In2Uni, In2Tech – Devika at UOW’s July Learning Labs

School holidays: loved by kids, loathed by parents. All we can say is thank goodness for In2Uni and Learning Labs!

For several years the University of Wollongong have been relieving parents from some of the school holiday stress by providing workshops through their In2Uni Learning Labs. In 2017, Devika Learning will be joining them.

Over the July school holidays Devika will be running a series of full-day workshops from out of the UOW main campus. Teaching skills such as coding and virtual reality development, the workshops will offer programs for students from year 3 – 10.

Our workshops will include,

  • Coding With Scratch: Students in years 3-4 will be taught how to program their own interactive stories, games and animations while learning the basics of coding and creative problem-solving.

 

  • Coding With Touch: Year 5-6 students are also being offered the chance to learn coding. This workshop will use Touch Develop to introduce students to creative coding, working collaboratively and how build with drop and dag development.

 

  • Intro to Virtual Reality Development: For high school students, we’re running workshops that will introduce them to the world of virtual reality development. By the end of this workshop students will know how to use game engine Unity, be able to build their own VR project and have a good understanding about where the VR industry is heading.

 

This is Devika’s first year running workshops as part of UOW’s Learning Labs, but the demand for our workshops is already high. A whopping 98 students selected for the Learning Labs program chose our “Intro to Virtual Reality Development” workshop as their first choice. Unfortunately this means we were unable to accept every student. Luckily, we are running the same workshop over a 10 week period next semester so no one has to miss out.

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We’re bringing our popular workshops to the UOW’s Learning Labs for the July 2017 school holidays

As with our regular technology workshops, the Learning Labs workshops will approach education from a fun, “gamification” angle. This means students will be taught how to code and develop using games – a far more enjoyable and engaging approach to learning than conventional teaching methods. After all, these kids are still supposed to be on holidays – we want them to be enjoying themselves!

Since beginning in 2016 the Devika Learning program has grown significantly to accommodate demand for our workshops. More and more, students (and their parents) are recognising a technology gap in the Australian curriculum. Skills in tech will be of vital importance to the jobs of tomorrow. By teaching these skills now, Devika hopes to get as many kids as possible ready for the careers of the future.

UOW’s In2Uni program seeks to provide lifelong learning and educational engagement. From year 1 to post-high school, the program wants to encourage people to stay connected to education throughout their lives.

In2Uni, In2Tech – Devika at UOW’s July Learning Labs

A Career in VR? Devika Heads to the Illawarra Schools Career Expo

The last few years of high school can be tough. Apart from all assignments, people start asking you about what you’re going to do next:

“What uni are you going to?”

“How are you going to do after school?”

and of course the widely dreaded,

“Have you started studying for the HSC exams yet?”

Forcing young people to decide on a career path when they’re 18 and in the middle of exams is not easy. But it’s made a little bit easier with events like the Illawarra Schools Career Expo.

Devika joined the dozens of higher education providers, employers and industry representatives for the two day expo over May 9-10. Alongside institutions such as TAFE Illawarra, the University of Wollongong, Bond University, Sydney Film School, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, AFTRS and the Australian Defence Force, Devika showcased the importance of tech skills for future careers.

High school students wait for their turn to try out a virtual reality device at the Illawarra Schools Career Expo
Devika was kept busy demonstrating and explaining virtual reality at the Illawarra Schools Career Expo.

The expo is designed to expose high school students to as many career options as possible – tech of course being one of those options. But more important is how digital literacy skills such as coding, basic programming and blogging will crucial to a variety of industries in coming years.  

As usual the Devika team were swamped with students at the expo, all eager to try out the Vive virtual reality system. After the first student tried out the VR setup, Devika had lines of students and teachers (and even a member of the ADF) queuing up to give virtual reality a go. Although awareness of VR is increasing in the community, many people are still unaware of how it works and the range of potential uses the technology has. Some ways VR is already being used include:

 

Teaching people how to meditate and reduce anxiety

Helping diagnose ADHD

Educating kids about drugs and alcohol

 

Moreover Devika wants to show kids that they can make their own virtual reality applications and games. Through the Devika Learning program students can start developing their own VR apps and learn a variety of tech skills like coding, web development and 3D printing. For students interested in a career in computing or gaming, these workshops can help given them an introduction to the industry while equipping them with the skills necessary to succeed. 

The jobs of the future are undoubtedly going to being underpinned by strong skills in tech. As they demonstrated at the Illawarra Schools Career Expo, Devika wants to ensure students today are ready to become the content creators of tomorrow. 

A Career in VR? Devika Heads to the Illawarra Schools Career Expo

Passion Camps and Workshops – All in a Day’s Work for Devika

When you’re a kid school camps are a highly anticipated event. Days away from your parents, sharing a room with your friends and getting to try a whole bunch of different activities makes for good times as a kid. But as Devika Learning recently found out, some schools are taking the humble school camp to the next level.

The Devika Learning team recently visited Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS) during a “passion camp” – a school camp where the students get to decide what activities they want to do. No one wants to spend their precious few days away at camp bored and unchallenged – passion camps address this by letting the students set their own schedules.

Devika was there to facilitate one of their popular workshops on the multi-platform game engine Unity, as well as give a virtual reality demonstration through Vive. With VR devices becoming steadily more commonplace, the students’ keen interest in the Vive was hardly surprising. And who knows – with their newfound skills in Unity they could be well on their way to making their own VR games!

NBCS is an independent school based in Terrey Hills, NSW that emphasises a “culture of self-directed, student-led learning – growing students to be high-capacity leaders and creative thinkers”. This approach is reflected in their implementation of passion camps, allowing students to self-determine their approach to education. For Devika, this means students in their Unity and VR workshops are there because they have a genuine passion for learning about technology.

Workshop facilitator Jasmine takes a break from while at St Gregory’s College.

Devika Learning have been kept busy in recent weeks with a stream of workshops at schools such as St Gregory’s College Campbelltown, and St Josephs Catholic High School Albion Park. Our workshops in coding, game making, website development, Minecraft and virtual reality are carefully constructed as to move kids from content consumers to content creators while still enjoying the learning process.

Technology will play an increasingly significant role in our day-to-day lives. The Devika team work hard to ensure the next generation are equipped with the skills they’ll need to succeed in their future careers.

You could say that’s our passion.

Passion Camps and Workshops – All in a Day’s Work for Devika

Game Development at St Josephs – Week 3

This year a group of year 10 St Josephs’ students have been part of our 10 week program for game development, learning to build their own computer games.

Aside from building computer games, they have also been blogging their progress! At Devika we believe teaching is important to learning, and encourage all of our students to share the knowledge they are building with others online.

 


“Today was the first (official) day of the Devika course, and as someone who knows little to nothing about programming and game making I went in not knowing what to expect, just that I’d be making a game in 10 weeks and learn on the go. My aim for this program is to, by the end of it, learn how to code, program and develop a video game and acquire the skills necessary to continue making games in the future.”Juliana from Juliana Art And Design


 

Designing a game is not always about the tech skills. Design skills are very important, as they are learning.

 


“I’ve started designing the inside of my house. Originally I wanted a large amount of objects in the house but I decided it would be too crowded” ~  Trent from Death2All


 

Screenshot of a house in Death2All

Blogging helps develop skills and experience in marketing! Its great to see the students thinking about sales.

Store coming soon to Island Journey

Along with design and marketing, art is also a very important skill and has a valued place in tech.

 


I figured I could use my skills in digital art to create and animate backgrounds and characters for the game, something I’ve always wanted to do. This does mean that the game will take more time to develop than a 3D game, but I can do it even if it does mean continuing after the 10 weeks.”


 

 

Art and sketches by Juliana Art and available for purchase here

 

Sometimes it is only after building a game that you really see the importance of all these skills.  Marketing, blogging, website design, branding, visual design, game design and the most important thing of all, putting the effort in to make things happen.

 


“Another week passed and been working hard on my project, after making some basic models I started putting them in Unity” ~ Adam from Island Journey


 

Enjoy some screenshots of what they have made so far, and be sure to check out the websites and blogs to find out more as their games progress.

 


 

3D models by Adam for Island Journey
A screenshot from Island Journey
A screenshot of the main character from Death2All
Game Development at St Josephs – Week 3

SMART Collaboration

SMART, at the University of Wollongong, aims at recognising that the world is changing, not only because of technology and climate change, but also the impact of an aging population. This means that infrastructure will need to change too.

Our mission is to move students from technology consumers to technology creators. In doing so, together, we aim at unleashing the potential of both virtual and augmented reality for the region of Wollongong by collaborating in areas in which SMART is working on addressing.

We will have an office located at Building 6 Room 306 and we will be running workshops among the labs.

 

 

SMART Collaboration

Sydney Festival 2017

Sydney Festival was originally conceived by the Sydney Committee, the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney with a view to attracting people into the city center during the holiday month of January.
 
To help celebrate the Sydney Festival we will be running Minecraft for Education Workshops at Barangaroo where children will be able to create virtual 3D Sydney Metro Northwest Stations where they will learn key features of past, present and future train stations and the reasons behind design changes over the past 100 years, enables students to identify aesthetic, cultural, safety, sustainability and functionality issues of importance to contemporary passengers.

The first Sydney Festival took place in 1977 and it has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest annual cultural celebrations with an international reputation for modern, popular and intelligent programming. In many ways it is probably still best understood as a celebration of Sydney and its style and energy reflect the confidence, diversity and vigor of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

 

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Sydney Festival 2017

DEADLY Encouragement Awards Partnership 2016

Devika Learning will be supporting and partnering with the DEADLY Encouragement Awards!

The “DEADLY Encouragement Awards” have been initiated to recognize and reward our Aboriginal Primary and Secondary school students in the Northern Illawarra region who over the past year, have demonstrated a commitment to improve over a range of mediums, ranging from attendance, community involvement, entertainment, sport or music, have displayed a positive attitude towards learning or have completed Year 12 studies.

By acknowledging and rewarding our student’s efforts, our aim is for our children to feel valued; to encourage a stronger sense of identity, and in future, encourage them to be strong effective leaders and role models to younger children in our community.

For those interested in attending:

Where: In the lovely grounds of Waniora Public School, Ursula Rd, Bulli
When: Thursday 10th November 2016 from 4pm to 6pm
What: This celebratory event will also include various fun activities including games, face painting, dancing displays and performances.
Who: Students, families, Elders and representatives from over 40 local schools

The DEADLY Encouragement Awards are presented by Northern Illawarra Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

 

DEADLY Encouragement Awards Partnership 2016

Microsoft Partnership

Devika Learning is very pleased to announce that we have partnered with Microsoft for Education to store, deliverand collaborate our content globally. This partnership will allow our facilitators, schools and students to use the latest collaboration tools in our workshops with Office 365. To launch our relationship, we will be holding workshops at the Microsoft flagship store in Pitt Street Mall, Sydney CBD during the summer of 2017.

We feel that our learning program and Microsoft share similar objectives and values in wanting to bring awesome content to students. Finding the right platform that will enable us to scale and facilitate this vision has been very important for us. Our partnership will allow us to make our workshops available online, and through Microsoft’s network with schools we will be able to run workshops around Australia and globally.

Our aim is to make our content available worldwide. Through attending the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance in Beijing, China 2017, we met entrepreneurs from other countries who have ventures in education, and we are excited to also partner with these companies and implement Devika Learning workshops in their respective local communities. We look forward to both these partnerships and welcome exciting times ahead.

Ken mentions “I feel that our learning program and Microsoft share similar objectives. Our vision has always been to deliver awesome content and workshops to students. Our partnership with Microsoft will allow us to use the latest tools that will facilitate making our workshops available to anyone. We also feel that we can support their network of schools by running workshops that are interactive, practical and rarely, if not at all, available to students all around Australia, and even the world. To launch our relationship we will be delivering workshops at their Sydney CBD flagship Microsoft Store in Pitt Street Mall during the summer, and Microsoft’s Dan Bowen will be a keynote speaker at our Global Entrepreneur Week event later this month.”

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Microsoft Partnership

Knowledge Sharing with Slack

We find that students tend to have questions when they leave the workshops, so we have integrated slack in our operations to facilitate the collaboration and knowledge sharing of our Devika team, facilitators, students and others within our network to assist and grow the community. For more information to join, feel free to contact us.

Or those of you that have already joined the link is: devikalearning.slack.com

 

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Knowledge Sharing with Slack