Transcript for the #GCC2020 showcase: Catalyst Lab


April Morley

Did you know there's something that teachers really struggle with?

That people probably don't even think about?

The pressure is on teachers to prepare our students for a future we can only imagine.

In the future will we wear spacesuits made out of sharks eggs?

Will we eat insects grown in labs?

Will we take driver-less rocket ships to the moon for our school excursions?

In the future when you leave school your teacher is not going to be there to help you through it.

It's up to you to invent, design and create the future that you want.

We don't know what your future is going to look like, but we can teach you how to approach problems that are going to arise.

My name is April or my students call me Miss Morley

I'm working in the Catalyst Lab innovation program, in the Department of Education.


Game Changer Challenge 2020

April Morley

The Catalyst Lab is a really cool place in the Department of Education where we focus on innovation in teaching and learning.

We use design thinking to solve problems for students and teachers.

Sometimes I would sit on the beach in my school holidays thinking, 'How am I going to teach my students everything that they need to know?', 'How am I going to make it exciting for them?' and 'How can I do this better?'

It can be really stressful sometimes.

Did you even know that teachers think about these things?

At my school there was this really awesome space.

So I asked my students, 'Well what should we do with it?'

They came up with lots of weird and wonderful ideas and then one stuck.

We'd make a community garden.

In Maths we measured and we planned all the garden beds.

In Science we studied the weather and the seasons.

And then we took all of this knowledge and put it in to building our garden.

We investigated questions such as, 'What would happen if there were no bees?'

'Where does our food come from?'

And 'How can we be more sustainable at school?'

The students were so excited.

They couldn't wait to come to school and they really wanted to learn more.

One of the parents even had a native beehive and he wanted to split it with our school.

The students loved opening the hive and looking inside and learning about how bees and plants and humans all interact.

We split the hive so many times now over lots and lots of years, to the point we don't need any more on our school site we're sharing with lots of other schools in our community.

I'm not the only teacher teaching like this.

Three teachers at Campbelltown East Public School were also asking lots of questions about how they can improve outcomes for their students.

They had this really big patch of bush behind the school that had koalas in it.

So they took their students out there and the students asked;

Well, how can we protect these koalas?

They looked at all the problems facing koalas in urban environments and then they came up with some solutions.

Did you know that koalas are often hit by cars and attacked by dogs?

I didn't realize that.

So then they come up with some ideas around their school.

They cleared out an underpass that allowed koalas to go under the road rather than over.

And they planted lots of trees, so that koalas can quickly run up a tree when a dog comes, which is a really brilliant idea.

The students were so excited!

They wanted to think of more solutions.

They really wanted to come to school and learn more.

This made their teachers really happy.

This is applied learning.

It's about asking big questions.

Investigating them.

Applying this knowledge to real world problems and then thinking about, 'Well, why does this learning matter?', 'How has it changed the way I think, I feel and I act?'

Take a moment and think about one of your favourite lessons from school.

What was it that made it really awesome?

Did you get to go outside?

Did you get to look at bees?

Was it a really awesome expert telling you about what they study?

Ed, Mel and Steph realised that this was a really awesome way of teaching.

So they wanted to share it with lots of other teachers and students too.

They decided to enter the Catalyst Lab's iIncubator Challenge, which asked, 'How can we make learning more applied?'

It's just like what you're doing for the Game Changers Challenge, but for teachers.

They were successful with their idea and invited into the department to work with a team of innovation experts.

They went through a rigorous design thinking process just like you're doing, and tested and validated their ideas and solutions.

You really need to involve people if you're making a solution for them.

So they went out and asked teachers lots of questions and they even came to my school and then, that's how i got involved.

Next they took all of the data that they had and made a "How might we?" statement.

They decided on, 'How might we make learning more applied, so that students can flourish in a really uncertain future?'

All right, so we've covered: empathise, define and now we're up to ideate.

This is one of my favourite parts because you can come up with as many ideas as you like.

Actually the more the better.

Even if they're terrible.

We like to call it the 'bad ideas factory'.

You're just pumping out bad ideas all the time.

Some of the ideas they came up with were:

Make students read lots of books.

Make students eat books.

Make students eat lots of Brussels sprouts.

Invite in scientists to help students learn in the classroom.

Solve real-world problems.

Take lots of your lessons outside.

Invent a time machine so you can go into the future, learn all about the future and then come back so you can teach your students what they'll need to know.

A realistic solution that they came up with was an app for teachers where teachers can upload, share and edit each other's programs.

You can see what teachers are working on in other schools and share what you've been working on too.

They called it 'Edumap'.

It seems like a really simple idea, but it'll be really useful for teachers everywhere.

We gathered a really awesome team of designers, developers and product managers, to actually start building this solution.

We've come up with a minimum viable product based on the prototypes.

So the minimum viable product is actually a working solution that doesn't cost too much money, to see if it can actually work in reality.

It's a way of teaching but then it's also an app to help you do this style of teaching.

I want to tell you a little bit more now about applied learning, to prepare students for an uncertain future.

Did you know that students are at the centre of everything that we do?

We like to know what you want to do, what you're good at and what you need help with.

And then of course it's very important to have your teacher there to help guide you through your learning.

There are some other key elements that make applied learning so awesome.

It's about integrating your subjects like Maths and Science and Geography so you can see the links between different subjects.

It's about inviting in community members and experts to show you where your learning can lead you to awesome careers.

And it's also about really deepening your subject matter knowledge.

The app for teachers helps put these ideas to make it reality.

I like to call it Netflix for teachers, because you can go onto the platform and see lots of other programs that other teachers have made.

As a primary school teacher I might want to go on, have a look at different science subjects...

I might want to look at a program on bees that another teacher has taught and then take that and edit it for my students.

The next bit is a little bit like YouTube.

You get to create your own programs and then post them and share them with others so they can see what you're doing.

We're always testing with teachers and improving our product.

It's our job as teachers to help prepare young people just like you for your future.

What problem are you solving for the Game Changer Challenge?

What great ideas do you have?

Good luck.

I'm looking forward to seeing your final prototypes, hearing lots of really bad ideas and hopefully some awesome ones too!


Game Changer Challenge 2020

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