Tuesday 30 August 2022

Year 9 MasterTech Program

The expo floor of Latrobe’s Digital Innovation Hub, home to Cisco Innovation Central Melbourne was packed to the rafters last week. On display, a large range of innovative digital solutions: holograms, gesture-based two-person games, 3D world games, interactive dinner tables and real-time speech-to-text translators. The expo was the culmination of a week-long program called MasterTech. A feature of Ivanhoe Grammar School’s University Campus Out of Class program, the MasterTech Program was co-facilitated by Ivanhoe’s Director of Digital Transformation, Steve Brophy, Professor Jeff Jones, Manager of Latrobe’s Digital Innovation Hub and Director, Cisco Innovation Central Melbourne and University Campus Maths teacher Jeff Capuano.

The idea was simple. A mystery box of technological ingredients, some familiar, some not. A design provocation. Curious minds. Freedom to move in any direction. An environment that supported peer to peer learning. Mentorship and guidance from the side.

The aim, use as many ingredients as you can and show us a new world.

‘MasterTech opened opportunities and revealed possibilities that I never thought imaginable. It was the perfect blend of problem solving and creativity that in turn opened a window to another world,’ said Florence – Year 9 student.

‘I loved the experiences of the past week, as we were allowed to live like university students. We could independently decide when our group wanted to have lunch at the Agora and after telling a teacher could just go! For most of the time when we weren’t on break, we would just work flat out for around 5 hours a day on our project, and at the end of the week were given the opportunity to present in an expo,’ said Matthew – Year 9 student.

In the end, the product didn’t matter as much as the learning. In the face of struggle, students wanted to keep working and learning. Many ended up taking the challenge home, determined to find the missing puzzle piece in preparation for the next day. Their schematics on their group whiteboards are not out of place amongst the Latrobe graduate student work throughout the Digital Innovation Hub.

‘The University won’t be ready for these kids in three years…..some have already surpassed my first-year students!’ Professor Jeff Jones

The MasterTech program was another example of the rich partnership between La Trobe University and Ivanhoe Grammar School with planning for the next one already underway. For the next group of students, the bar has been set high and I for one, am looking forward to seeing how they rise to the challenge.

Steve Brophy 
Director of Digital Transformation