Julie Clement considers how resources influence the authentic experiences for her students.
Resourcing for a digital and design focus
Julie Clement: We moved to a space that was a generic teaching space with no equipment. The focus really was to link in with the resources that I had, the design community, the universities, technology experts, to deliver these authentic programmes that would really engage the girls, and the parents, and our learning community.
So when I’m thinking about equipment for this area, budget obviously is a big consideration. We make decisions about purchasing equipment that is small and portable, so it will fit in within our space, and also is cost effective, and it can then be replaced – equipment like 3D printers, vinyl cutters.
We take opportunities when there is equipment available that really relates to the industry. We bought the Gerber pattern technology system when a factory was closing down. We’ve made this conscious decision and it’s really supported by the school because we can outsource. We outsource for the big equipment because we feel that when we’re working with the industry we are then getting the most up-to-date equipment that’s available. We’re not becoming outdated. We are looking for innovative real time manufacturing; and in Wellington that’s laser cutting, 3D routing, digital printing.
So working with the technology experts, the universities, and fashion designers, has really enriched the students’ learning. They see their work as being authentic. They are able to see that it’s the type of design that is done in the real world and it really engages them in their learning.
So the girls come to college after using a range of open-source programmes. We’ve really chosen the Adobe suite, so that we can teach progression. It’s been identified by industry as the premier suite and we are able then to start at year nine, develop authentic practice using the programme, which progresses to more challenging outcomes in the senior school. The school is happy to support us with the Adobe suite, because that is the industry standard and can be applied to a range of outcomes like the laser cutting, digital printing.
If you’re thinking about trying this new approach to technology, you really need to have a very clear vision. It’s quite challenging to implement change in a secondary school and you’ve got to have incredible passion. Out of that is the staffing, so when I was looking at employing staff they all needed to have design knowledge, feel really confident with the Adobe suite, but also very happy to work with other teachers, teach other classes that they might not be experienced in, and kind of have a “go to” attitude.
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