The Hastings Secondary College has taken on programs to address the evolving nature of technology.

Tech savvy: Students Tegan McCauley, Tahlia Sheather and Caitlin Axelby enjoy participating in the STEM classes.

Tech savvy: Students Tegan McCauley, Tahlia Sheather and Caitlin Axelby enjoy participating in the STEM classes.

TECHNOLOGY-BASED learning has become crucial to education according to Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus teacher Paul Finnerty. 

“Some of the positive feedback I’ve had from parents is that their child is now understanding how mathematics works in the real world,” he said. 

“The students are working interactively to incorporate maths into a life situation.” 

The NSW Department of Education has established eight Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools and the Hastings Secondary College is one of them. 

The students can access STEM electives from the beginning of Year 7 to satisfy their individual interests. 

The STEM academy is technology based and allows students to create their own interactive projects and designs. 

“STEM is all about innovation and problem solving,” Teaching and Learning head teacher Michelle Garven said. 

“It’s all very much 21st century and it’s collaborative learning.” 

Laptops and tablets are available to the students to use on a day to day basis. 

STEM teacher Jillian Shute has been teaching her students coding as part of one of the programs. 

Students are learning how to create different codes and to design phone applications. 

Mr Finnerty said during a discussion with the company Google, they indicated that they want more children to learn about coding. 

“They’ve created a few programs that we can access through the computers,” he said. 

One student, as a result of learning coding has gone on to create a tourism application for Port Macquarie. 

The teachers said adapting technology into the school has been a learning curve for them, as well as the students. 

“We have to stay one step ahead,” Mr Finnerty said. 

Ms Garven understands that there may be some parents concerned that their child is no longer writing as much, due to technology based courses. 

The Higher School Certificate exams require students to write in a comprehensive manner under a set time frame. 

“It’s all about balance, handwriting is not being ignored in this school and is still very much part of the testing process,” Ms Garven said. 

A spokesperson from the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) NSW said parents can be reassured that the NSW government remains committed to teaching handwriting in schools.

“For the HSC, as experienced teachers, markers are adept at reading students’ handwriting and markers make every effort to read every HSC exam response,” they said. 

BOSTES does not have any current plans to introduce online testing for the HSC.

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