Making space for design sparks an upsurge in student and teacher interest in technologies
Consultation and engagement to determine the need for innovation
Northside Christian College has always valued its strong links to community and industry. Creating an innovative curriculum in Design Technologies had been the long-held dream of long-standing members of staff however realising this dream was hampered by unsuitable facilities before the Centre for Innovation and Creativity was built.
Our new innovation and creativity precinct was imagined and local industry representatives from the engineering and design sectors were consulted about how to future proof our new facilities. By planning for the delivery of a non-traditional blend of transferable, 21st century skills and high-demand industry skills, Northside Christian College aimed to prepare students for the people-focused, technically empowered, as-yet unimagined jobs of the future. The feedback gleaned thorough consultation and engagement from industry was pivotal in the development of this innovative approach.
Stakeholder engagement and school community consultation in the design process
The stakeholders comprising the Northside Christian College community are diverse. Including the voices of students, parents and carers, teachers, industry representatives and alumni of the College was deemed critical to the design of the innovative Design Technologies curriculum. Some of the most cogent arguments for change came from recent Northside graduates who were able to articulate the areas of greatest need they faced as they navigated the critical transition from school to tertiary education, training or work. It was these voices that inspired the biggest changes.
Strong leadership at all levels to support innovation
From senior leadership to classroom teachers, each level of leadership at the College contributed to the design process through small group collaboration and individual consultation.
The sentiments of the recent graduates were an echo of the initial vision of the Northside Christian College board and Principal. Integral in the planning and visioning for the building project that inspired the innovative Design Technologies curriculum development was the constant thread of collaboration and creativity.
Change management and implementation process
Once the decision was made to pursue an innovative approach to curriculum, it was recognised that what was required was not a significant change but a suite of significant changes spanning the physical environment, teacher capacity, curricular review and redevelopment and the re-imagining of the purpose of Design Technologies in the College.
The change management approach implemented was and is an expression of the values of the College. Values that honour the contribution of those who served the College in the past while unapologetically embracing the opportunities the future promises. The change management and implementation approach which included consultation and coaching built trust and made space for staff to explore new approaches to learning in a safe environment.
Evaluation of the impact on student learning
The impact on student learning has been significant and can be measured through an examination of student data. Statistically, the Design Technologies subject area has seen dramatic increases in the number of students choosing these subjects, with a particularly marked increase in female enrolments. Design Technologies now has one-third of the electives in secondary school.
Interestingly, and unexpectedly, the subject area has also attracted new teachers from Science and Art backgrounds. The innovative approach to curriculum has shown students and staff alike new opportunities for learning development.