4 June 2020

Creative Silicon Chips: an innovation to embrace differentiation

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Creative Silicon Chips: an innovation to embrace differentiation
Creative Silicon Chips: an innovation to embrace differentiation
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Before the innovative elective subject Creative Silicon Chips was created, Digital Technologies classes at Carey were quite basic. They were limited in scope, availability and the ability to differentiate for different aptitude levels. Students who were particularly interested in computing and ICT had few options to pursue their strengths and build on their skills.

In response to these shortcomings, Digital Technologies teacher Tue Nguyen drew upon his Master of Education in Digital Learning and consulted with students, other teachers, school management and parents to develop a negotiated, choice-based Digital Technologies curriculum.

Creative Silicon Chips, which is essentially a ‘choose-your-own-adventure in Digital Technologies’ subject, was designed to offer a wide range of rich learning experiences in all major aspects of Digital Technologies (programming, robotics, web development and computer science) over three years. The tools that students create and the projects they work on are designed to one day be implemented into real-world software applications, giving students a sense of importance and pride in their work. The subject can be modified and extended based on the needs of any particular cohort of students, which ensures that all students who take the subject are engaged with their learning and are able to produce their best work.

The broad range of electives offered from Year 7 to Year 10 at Carey are specifically designed to allow all students to harness their strengths and interests and advance their skills in those areas. Creative Silicon Chips answered the call for more enrichment for students in the ever-evolving space of computing, and has allowed students of different interests and skills to learn what they like and create works they are proud of. They also actively develop skills in communication, collaboration and creative thinking, and they become appreciative of diversity as they experience firsthand a situation where everybody is different, and everybody is important.

For the first time, Carey students could choose a consistent Computing pathway from Year 8 through to Year 10 and VCE Applied Computing, and many did. Since developing Creative Silicon Chips, the number of enrolments in Digital Technologies at Carey has effectively doubled and female participation in Digital Technologies also increased markedly. Creative Silicon Chips is truly a subject for every student, and we’re so proud that it has been nominated as a finalist for The Educator Awards’s Innovation in Curriculum Design.

Feature image: Creative Silicon Chips teacher and founder Tue Nguyen helping Raj with a robot he built in class.

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