Information Modelling (BIM) to design a beach house.

‘It‘s open to any design. You put it altogether and get camera shots of it so you can see it in 3D,‘ Ashlee explained.

‘I think I want to be an architect and I was interested in doing the architectural designing on the computers. Once you know how, I find it really easy to use the design software.‘

Ashlee said she has learned valuable skills in design processes and software and plans to continue Graphical Communication studies at St Peters.

Fellow Graphics student, Matthew S (Year 10), said he enjoyed designing and printing objects on the College‘s 3D printers.

‘We design different objects in a 2D style and then we extrude the 2D objects into 3D objects for our final design. I made a Thor‘s hammer, which was a lot of fun,‘ Matthew explained.

Last year, the College acquired two (Upbox) 3D plastic extrusion printers which have been in action since early 2015. Senior Technology Teacher, Seth Antcliff, explained the College is also investigating more sophisticated Lithograph types for future acquisition.

‘We have been playing around with 3D printers. We‘ve started getting students to do some design work and get some items printed off. That has been really exciting for the students. They can now produce artefacts which were virtually impossible to do by hand, hence broadening their creative ability,‘ Seth said.

‘In our last project, we built the different pencil holders. It took us about five-six weeks to learn the basics of the 3D design software called Autodesk Inventor®, complete the 3D design, have it put onto paper and then have it 3D printed with ABS plastic,‘ Matthew said.

‘Once you know how to use the programs, you feel free to build whatever you want like wheels and a toy car.‘

‘I want to be a structural engineer,‘ Matthew explained. ‘My Dad‘s an engineer and he uses the programs we use!‘

In addition to 3D printers, the Technology Department also boasts two laser cutters, mainly used in Technology Studies, Construction and Engineering.

‘We have just installed our third Epilogue laser cutter which has a large bed size and is more powerful, which is very exciting.‘ Seth said. ‘We‘re hoping with a larger printer, we can do some bigger pieces of furniture. It will also open up all sorts of other design options which the students will be quick to innovate and create.‘

While the Technology department embraces exciting innovations in technology, St Peters focus on students‘ development of manual dexterity and fine motor skills is still very strong.

‘We have a strong emphasis on hand skills first, teaching students how to use basic hand tools: screwdrivers, hammers, all the way through from Year 5,‘ Seth explained.

‘In order to design things for these technologies, you need to understand the basic concepts of how to put things together. The best way to do that is learning to do it manually before you give students more complex design challenges,‘ he said.

On this basis, it seems traditional and contemporary technologies will continue to have an important place in the classroom and workshop.