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Real-World STEM — Prototyping Disaster Detection Systems: Innovative Technology Developing Deep Understanding

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 115A

Explore and create: Exploratory Creation lab
Preregistration Required
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Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Team Leader of Innovation and Technology
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
ISTE Certified Educator
Ian Fairhurst is the Team Leader of Innovation & Technology at Knox Grammar Preparatory School in Sydney, Australia. Responsible for leading and supporting staff & students in the immersive use of digital & design technologies embedded in innovative learning experiences, he is passionate about embedding authentic globally-focused learning opportunities through STEAM education, as well as establishing an active maker-culture in schools. Ian has a master’s degree in Innovation & Change, and has presented globally on developing real-world educational experiences with an empathy+STEAM approach. His vision is to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders to engage with authentic issues in our world.
Head of Knox Prep
Knox Grammar School
ISTE Certified Educator
Sue Floro is an audacious educational thinker who understands the importance of a future focused, experience rich curriculum that encourages K-6 students to seek solutions to issues on a global scale. She has led the development of a school based curriculum platform, with the deep integration of the purposeful use of technology to design, create and innovate, at her school in Australia. Sue believes in the power of children to creatively solve great big world problems, and enjoys providing an environment where they can do just that!
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Team Leader
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Nicola is an experienced educator with a passion for inquiry-based and transdisciplinary learning. Future-focused and always striving to empower students to be innovators and problem-solvers equipped with the skills to flourish in a technology-rich world, Nicola leads the development of deep and authentic learning.
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
Knox Grammar Preparatory School

Session description

Through an interdisciplinary inquiry, discover how students engage in learning about natural disasters and build a deep understanding of how technology can be used to protect communities. With a focus on the concepts of cause and effect and responsibility, students use technology and real-world tools to design natural disaster detection systems.

Purpose & objective

For educators and leaders across all contexts, this workshop will demonstrate how a transdisciplinary unit authentically promotes learner agency and deep understanding. Attendees will come away with first-hand experience and evidence of the learning undertaken by the students as well as an understanding of the purpose and effectiveness of the technological tools used to facilitate learning. They will learn that through the inquiry-based and transdisciplinary approach to the development of meaningful learning programs, students become creative and active producers of technological solutions.

They will also come away with technological and mapping skills that can be applied across a variety of learning areas and with an ability to meet the needs of students using a differentiated approach. Through the workshop presentation, the boys will authentically demonstrate their deep understanding of the concepts they have explored as well as the prototypes they have designed, as future-focused critical and creative thinkers. The boys will teach the attendees the skills of coding to solve real world problems using Micro:Bit kits as well as demonstrate how they used real world mapping and data tools such as ArcGIS.

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5 Minutes – Introduction to School Inquiry Learning Framework & Skills Continuum

10 Minutes – Inquiry Unit Deep Dive – Technology Protects Communities – A walk through the Inquiry Unit with student work on show (Exploration of live gallery FRAMEVR)

10 Minutes – Student-Led Skills session - Hands on with Geographic Information Systems – What resources are available and how can your students create their own (National Geographic Map Maker, ARC GIS, StoryMaps

30 Minutes – Student-Led Skills Rotational Workshop - Prototyping Micro:Bit Community Warning Systems to the World’s natural disasters – choose your own two disasters

5 Minutes – Session Wrap Up, Q & A from audience

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Supporting research

“The Art of Inquiry Teaching" - Kath Murdoch (Dec 2021, ACCESS)

"Using Load Reduction Instruction (LRI) to boost motivation and engagement" - Andrew J. Martin (Nov 2016, British Psychological Society)

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Session specifications

Innovation in early childhood/elementary
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Mac
Tablet: iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Google Chrome
FRAMEVR (uses Chrome)
National Geographic MapMaker
ARCGIS StoryMaps
Microsoft MakeCode (laptop)
MicroBit App (tablet)
Subject area:
Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Coaches:
Learning Designer
  • Collaborate with educators to develop authentic, active learning experiences that foster student agency, deepen content mastery and allow students to demonstrate their competency.
For Education Leaders:
Connected Learner
  • Set goals to remain current on emerging technologies for learning, innovations in pedagogy and advancements in the learning sciences.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.