“If we had a train or some kind of fast transport, more people would be able to go back and forth. It’s just one example of what’s out there in terms of technology.”
Brock Lang-Purdy, 13, who is in year 8 at the Hospital School while his two-year-old sister Kyesha-Lee receives treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, said the challenge has inspired him to look at a technology focused career.
“I’m interested in video game design and this has definitely inspired me to think about doing something with technology,” Brock said.
Felicity and Brock are part of a group of students from the Hospital School who joined teams from 17 other NSW primary and high schools completing the three day challenge, which involved working with industry and leading academics to understand the ethical issues around humanising technology and design solutions.
NSW Education Department Secretary Mark Scott said the challenge is designed to promote communication, collaboration, critical thinking and other key 21st century skills.
“This opportunity showcases how as a public education system we are ensuring our students can thrive in a rapidly changing world by giving them the knowledge and skills to translate learning from the classroom into a real-life context,” Mr Scott said.
For students from the Hospital School, the challenge is also the first excursion their school has organised in at least 14 years.
“We heard the challenge was on and at first we thought, well we can’t, we’re an odd school,” said Rosie Kingsford, a maths and science teacher at the school.
“But then we applied and when the students heard they’d been selected, they were thrilled. They thought they could do something other than get chemo or have medicine pumped into them.”
Ms Kingsford said the challenge has also helped keep students engaged.
“The teachers at the school talk to doctors every morning and they give the clearance on whether kids are well enough to come down to the classrooms,” she said.
“If they’re not, we see them at the bedside and if we see they’re feeling bad, we’ll focus on lighter topics, we’ll read a novel that day and try to keep them engaged.
“This is the first real excursion we’ve ever been on in the 14 years I’ve been at the school, usually we’ll just go down to the cafeteria or do a tour of a hospital wing.”
Education reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald
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