Game Changer Challenge details

Learn more about the Game Changer Challenge and Education Week 2018.

What is Education Week?

Education Week is a statewide, annual event, held during the first week of August, to celebrate NSW public education. The week communicates the achievements of public schools, their students and the value of public education. Education Week 2018 runs from Monday, 6 August – Friday, 10 August.

This year’s theme is Today’s schools – creating tomorrow’s world. It communicates how NSW public schools are equipping young people with the skills and capabilities they need to thrive in a rapidly changing, globalised world.


What is the Game Changer Challenge and how does it relate to Education Week?

The Game Changer Challenge is a new initiative for Education Week. 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.


What's the schedule for each day?

Day 1 – Teacher boot camp

Teachers will go through a boot camp where they will learn about, and gain confidence in, using the design-thinking process as a teaching methodology and gain insights into its application for school planning.

Students will have an exciting day filled with inspirational talks, a physical theatre workshop and time to tinker in the Game Changer Makerspace.

Day 2 – Design sprint

Teachers and students will participate in a “sprint” where they apply the design-thinking process to a real-world problem, i.e. What should the school of the future look like? Leading industry professionals from tech giants through to creatives and foreign affairs experts 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 teams will need to create and test prototypes.

Day 3 – Pitch day

Each team will present its solutions to the challenge question to a panel of education and industry experts, including the Secretary of the Department of Education Mark Scott. A closing ceremony and morning tea will follow.


What is Design thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that can be used to solve problems in creative and innovative ways. Its human-centred, solutions-based approach to problem solving 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 methodology 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 new 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 Media Unit to manage travel and accommodation bookings and logistics.


How will I know if my school has been selected to go to Sydney during Education Week?

The 16 finalists selected to come to Sydney will be notified by the department’s Media Unit on Monday, 25 June. Following the notification the Media Unit will work with each school to prepare all the logistics pertaining to travel and accommodation and further details for the event.


If my school is selected to travel to Sydney in August, are there any costs associated?

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, 7 August – Thursday, 9 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).


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, 6 August. The challenge will end at 1pm on Thursday, 9 August. For the duration of the challenge, teams will be accommodated in a hotel in Parramatta.


Will there be teacher supervision for the students on Day 1?

Yes. Casual teaching staff will be onsite to supervise students on Day 1 while their teachers participate in the boot camp.


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