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High school’s new tech programme targets innovation and entrepreneurship

In just a few months a Christchurch high school’s new innovation and entrepreneurship programme has seen students create an educational Māori culture social media lens with over 150,000 global engagements, pilot a wāhine in tech programme for Deloitte and assist a health tech start-up company’s virtual reality therapy app.

Rangi Ruru Girls’ School has this year launched RangiX, a programme dedicated to arming its Years 7 to 13 students with future-focussed skill sets, tool sets and mindsets to thrive in an increasingly complex and dynamic world.

Centred around the three pillars of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, RangiX runs across pre-existing classroom subjects, standalone classes, co-curricular options and online learning modules — all with a close tie to real-world opportunities and commercial and tertiary partnerships.

The programme at the independent day and boarding school is headed by Owen Flattery, the school’s recently appointed Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He joins the school from Melbourne, where he drove the digital strategy at Lauriston Girls’ School.

“RangiX is about teaching students how to innovate to solve problems, and to be able to create those solutions using digital capabilities,” says Flattery.

“This is underpinned by the understanding that as the world becomes more technological, what becomes more valuable are the human skills and traits that bind us — RangiX aspires to develop these skills in our students.”

Read more: Kiwi high schoolers are the future of entrepreneurship with award-winning pitch.

Principal Dr Sandra Hastie says RangiX addresses a crucial element of modern education: “We don’t know what jobs many of our students will do when they leave school, because they are yet to be invented.”

“But what we do know is that students need to be creative thinkers, have the ability to see a problem and a solution, the ability to deal with failure and not give up and to develop resilience.”

RangiX is another way the school prepares students for life after high school in an increasingly complex world. As well as learning about innovative thinking and problem solving, students learn about essential technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, drones, robotics, 3D design, blockchain and cyber security.

Crucially, RangiX has connected with industry partners to create real-world opportunities for students to learn and apply these skills and mindsets, as well as receive feedback from industry-leading technology companies like oVRcome and Deloitte as well as tech and social entrepreneurs.

“Through RangiX our group created an augmented reality lens that teaches people about the Matariki star constellation,” says Year 13 student Ella Hartel.

The lens was designed as part of the Deloitte Grow: Wahine in Tech programme which RangiX students piloted. Students were challenged to use design thinking to identify a problem and create a minimum viable product technology solution.

Ideas were pitched to Deloitte staff in a Dragon’s Den style event at the international company’s Christchurch office.

“We developed the app as a creative way to engage and educate people about an important cultural event for our nation,” says Hartel.

The lens, available on Snapchat and Instagram, had 150,000-plus global engagements.

Learn more about RangiX at rangiruru.school.nz.

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