Over a week in May, Geelong Tech School facilitated its first Design to Thrive program.
Co-hosted by Parks Victoria at Lara’s Serendip Sanctuary, 16 St. Ignatius College students took part in this 5 day design challenge. The students goal was to design something that could lead to ecological or social change, and to present this design to industry experts for feedback.
The Year 12 VCAL students spent the first 2 days immersed in life at Serendip. To gain an empathetic understanding of the Sanctuary, students undertook wildlife and human impact sessions with Ranger Vanessa, Wadawurrung cultural education with Ranger Ebonee, and used self-guided citizen-science app ClimateWatch. Students also completed Design Thinking workshops to assist in creating an impactful design. The goal being for students to understand problems faced in environmental work, and to identify avenues that best match student capabilities with the cultural and ecological needs of Serendip Sanctuary.
“I enjoyed learning and getting to apply stuff outside. Coming up with ideas and prototyping was my favourite part. Learning about Wadawurrung Country on Monday was also great”
The final 3 days of the program had student design teams ideating, prototyping and testing their designs. Using Geelong Tech Schools fully-equipped tech trailer, students were able to ideate and prototype their designs with support from Tech School staff. Students utilised laser cutters, 3d printers, app design, IoT/microbit devices, livestream 360 cameras, VR design and more.
After 5 days of empathy-based design, students presented the following designs to Parks Victoria rangers:
- 360 livestream app offering flora & fauna i.d and fundraising opportunities
- A Spotted Quoll breeding box fitted with motion-sensing cameras and microphones
- Sensor gates allowing hands-free enclosure access
- A bird box with remote activated door to allow stress-free relocation of threatened species
- Audio signage to assist vision-impaired visitors