The rapid growth and integration of technology across the modern workforce is changing the expectations placed on our future graduates. While the traditional STEM approach in schools has provided a good stepping stone in the past, there is a clear gap emerging between what we are teaching our children and what the real worldexpects from our graduates.

Traditionally, students are not exposed to complex real-worldtools until the final years of their schooling. Rather than focusing their energy on “creating”, students devote a large portion of their time and energy into becoming comfortable with the tools with which they are working, leaving little time to develop the creative skills that will be expected of them in the future.

One of our primary goals at Snowy Mountains Grammar School (SMGS) is to help mould well rounded students and arm them with practical and usable skills. Initially driven through the Academy of Excellence program, SMGS began to re-shape how it approached technology with students to better align them with the rapidly changing workforce.

This process involved identifying the technology and tools being used by various industries. Through a combination of staff expertise and industry connections, students in lower secondary, especially our Year 7 students, are actively encouraged to skip the traditional STEM learning tools and pursue and utilise tools that have more relevance in the current and emerging workforce. This is supported by providing an environment where students are encouraged to experiment and explore their chosen field with just enough technical assistance to help them achieve their goal but ensuring that they have been able to achieve it on their own. This enhances the learning experience and helps promote a passion that will stay with them long after they have finished school.

Through the first half of 2018, students across lower secondary have been using industry standard tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio for coding, Fusion 360 for 3D CAD design, Adobe Premier Pro for video production and Unity3D for game and virtual reality application development with competence.

By actively introducing students to these tools at earlier stages in their schooling and providing them with an environment that promotes collaboration and self-learning, students are able to focus the majority of their energy in the senior years on developing the skills that will help them excel in the modern workforce.