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Finding new challenges motivates DATTA Qld’s Teacher of the Year

Alana Patterson was “thrilled and very honoured” to be recognised as the Secondary Classroom Design and Technology Teacher of 2019 in the DATTA QLD Teacher Excellence Awards.

Alana was one of three major award recipients announced at the DATTA QLD annual conference dinner in June, and will now act as the Queensland nominee in the DATTA Australia Teacher of the year.

Secondary Classroom Design and Technology Teacher of 2019:

Reflecting on her award win, Alana Patterson said she loved her job and was proud to be “a lifelong learner”. “It’s definitely not a dull subject area to be in, so I like always finding a new challenge,” she said.

Employed at Canterbury College in South Brisbane since 2006, Alana has been teaching for 19 years and is a respected leader in the area of technology education, with a passion for developing and refining curriculum.

For instance, this year she initiated a new take on the delivery of Year 8 curriculum, combining all students into a single ‘technology’ subject for the entire year, rather than swapping between 6 months of Industrial Technology and 6 months of Food Technology.

“Students are learning to use the design process, sketching skills and technology terms and concepts throughout the entire year,” Alana said.

“The students are excited and engaged in these lessons and learning key skills which are essential in the design process.

“These skills are transferrable and can be used throughout all of their subjects and year levels in the years to come meaning that this unit will benefit not only the students but also their future teachers who will not need to teach these skills.”

Alana has actively advocated for the Design and Technology subject area in her school, leading a project that expanded the design thinking process throughout all year levels (K-12) and subject areas.

Posters that outline the school’s design thinking process were developed and distributed to all classrooms, helping to embed design terminology and concepts.

“As a flow-on effect, we are finding that students who have been previously exposed to the design process are achieving greater success in the subjects of Design Technology and Design as they have a better understanding of what is expected of them,” she said.

Additional award recipients included:

  • Primary Classroom Design and Technology Teacher – Nikki Muller, Coomera Rivers State School: As a prep to year 2 specialist teacher, Nikki is passionate about giving young learners the opportunity to create and share their ideas and learnings with technology. She began her career by helping to roll out the school’s 1:1 iPad program—by testing and creating apps ideal for use by the school—and has since developed numerous other resources mapped to the Australian curriculum to help teachers and students implement technology in innovative ways.
  • Service to Design and Technology Education – Mark Earnshaw, Kawana Waters State College: Mark’s teaching career spans 33 years, demonstrating outstanding pedagogical skills and a deep commitment to his students’ education—as well as being the ‘go-to’ person for his faculty colleagues that need help. He has been instrumental in the development of the Design and Technology curriculum at Kawana Waters State College where he has been employed since 1986. Mark has also been a long time member of the INTAD group (8 years).
  • Honourable mentions – Andrew Devoy, Marist College Ashgrove and Brittany Cleary, Ferny Grove State High School.

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