Frequently asked questions about Education Week and the Game Changer Challenge.

What is Education Week?

Education Week is a state-wide annual event, held during the first week of August, to celebrate NSW public education. The week communicates the achievements of local schools, their students and the value of public education. Education Week 2019 runs from Monday, 5 August – Friday, 9 August.

This year’s theme is Every Student, Every Voice. It is a celebration of student empowerment and how the NSW public education system gives students the skills they need in order to have and express a voice; during their own educational journey and as engage citizens.

How does this relate to Education Week?

The Game Changer Challenge is an Education Week initiative that started is 2018. The challenge is designed to empower teachers and students with insights into design thinking as a powerful tool for developing general capabilities such as critical thinking, collaboration, empathy, and creativity. The challenge also provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solving a real-world problem, translating learning from the classroom into a real life context.

The challenge involves teams from 16 schools across NSW (eight primary and eight secondary) travelling to Sydney during Education Week for a three-day intensive design-thinking workshop.

Days 1 and 2 - Design sprint

Teachers and students will participate in a “sprint” where they apply the design-thinking process to a real-world problem: How might we humanise technology? Leading industry thinkers from tech giants, social and political sciences, and the creative arts will guide and work alongside each team to offer relevant knowledge and inspiration from the world of work. A makerspace will be available and equipped with all the tools you’ll need to create and test prototypes.

Day 3 - Pitch day

Each team will present their solutions to the challenge question to a panel of education and industry experts, including the department’s Secretary. A closing ceremony and morning tea will follow.

What is Design thinking?

Design thinking is both a mindset and a structured approach to problem-solving that can be used in creative and innovative ways. Its human-centered, solutions-based processes takes users through a journey to build empathy, ideate, prototype and test whether a solution is viable in a very short period of time. It is renowned as a strategy for innovation, pushing users to move beyond pre-programmed ways of thinking.

Design thinking is extremely useful for tackling complex challenges as the approach privileges the human need at the core of a problem and builds solutions that respond to that need.

Despite its name, design thinking is not just for designers. Great innovators in disciplines as diverse as education, literature, art, music, science, engineering, community development, architecture and business utilise the design thinking processes.

Where is the Game Changer HQ?

The Game Changer Challenge will take place at the NSW Department of Education office in Parramatta, Sydney.

Teachers and students will be accommodated at a hotel in Parramatta. Schools will be provided with support from the department’s Game Changer Challenge team to manage travel and accommodation bookings and logistics.

How will I know if my school has been selected?

The 16 teams selected to come to Sydney will be notified by the department’s Game Changer Challenge team on Monday 17 June. Following the notification the Game Changer Challenge team will work with each school to prepare all the logistics pertaining to travel and accommodation and further details for the event.

Are there any costs?

No. Travel, accommodation and meal allowances will be covered by the Department of Education. In addition an allowance will be paid to participating schools for relief teachers for the period Tuesday 6 - Thursday 8 August.

Is there a limit of teams per school that can enter?

Yes. If you are a primary or secondary school, there is a limit of one team per school. If you are from a Central school, you may enter one primary team comprised of two teachers and six students (Years 5 - 6) AND one secondary team comprised of two teachers and six students (Year 7 - 12). Schools that are part of a learning community may also submit a team from that community.

What year groups are eligible to enter?

The primary school challenge is open to students in Year 5 and Year 6.

The secondary school challenge is open to students in Year 7 - Year 12.

What are the dates for the trip to Sydney?

Teams need to arrive in Parramatta, Sydney by 5pm on Monday 5 August. The challenge will end at 1pm on Thursday 8 August. For the duration of the challenge, teams will be accommodated in a hotel in Parramatta.

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