Wooranna Park Primary School
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
Kieran Nolan, Luke Beckingsale, Tom McGann
Overview - a summary to introduce the project or initiative
Schools are failing to keep up with the rapidly changing digital landscape. Under the leadership of Kieran Nolan, Wooranna Park Primary School (WPPS) has become a lighthouse school for technological innovation, with a strong focus on being open source - meaning all of the school’s creations are freely available for other educational institutions to emulate and build upon.The pedagogical practices and philosophy underpinning WPPS have allowed for a technological paradigm shift to transpire. Students have been allowed to traverse a multitude of digital terrains without fear of failure. As a result, the students have been a driving force in the development of these innovations.
Despite the school's disadvantaged nature, we are presently building a S.T.E.A.M Centre made out of shipping containers. This will be a meaningful physical and virtual space for learning and exploration that is easy for other educational institutions to replicate. We are also planning to incorporate a TELENAUT Unit in order to leverage the use of Virtual-Reality, Augmented-Reality and Mixed-Reality into students learning.
Actions / Initatives - Detail the actions implemented to achieve the project or initative
WPPS has lead the way with Victoria’s first CoderDojo, Australia’s first Immersive Education Club, and the world's youngest Cisco class. The school has developed everything from Virtual Reality games, to a 3D printed open source robot, to fully functional student-developed Cisco Networks. We were the first school in Australia to explore space collaboratively via a Kerbal-Space-Program server, the first school in Australia to educate students on the importance of blockchain technology and ‘proof of existence’ - with the support of the Bitcoin Technology Centre. Recently the Victorian Education Department approved developing a program in the use of Bitcoin technology in education at WPPS.
We were also the first school in Australia to be involved in international Minecraft projects with Immersive Education. Kieran has also established strong links between WPPS and the Royal Society of Victoria and numerous business houses, including Intel, Telstra, Immersive Education and the Melbourne-Bitcoin-Centre.
Kieran has played a leading role in arranging support from the Government and RMIT for Immersive Education to hold their international conference in Melbourne later this year.
He is also presently involved in building a S.T.E.A.M Centre, made out of shipping containers, to be a lighthouse centre for other disadvantaged communities to model.
Approach - Detail the approach that was taken on the project or initative
The pedagogical practices and philosophy of WPPS has allowed for a technological paradigm shift to transpire. Kieran Nolan has facilitated, and collaborated with students and staff to explore ideas in a student centric - symbiotic approach.
Connectivity with other educational institutions and organisations has played a major role as Kieran has extended his personal development, and created a personal learning network that has allowed for collaboration and student connectivity with Immersive Education-(USA), Te Papa Museum(NZ), Newlands Intermediate School-(NZ), and Merrylands East Primary School-(NSW), Minecon-Australia, PAX-Australia, and Melbourne-Education-Games-Week.
Student agency and an open source philosophy are key factors that have allowed for the development of the following:
Students have used both Unity and Unreal Engine as tools for developing Virtual Reality games for the Oculus Rift Development Kits (DK1&DK2)
We have been using multiple 3D printers to build a working open source robot (inmoov). This has involved integrating both Leap Motion and Xbox Kinect for gesture-based-controls.
WPPS's famous dragon boat has been upgraded to work with Leap Motion which allows students to explore Google Earth via gesture based controls.
We have integrated Oculus Rift with Minecraft to allow students to develop and experience a fully functional theme park within Virtual Reality
Follow up / response - Details the follow up or response to the project or initative
The Department of Economic Development has supported Wooranna Park Primary School, (WPPS), to leverage the digital world with our students and facilitate Immersive Education, USA, hold a conference in Melbourne later this year. The Director of Immersive Education, Aaron Walsh, has offered extensive support to Kieran in the planning a Telenaut Unit as part of the school’s soon to be built STEAM Centre, and facilitated a number of inter-school connections between our students and students in the USA. Dr.Broney, an internationally recognised consultant, has also supported Kieran.
Since Kieran upgraded the school website, there has been a steady increase in the amount of overseas traffic, which has led to a family from Singapore moving to Melbourne for their children to be part of the digital revolution at WPPS. WPPS also has weekly visitors from all over the world. The Department of Education recently sent a film crew to WPPS to feature the school on their website for Education Week.
Kieran has also been featured in numerous articles, including articles in the LUXEMBOURG Journal News, The Australian, Edutopia, The Age, and more recently on the front page of the The Leader.
Action to overcome resistance - Details the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative
Limited financial resources has also been a factor in building resistance to our attempts to leverage the digital world with our students; even through our STEAM Centre was being built out of In an effort to introduce the study of Bitcoin to our students the school approached Cumbria University, (UK), for a small donation in Bitcoin to buy Raspberry Pi’s for students, and become Australia’s first Bitcoin School. This proved to be a major challenge as the Department of Education frowned on our use of Bitcoin as a currency. Recently WPPS was given the green light to proceed with the project - nearly 3 years later than envisagedold shipping containers to minimise building costs. A feature that would allow other disadvantaged schools to model, should they wish to build similar centres at their schools. However, the School Council does not consider leveraging the digital world, or building a STEAM to be their No.1. priority.
To overcome this Kieran has applied for an AMP grant to allow for the continued development of the project, and the building of the Telenaut Unit. Parent involvement at the after-school CoderDojo has also helped alleviate a lot of the resistance from parents.