The 2016-2017 year may very well be known as “The Year of Innovation” at Holy Name of Mary College School, an independent Catholic school for girls in grades 5-12, as this academic community has embarked on several new initiatives, enabling young women to improve on past inventions and customize the design of the future for themselves.
This exciting new journey of technological and academic discovery was launched recently with a special event called the “Hack-a-thon”! Logics Academy hosted this fun event where the entire gymnasium was transformed into a huge “maker-space” lab of invention. The Hack-a-thon gave HNMCS students the opportunity to exercise important team-building and strategic thinking skills.
Provided with simple materials including a motor, wires, switch, circuit board, tape, string and cardboard, each group was challenged to create an electronic machine capable of scaling up the distance of a table top. An extra, more difficult challenge was to design this robotic elevator to reverse direction once it arrived at the top of the table and descend back to the ground gently.
The students’ efforts were impressive as they all demonstrated great determination, creativity and excellent problem-solving skills in producing unique electronic elevators. Since this task activated so many of the prerequisite 21st century skills, the Hack-a-thon was a great introductory stage in the new “maker movement” sweeping across HNMCS and other leading educational environments.
Another initiative is Innovation Time, a programme that builds on the momentum of the maker movement. This collaborative period enables students to work together with teacher facilitators to explore some of the world’s most challenging questions. Understanding the cross-curricular nature of problem solving and thinking critically about the intricate nature of the world are just the tip of the iceberg in the skill sets students will develop in producing new deliverables they have the opportunity to invent, design, prototype, and refine.
Each task in the programme is designed to strengthen a growth mindset, where students are encouraged to produce relevant content in response to contemporary needs and research specific knowledge to prepare them for future study. They are invited to take risks in formulating new solutions and encouraged to see the value in being open to new experiences, offer fresh insights and receive constructive feedback.
Educators are more aware now than ever before that they must enable young women to prepare for careers and paths not yet established and the course is ever-shifting. From completing a process of discovery, students will gain insights, ready to be renewed at each phase on their future academic and professional journey. They will be well-prepared to navigate the exciting opportunities awaiting them.