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App-etite for the Digital Future

Digital Technology in the Classroom

Over the past 6 months, our students in Year 7-8 have been learning how to develop mobile applications in Digital Technology. We started from identifying problems in the surrounding, breaking them down into smaller components (Decomposition), exploring the specific needs of the users, and then creating digital solutions that address those needs (User Interface).

Despite being very new to coding, our students rose to the challenge and have done a wonderful job creating fantastic apps. Facial recognition for attendance, PokemonGo apps to navigate around school, a Tamagotchi (virtual pet) type of app to help students focus on studying, game apps to improve mental health in the elderly, a communication app for the mute, and a smart artificial intelligent app that displays the best outfit for specific occasion from the closet – these are just some of the brilliant ideas that the students have come up.

“It is inspiring to realise that coding is extremely relevant and attracts much interest” Mitchell (Year 8) commented. Another student, Ethan, said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed learning to code and developing my own app.”

Students not only have fun coding, they also demonstrate beautiful Biblical Threads as they think seriously about how to create apps that serve their community, imaging innovations that can turn their ideas into reality and overcoming setbacks as coding projects becomes increasingly complex and difficult. Many 21st century learning skills are also nurtured in Digital Technology as students exercise collaborative teamwork, efficient time management, and effective communication in order to achieve their team project goals and meet the deadline.

Rehoboth has also collaborated with two corporations to acknowledge student achievements and extend their learning experience beyond the classroom. Forty individual students who have successfully completed their coding project were awarded with certificates of excellence in Digital Technology and gifted prizes sponsored by WiseTech Global, developer of software solutions for the international and domestic logistics industries and passionate about nurturing young coders. WiseTech has also kindly sponsored our entire College with free Python coding online course for the whole year (anyone who is interested can still register here). In the near future, WiseTech also plans to award the College educational coding devices depending on the number of course completions by our students. Let’s pray that our students will be grateful for this generosity and make full use of such learning opportunities.

Bankwest Junior App Hack

Recently, another twenty top coders from Rehoboth were invited to Bankwest Headquarters to pitch their apps to a panel of Bankwest executives and app developers and receive real time feedbacks. This marks the very first Bankwest Junior App Hack after months of planning and collaboration, and we were thrilled that the event was also picked up  Comment News.

Our students have done a fantastic job and the audience of about seventy people were absolutely blown away by the  calibre of work on display. They even sparked overwhelming post-event online discussions among the Bankwest executives. Lea Cairns, Technology Graduate Program Manager at Bankwest, commented, “How amazing is it when 12-year-olds are creating apps that tackle real-world problems?! I can’t believe the amazing work they did and how quickly they picked up the coding skills required. And their passion really shone through as well as their dedication to the research required to build their apps.”

Paul Lewis, Enterprise Agility Manager at Bankwest, said, “Awesome to see the talent and passion for tech already being developed in these Year 7-8 students! The eloquence of their delivery/pitch, the obvious research involved in addition to the coding, UX skills was very impressive.”

Chief Operating Officer at Bankwest, Shari Cosgriff, commented, “Fantastic to be a part of today’s event! we can learn so much from 7th graders! I’m in awe and kudos to Mr Yu for championing this for the school.”

Judith van der Linden, Senior Manager Communications at Bankwest, said, “I really enjoyed it and was amazed at what the students had created and also how well they presented their apps and responded to the questions from the judges. Not sure I would have been able to do that at their age!”

After the presentation, two Bankwest employees gave inspiring presentations about their journey into IT careers before the judges presented the prize – a top-quality Bluetooth speakers – to the winning team. Each student also received a gift bag full of goodies including a portable charger. The memorable excursion ended with a sumptuous lunch treat, a nice warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold rainy day and a quick tour of the Bankwest HQ.

Victor (Year 8) said, “The Bankwest Junior App Hack was an experience that I will never forget. I was honoured to be given the opportunity to showcase my app and I was truly excited to do so. The judges were kind and gave constructive feedback, which certainly encouraged myself and my partner, Mitchell. The team at Bankwest were very welcoming and as a student, I look forward to my future involvements in coding and my community.”

We thank God for enabling our students to develop and display their God-given talents to impact the community around them. Their God-honouring testimony has certainly left a deep impression upon the hearts of many. The main event organiser at Bankwest, Elle Moog, shared, “Myself and my colleagues were so impressed with how well-behaved, well-spoken, and polite they all were. Even just little things like waiting for people to exit the lift before they got on and waiting until given permission to start getting their lunch. It’s a real credit to their teachers and parents with the behaviour that they showed.”

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:3-6.

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