Simon Owen and Warren Rogan have developed a 3D modelling course, which they run every Wednesday out of the school’s Year 7 learning centre.
Principal Denise Legget says she initially approached the boys about setting up an IT club, but they had other ideas.
“I know that both Simon and Warren, both of them are very smart boys, very community-minded within the school, and
so I was just chatting to them one day saying ‘is there anything that you think you could do so that we could run a club at lunch time using your skills in IT?’” Legget says.
“...They didn’t want it as a club, they wanted to run it as a program. And I think for me, this is what was so fantastic – just the huge amount of effort and thought that went into it.
“So the two boys have gone home and worked out a program together, including all the lesson plans.
“Just the organisation and the critical thinking behind it was really well above their years, really outstanding.”
Owen says that he and Rogan wanted to help the younger kids prepare for the future.
“We just decided, you know, it would be great if kids could learn this skill of 3D modelling and if we could share our information, pass it on to them,” he says.
“Because it’s one of these kind of futuristic job opportunities, like coding and stuff like that ... it would be great to plant that seed and teach the Year 7s and 8s that skill.”
The 12-week course was meant to be much shorter.
“We [came] up with what we wanted to teach per lesson, we sort of roughly went into about five lessons worth. That was probably not the best estimation,” Rogan says, laughing.
“So the first lesson was basically installing the program and then basic manipulation of the meshes, so we worked through all the things that we’d have to teach them, all the codes on the computer and which menus to work on.”
Owen and Rogan’s first group of students have now finished the course, and the boys are planning on extending it to Year 8s – if they can fit it into their VCE schedule.
“Our plan was to do Year 7 and Year 8, so we’ll probably go ahead and do the Year 8s next.
“We’ll probably change the program to Maya instead of Blender, given that it’s a lot closer to industry standard and we can get it for free as students,” Rogan says.
Like their own teachers, the boys spent hours outside of class time planning lessons.
“We’re definitely always talking about it, just at lunch and recess, trying to figure out what we’re going to do next and changing things, because it was very flexible, the program,” Owen says.
Legget says the boys have exceeded all expectations.
“It’s been a huge commitment by these boys and when you see them over in the learning centre where they run the program, they are honestly like young teachers, they really are.”