Business as (un)usual
Clockwise from left, Year 5 students Isabella Phan, Luella Besen and Madison Martignoni worked remotely to develop IML Pay, an equal pay app, in a unit of inquiry investigating social justice solutions
The pandemic and lockdown presented a few extra challenges for participants in the Year 5 Future Thinkers Forum at the St Kilda Road Campus in September, so it was definitely business as un-usual for learners and staff. Their unit of inquiry, ‘How the world works,’ required them to work in small groups to invent a device or app that meets a specific social demand and make a positive change in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But how do you show off your wonderful inventions when you’re unable to use the Holt Wing exhibition space?
With a Padlet of course! It’s an online bulletin board or virtual exhibition space where learners can present their projects using text, diagrams, PowerPoint, video clips and the like to present a detailed brief on their projects, and visitors can ask questions, leave comments or give feedback about their inventions. The inventions themselves were… inventive! With gender equity in mind, Madison Martignoni’s group developed IML Pay: an app that women can use to check they’re being paid on parity with male colleagues. With a focus on climate action, Spy Mitrangas’s group developed Spellenry’s Magic Water, a particle shield that helps coral regenerate. In addressing poverty, Billy Burnip’s team came up with Food Box, a system that makes donated food available to those in need.
For teacher Linda DoRosario, the richness of the project didn’t come just from the obvious creativity it encouraged. ‘The students developed both collaborative skills and learning skills; going through an inquiry process meant finding out, going further, diving deeper… they loved it!’
Madison agrees. Of her equal pay app, she says, ‘I really enjoyed the process of developing it. How could we solve a really big, dense issue? We only worked on one small part, but if this could work, then maybe it could really help.’