iAcademy: It’s all about Innovation

This year at Cedars we have embarked on an innovative and creative program that has commenced in Kindergarten and carried through to Year 10. More than a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) based program, this program is specifically designed to teach skills that will set up today’s students for success in the workforce of tomorrow. We have developed a progression of skills and outcomes from Kindergarten through to Year 10 that are being built upon each year.

Some examples include:

  • Kindergarten and Year 1 students commence with the early stages of computer coding.
  • Year 2 to 6 students have been busy and engaged learning programming and creating games using an online platform called Tynker.
  • Year 7 to 10 have embarked on a program that has become known as iAcademy. This program has ranged from assessing different types of energy, coding using Python language, delving into the world of virtual reality, engaging with entrepreneurial understandings, and creating projects based on topics that interest each student.  In Year 10 students have written blogs and books, built websites and apps through to building prototypes to solve particular problems.

iAcademy is a program which enables students to develop their passions, research issues and develop solutions to address them in positive and entrepreneurial ways. One of the initiatives that is distinctive in the iAcademy program at Cedars is our Careers component which is built into our Year 9 and 10 program. Careers Advisor, Mr Andrew Gear does an amazing job giving advice to students through the program as they discover their passions, pointing them in the right direction for future study and career opportunities.

A recent publication from the Association of Independent Schools NSW stated that when considering the current and future workforce, young Australians will need to be equipped with skills, mind-sets and capabilities to respond and adapt to shifting occupational landscapes, and be able to work across several industries. They will need to be life long learners who are curious, adaptable, autonomous, driven, self-disciplined, confident and have competency across these skill sets:

  1. Foundational Skills: Literacy, language and numeracy.
  2. Technical Skills: Skills related to particular disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and humanities.
  3. Enterprise Skills: Creativity, problem solving abilities, critical thinking, digital literacy, financial literacy, project management, the ability to work in a team, communication and global citizenship.
  4. Career Management Skills: It is predicted that young people will need to work up to 17 jobs across 5 industries to adequately support themselves. A linear career trajectory will not be the norm.

The government and industry are urging schools in this area, communicating that the skills listed above are important for our students to develop in order to become successful citizens in their futures beyond school.

The iAcademy Program is not only designed to address these skill areas but to do so in an authentic way that connects the learner to the ever-changing world around them.

It is important that schools take on this advice and work towards training their students to be able to adapt to change, develop new skills quickly and easily and be able to collaborate as part of a team to develop solutions to problems.

This is one of the aims of iAcademy and what we at Cedars are developing in our students.  These are not easy skills to learn or teach but the projects the students are pursuing will provide them with the opportunities to develop these needed skill sets.

Our school community is invited to come and see the iAcademy projects that Year 8 to 10 have been developing on Friday 2 November 2018 from 10:20am to 11:40am.  Come along and see some of the great projects our students have created this year.

Mr David Carter, Director of Innovation