Our Overall Approach
A journey through our Technology Hub is an exploration into the multi-faceted world of Robotics and Mechatronics, Programming, Virtual and Augmented Reality. Our technological environment makes possible a transformation into a learning space where interdisciplinary experiences become more meaningful and exciting through the use of iPads and MacBooks.
Robotics lessons include programming with the Mindstorms EV3 robot; Wedo2 robot as well as Sphero Bolt (robotics ball). Other aspects of programming that are included in the curriculum include coding with Scratch junior; Swift Playgrounds and XCode. Arduino Uno, an extension of the Robotics also known as Mechatronics will encourage students to explore the world of engineering through a combination of electrical and mechanical systems.
The wonderful world of Virtual and Augmented Reality as seen through the lens of 3D headsets makes the experience in the Technology Hub an unforgettable one. Prepare to be WOWED!
The Reggio Emilia-inspired approach in the Pre-Prep de-emphasises the utilisation of technology in this phase although our portable bank of iPads is frequently used for the documentation of our children’s progress. However, the fundamentals of coding are formally introduced in our Grade 0 learning communities as detailed below.
Robotics in the Pre-Preparatory phase is a ‘hands on’ approach to learning, where students build and design simple mechanisms from their environment whilst ‘learning through play’ with Lego Simple Machines. Whilst building activities range from spinning tops to racing cars, skills learnt involve an integration of Mathematics, Science and Linguistics.
Coding skills are promoted through the use of the Sphero Bolt - a robotic ball that can be programmed to manoeuvre through specific paths, whilst displaying colour and sound effects. Coding lessons enhance logical and problem solving skills. Spheros are also used to investigate other the effects of other concepts like speed, direction and balance.
In the Junior Preparatory phase, Robotics and Coding fosters a culture of collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking as well as problem solving amongst students during their Lego Simple Machines, Lego Wedo 2 and Sphero Bolt lessons. Robotics lessons build on simple engineering principles whilst promoting an interactive scientific and creative learning experience.
Students are also introduced to other coding languages like Code Spark and Scratch Junior where logic and coding concepts are enhanced.
In the Senior Preparatory phase, Robotics and Coding extends on the principles of coding and computational thinking already covered in earlier grades. The use of EV3 Robotics explores the application of autonomous robots. Robots are built with specific motors and sensors and coded according to Engineering principles to promote its functionality. Through the use of computational thinking, students learn to solve more complex problems systematically.
Arduino, an electronics platform which involve the use sensors, motors, switches, inputs and outputs, takes the world of Robotics to another level. Its application is integrated with Robotics and Science lessons.
To give our students in the Secondary Faculty an immediate competitive edge in coding, we place their focus on mastering the modern coding language, Swift – the platform preferred by many of today’s most successful App developers. To do this, students primarily work within Apple’s self-paced ‘Learn to Code’ curriculum whilst journalling their learning in Keynote. This allows students at any level to familiarise themselves with coding and feel the thrill of success when their code works for the first time.
As students’ mastery of coding in Swift evolves, they then move on to XCode, Apple’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is used to code Macbooks, Apple TV, iPads, the Apple Watch as well as any other devices unique to Apple. Currently, we have an Xcode expert teaching our Accelerate students to work with XCode. From here, students will have the inspiring opportunity to start developing their own apps and try their hand at creating their own websites. Moreover, our integration of Phenomenon-Based Learning will allow them to ‘dream up’ apps and design websites that help solve real-world problems.
For our budding entrepreneurs, we have forged a partnership with local developers, Syspro. Currently, these awe-inspiring leaders are guiding our students through the steps of building an e-commerce platform that will allow them to sell their goods and services. This practical application of coding will provide a platform for all our students to apply the concepts covered during Business lessons, giving them real-world experience in starting and maintaining their own business streams.
On the Robotics front, students are currently using EV3 Robotics to explore the application of autonomous robots. Soon, we will also be moving into Spike Prime, which uses the self-paced LEGO app to build robots according to engineering principles with specific motors and sensors. Because this app is self-paced, even those students who have never touched a robot are able to begin systematically solving problems while using computational thinking to code a line-following robot.
This year, our students are incredibly excited to represent Rallim at two prestigious competitions. First is the WRO (World Robotics Olympiad), an event that brings together science, technology, education and robotics. Each year, there is a theme that teams need to incorporate into their design. In 2022, the theme is “My robot, my friend”, which takes a detailed look into the world of Artificial Intelligence and how it could be woven into the fibre of our future.
Second is the FLL (First Lego League), where our Secondary students will compete in the third of the three areas, namely the Challenge. FLL is a global STEM competition that focuses on showing young people how to think differently when it comes to sustainability, conservation, eco-friendliness and environmental issues. This ties heavily into our integration of Phenomenon-Based Learning, where our students are learning how to become ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers.
In the near future, the use of virtual reality will be integrated into the curriculum. This cutting edge technology will enable our students to experience phenomena beyond the limitations of the classroom, thus allowing them to step into an interactive learning environment that may open their eyes to new vocational possibilities they had never thought of before. This will create mind-blowing moments.
Lastly – the drones. As one of the fastest growing industries, drone technology has left its fingerprints (‘wing prints’) on a diverse range of markets. Nearly every business owner wants to know how they can use drones to make their mark and influence their industry. With our students being given an early advantage in this area, this could lead them into the fields of becoming a drone pilot, repairing drones or even aviation itself. The opportunities are as limitless as a galaxy of imagination.
Perhaps Napoleon Hill said it best, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”