Real-world ex­pe­ri­ences are the best way for kids to learn

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

This trio of Year 10 stu­dents’ work in the Hack In A Box pro­gram taught them new skills and even helped their teacher. JOELYN Aba­can Luna (left), Irene Baik and Stephen Egalla were among the first stu­dents in Australia to par­tic­i­pate in the Hack In A Box pro­gram.

The stu­dents from St An­drew’s Col­lege, at Maray­ong in Syd­ney’s west, were chal­lenged by the youth or­gan­i­sa­tion Reach Foundation to find so­lu­tions for the eth­i­cal use of so­cial me­dia in busi­ness as part of their com­merce class. Teacher Lyn­dal Sim­monds says the stu­dents re­ally rel­ished their op­por­tu­nity to do some prac­ti­cal work on a real-life prob­lem.

“One of the units in our com­merce class is cre­at­ing your own busi­ness and the cross­over with the Hack In A Box pro­gram was about how they can use so­cial me­dia and mar­ket re­search in a pos­i­tive, eth­i­cal way in their busi­ness,” Sim­monds says.

“The best thing about this pro­gram is that it gives the stu­dents real-life prob­lems they can re­late to and that makes it eas­ier for them to en­gage in the topic.”

At the end of the six-week pro­gram, the stu­dents had to present their so­lu­tions back to staff from the Reach Foundation. Sim­monds says it was in­ter­est­ing to see her stu­dents come to a topic where they were al­ready fa­mil­iar with the basics, in this case so­cial me­dia, which she says is a unique sit­u­a­tion in a class­room.

“Top­ics like so­cial me­dia are ar­eas where the chil­dren of­ten know more than the adults, so with this topic I didn’t re­ally have to give them any back­ground, they al­ready knew it,” she says.

“I’ve al­ways been in favour of re­al­world ex­pe­ri­ences in teach­ing be­cause I feel it’s the best way for kids to learn. And as a teacher the Hack In A Box pro­gram has given me new skills I can use in other classes as well.

“It’s more im­por­tant than ever that we teach kids skills they will be able to use in a chang­ing work­place.”

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