Tech savvy Arden students STEAM ahead

Posted on April 11, 2017

Every week a group of keen Year 3 – Year 6 Arden Anglican School students meet to share their passion for STEAM in Tech Club.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. “The STEAM educational approach guides students to develop inquiry and critical thinking skills,” said Arden’s Tech Club Coordinator and ICT Integration Teacher, Mrs Karen Hopkins. She explained: “Tech Club aims to introduce students to different programming languages and have some fun learning code together, while also focusing on Science, Engineering and Technology tasks such as 3D design and printing.” Mrs Hopkins continued: “The club is a great opportunity for students who wish to improve their skills or are keen to share their ideas with interested peers.” The club has been operating for two years, although previously it was divided into two smaller clubs – Coding Club and Tech Club.

Commenting on popular tasks, Mrs Hopkins said: “One of the most popular activities last year was a task to design a robotic arm that could pick up a paper cup. The students enjoyed working creatively as a team. Making their own games using code was also popular.”
Apart from the technological skills development benefits, the club also encourages team work and provides leadership opportunities for students. “Tech Club is very much student led. Our Year 6 students help run the sessions in order to build their leadership skills. Students plan and create in mixed age groupings, allowing them to design and build with like-minded students,” explained Mrs Hopkins.

When asked for recent highlights Mrs Hopkins shared: “The most popular program for coding at Tech Club is Scratch. Our young coders use Scratch to animate simple characters and games. During our first meeting this year, some of our Year 6 students (Hayley Goodlace and Charlotte Roach, supported by Daniel Mawston) demonstrated how to use Makey Makey to play a game on their laptop. Makey Makey turns any electrically conductive object into an extension of the keyboard. It’s a fun tool for young inventors.”

Mrs Hopkins concluded: “This is an exciting year for Technology at Arden with the introduction of our Laptop program in Years 4 – 10. Our students have the tools to build and design. Tech Club provides a safe space for students take risks, work as a team, solve problems and be creative.”

Student reflections
When asked what she likes about Tech Club, Hayley Goodlace (Year 6), shared: “Every single week is always a different experience. You never do the same thing over and over again. For example, one week you may be having fun with coding but the next week you may be doing something completely different. It is so much fun! Another reason that I like Tech Club is that you are learning and having fun at the same time. It is not ‘Schoolwork’; it is experimenting, inventing and having fun. Also, you meet new people from across the grades in Tech Club, so you make new friends in people you had never expected to meet.”

Explaining why he comes to Tech Club, Year 6 student Aiden Monico commented:
“I come to Tech Club to learn about technology and hang out with my friends.”
Year 4 student James Peng felt the best thing about Tech Club is “Coding, I love coding.”