More than 40 students brainstormed design ideas for the new Casey Tech School and, with industry representatives, pitched them to a Dragons' Den-style panel at Nossal High School on Wednesday 23 February.
Sustainable crops, 24-hour learning and a tech-free ‘Zen Zone’ were judged the top three ideas by Tech School Ambassador and former Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng, Chisholm Institute CEO Maria Peters, Tech School Executive Director Phil D’Adamo, City of Casey Mayor Sam Asiz and the Department's Area Executive Director – Southern Melbourne Deb Locco.
Other pitches included levitating chairs and artificial intelligence teachers. Students’ presentations were assisted by representatives from local industry, including Fujitsu and the South East Melbourne Manufacturing Alliance.
'When schools build a culture where students and teachers work together, and where the student voice is heard and respected, everyone benefits,' Minister for Education James Merlino said in a recorded message to students.
The Casey Tech School will be hosted by the Chisholm Institute at its Berwick Campus and is expected to open mid-2018. It will give nearly 22,000 students from 23 schools in the region access to high-tech and specialised learning, focused on building STEM and employability skills. It is being established in partnership with local schools, tertiary institutions, and other local stakeholders.
St Francis Xavier College teacher Jennie Collins said she was looking forward to seeing the innovation that would come with the Casey Tech School, and 'using some of the initiatives that we can't accommodate in a normal school setting'.
The Tech Schools initiative will invest $128 million for the construction and establishment of 10 Tech Schools across the state, with ongoing funding to support operation.
For more information about the program, see: Tech Schools