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Creative learners reach new heights


Digital learning consultant Matt Richards is working with Catholic schools to encourage students to learn in new and creative ways.

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Whether its sharing stories on podcasts or using drones in STEM, the former Catholic school teacher is challenging traditional perceptions of ‘creativity’ and giving educators the confidence to connect with the digital world in the classroom.

While all schools are using technology in the classroom, Matt said there was a lack of transformative integration with the curriculum and learning.

With the rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), and debate over its place in schools and universities, Matt said it was more important than ever for students to become “collaborators and communicators”.

“In a world of ever-emerging technologies, we need a community of young, agile and creative problem solvers,” he said.

For eight years Matt was head of Digital Learning at Marymount College, Hove, (now the site of McAuley Community College). In 2017 he started his own consultancy business as a digital technologies pedagogical coach and an Apple Professional Learning Specialist. He taught pre-service teachers at Flinders University, was the STEM and Digital Learning Designer for ZoosSA and also taught part-time Digital Technologies at St Therese School, Colonel Light Gardens.

Students at St Pius X School learnt how to write code for drones.

At St Pius X School, Windsor Gardens, Matt has been helping Year 5 students to understand how drones are playing a role in emergency services. They learnt how to write code to give the drones precise instructions.

“The smiles on faces, the joy from first take-off, even the dances of jubilation when they ‘get it right’ are at the core of this great learning,” Matt said.

The school’s Year 6 students created their own podcast series called ‘Who do you think we are’ to share more than 50 stories of migration to Australia.

Students learnt the key elements of creating a podcast, designed their own music, fine-tuned sound levels and inserted audio grabs from family members.

Most importantly, Matt said making the episodes available to people all around the world on common platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and PodBean gave the project real purpose by connecting with families here and overseas.

At St Augustine’s School, Salisbury, Matt introduced students to AI in song writing. The Year 5 students used AI-generated lyrics to create their own rap music which was then played as an alternative to the end of recess and lunch bell alerts.

“Students took a deep dive into the world of GarageBand by mixing and producing their own songs – including singing and rapping their AI lyrics to match,” Matt said.

Working closely with the Arts and Languages teachers at St Joseph’s School Hectorville, Matt brought Augmented Reality to these subjects as students created immersive and interactive pieces for Carnivalé.

“Bringing a sense of interactivity and cohesion to artwork and technologies gives students a real sense of fun. They see their work ‘come to life’,” he said.

To find out more about Creative Digital Learning, email

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