Wanago Program – the first pilots
The name Wanago comes from the phrase ‘want a go’ – inspired by giving an opportunity to high school students who want to learn more about technology and science.
UTS Wanago begins
In late 2018, UTS recruited a Program Manager and approached the NSW Department of Education, the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, and several Independent and Catholic schools, in and around the Sydney CBD, about its vision for addressing STEM education and workforce gaps.
While some schools indicated clear STEM curriculum gaps - where they were unable to deliver a particular elective, others were more interested in engaging within the University setting to enrich their classes and boost student learning outcomes.
In February 2019, Wanago commenced its first pilot partnering with seven secondary schools in and around Ultimo. 80 high school students participated in the Program including 58 from public schools and 22 across independent and Catholic schools.
UTS and Sydney Secondary College
A collaboration between UTS and Sydney Secondary College (SSC) resulted in two, one year pilots focussing on piloting Wanago’s curriculum enrichment model.
‘Curriculum enrichment’ refers to a range of activities that connects high school students and teachers with UTS schools, academics, students, and industry partners. Activities and initiatives are curriculum centered and designed to deepen and boost learning outcomes through the:
- development of content knowledge that forms a relationship between the syllabus and the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in related STEM fields.
- use of UTS’s state-of-the-art laboratories and technological resources.
- engagement with and mentorship from UTS students, academics, and industry partners at key stages such as ideation, post-development, and pre-finalisation in the development of major projects.
- initiation of single touchpoint activities that inspire and motivate students and raise the awareness of parents about the future of the STEM workforce.
Pilot 1: Stage 5 (Year 9/10), iSTEM
- Dr Chris Brunner, Teacher of Science & STEM, Balmain Campus delivered two classes at UTS for 33 students each week.
Dr Christopher Brunner: UTS has given us this wonderful opportunity with the Wanago program to bring my year 10 iSTEM students onto the campus and have provided us with learning spaces.
Being at UTS has really given us access to a whole lot of mentors. I’ve been able to bring in experienced undergrad students and postgrad students; they have brought a wealth of expertise to the students and also having someone a little bit older who can still relate to my students has just been invaluable.
And then, having this sort of learning space in the experimental studio where the kids can create their ow learning environment, move the furniture and be able to learn in their own way, it’s certainly opened up the freedom for me to teach in creative and new ways and the students are responding really well to that.
Sabrina Emanouel: The Wanago program is really extraordinary. When I first saw it, it was really eye opening to me to see that students are actually able to learn practically, and it’s not just inside the classroom, learning from a textbook. And that’s something that I really love in my learning process, and it’s also why I came to UTS, because they have a lot more practical lasses compared to a lot of other uni’s in Australia.
Connor: Being able to actually create our own board game or just our own project, being able to think of it ourselves and actually make it into reality was really fun.
Monica: We have mentors to guide us through everything so that’s also pretty cool.
Isabella: That’s really helpful.
Geena: I think the mentors are really great, so we can get feedback from professionals who are studying STEM at university. Just seeing the whole project come together, so we all hard individual parts and when we actually came together and sort of incorporated our ideas it was really good to see.
Nadia: It helps me stay focused on the project, because when I was back at school, I would get distracted a lot, think about lunch and my friends, so it helps me stay focused.
Hannah: Yeah, I just really like the classroom, that open area, you can have your own workshop, do all the stuff you need to do, look at other people’s work around you, get inspiration, it’s just easier over here.
Drew: And it’s just fun coming to UTS, because it’s so well known for being a good university; it makes me feel good.
Sabrina Emanouel: I really enjoyed the fact that their ideas were so eye-opening and out of the box and things that I wouldn’t have thought about. Some of the things that they came to me and asked their questions about, I was like, ‘Wow, these are the kind of people we really want to be leading the engineering industry in our world in the future.
Dr Christopher Brunner: Being at UTS immediately has allowed the students to see the next step, going to university and what that’s’ like, and they’ve started to make that connection and said, ‘Can I go to uni? Is it that easy? Can I come here on weekends?’ I’m seeing a lot of my students increasing their maturity and their ability to relate the concepts that I’m teaching to actual things that they’re going to be doing later on in their life.
Pilot 2: Stage 6 (Year 12), Design and Technology
- 25 students with their teacher Julie McBride, Head Teacher, TAS, Blackwattle Bay Campus engaged with the School of Design, Architecture and Building at multiple touchpoints.
The pilots ran from February to December 2019.
UTS, Independent and Catholic Schools
A collaboration between UTS, Casimir Catholic College, St Maroun's College, St Aloysius College, Cranbrook School, and St Scholastica’s College saw the delivery of a two-year pilot aimed at addressing curriculum gaps in engineering studies.
Pilot 3: Stage 6 (Year 11/12), Engineering Studies
- 22 students are studying the elective with Grant Odei Head Teacher, Wanago. Grant is a Head Teacher of Technical and Applied Studies (TAS) at Granville Boys High School and commenced with Wanago in late January 2019.
- The pilot commenced in February 2019 and will conclude in 2020 once students complete their HSC.
Year 11 Engineering Studies, Rocketry Project
Isabelle Pitt: (00:04)
Through this project, I learned a lot about aerodynamic stability and centre of mass. When we had to design the rocket to actually have it fly, it needed to be stable. So we had to understand where the different pressure points were on the rocket, and we had to learn that in order to make our rocket fly.
Jason Tang: (00:18)
For aerodynamics, I felt I had a good knowledge already, so I felt it was more about stability and understanding the centre of gravity and centre of mass. So I felt like learning about how stability, you need stability for the rocket to stand up straight, and not go just spinning around. So I thought that was pretty interesting.
Kenny Ho: (00:37)
I learned how to use OpenRocket Simulator, which helped us allow us to create our own rocket, and I found challenging finding the right processes, so everything flew properly.
Jasmin Wong: (00:48)
Our rocket design process was slightly different from the others, because it took us a little bit longer to develop, and finalise a design. For example, initially, we had a conical-shaped cone and then changed that.
Mickael Sassine: (01:01)
The layout of the rocket, the way we had to edit to it, it told us what made it stable, what didn't make it stable. So the actual practicality of it taught us something.
Jayden Dennis: (01:12)
Pavlos, he taught us a lot about rocketry design, and he helped us learn a lot about the engineering process, which has helped me a lot in my personal experience with engineering now, and yeah. I've learned all about rockets.
Isabelle Pitt: (01:26)
The benefits of working in a team is probably just building a rocket by yourself is hard, and teamwork is always really enjoyable, meet new people, and work with people that are very fun.
Richard Scarf: (01:35)
I guess the benefits of working in a team, we could just share ideas, and it was a lot better for just brainstorming, because we could just get out so many ideas in such a short amount of time.
Irene Vimolget: (01:47)
Working on a team helped me gain confidence in talking and collaborating with other people, as well as develop my communication skills.
Jayden Dennis: (01:54)
Probably the benefit of working in a team, it's all about being there with your... well, friends as well. That sort of camaraderie is really great, and also bouncing ideas off of each other, and learning as a result of that. It's probably the best thing about doing this entire project.
Jasmin Wong: (02:12)
The most fun part about the project was working with other students, and university students and professionals to develop and design our rockets.
Isabelle Pitt: (02:22)
The most fun part of the project was probably the original design, where we got to use the software, and design whatever shape rocket we want, with different fins, nose cones, body, so everyone's is different.
Jason Tang: (02:32)
The most fun part of the project I felt was probably right now, launching it. So you can see your results, and how you went and what needs to be changed, and just gathering results.
Irene Vimolget: (02:43)
The most fun part of the project... working with uni students and different people, and getting to do something new that I wouldn't get to do in high school.
Within its first year, the program has delivered extraordinary results
80 students across seven high schools benefited from undertaking STEM electives, including new curriculum enrichment activities and mentoring from our undergraduate and postgraduate students.
22 students studying Engineering Studies were unable to access the elective at their home school.
Early trial results show Wanago students are inspired to study technology at university – because they’ve learned alongside our students, solved problems in our labs, and are shown clear pathways to a technology degree when they graduate from high school.
UTS Wanago 2020–21 Pilot Programs
In 2020, Wanago commenced partnerships with 11 public, independent, and Catholic schools with over 100 student enrolments across Stage 6, Engineering Studies and Stage 6, Software Design and Development.