MORE than 150 Catholic primary school students gathered at The Edge in Brisbane’s Cultural Centre on August 26 and 27 for technology conference 2013 Kids Connect.
The conference is aimed at giving students from primary schools a fun and practical experience of technological trends and skills. Students had the option to participate in breakout groups that facilitated a range of different activities.
These activities included film making, robotics, superhero inventions, gadget design, educational game development, creating a virtual tour of South Bank, magazine production, digital artwork, claymation, and website design.
These new technologies are widely used in Catholic primary schools like St Thomas, which currently runs a one-to-one laptop program for years 4-7, and a one-to-one iPad program for years 1-3. It is hoped that students who attend Kids Connect would take the skills back to their schools.
Thirty-five Year 7 students from St Thomas’ Primary School, Camp Hill co-ordinated the entire conference as the organising committee. This is the fourth year that St Thomas students have co-ordinated the conference.
The Organising Committee spent two terms preparing for the conference. They were separated into departments for public relations, creative affairs, delegate support, finance, hospitality, and information technology.
It’s a job that made organising committee members Eliza Burke, Joseph Power, Lucy Job, and Ella Laydon feel like adults. Eliza, Joseph, Lucy and Ella said working on the conference gave them an insight into adult work-life.
Ella, who was responsible for sponsorship, said making sales calls was “really different to ordinary school work”.
“When you’re making sales calls, you’ve got one chance at it, and you can’t really mess it up,” she said.
St Thomas teacher Jessica Torrisi has helped the students to organise the conference for the second year. As much as possible, Mrs Torrisi has let the students take the reigns in organising the conference.
“Generally the majority is organised by the kids,” she said. “They get a lot out of it, and as much as possible, I try to stay hands-off.”
She also acknowledged the support given by Brisbane Catholic Education, who help fund the facilitators and encourage schools to participate.
St Thomas’ teacher Paul Shaw had originally seen the Kids Connect conference in New Zealand, and brought it to Australia in 2003.
It is now run for Catholic schools in the Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, as well as Brisbane.