Well Done to Cooktown State School ICT teacher Herman Rijken, who was awarded the 2018 Queensland-Cooper Hewitt Fellowship.

Herman was State Library of Queensland’s Design Minds regional ambassador 2015-16 and was named Education Queensland’s Far North Queensland Teacher of the Year in 2017. The Queensland-Cooper Hewitt Fellowship through Advance Queensland is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for teachers to travel to New York to gain knowledge and experience at the world-famous Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said that Herman was an outstanding teacher, with a strong track record and commitment to using design in the classroom to make education both fun and challenging for children.

“Herman’s dedication to education extends well beyond the classroom. Last year, he led students from his Cooktown State School Robotics Club to the RoboGames 2017 in the United States,” said Ms Enoch.

“Equally amazing, he drove a fundraising campaign to pay for 10 members to travel to the US for the games, where they were placed as high as fourth in the competition.”

Herman will spend eight weeks at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, travelling in May.

As well as learning more about education design and bringing that knowledge back to his own classroom, Herman hopes to run design workshops for other schools in Far North Queensland, including Bloomfield River, Rossville, Laura and Lakeland state schools.

“Having spent the last 11 years working in regional Queensland, I’m very passionate about teaching children in remote communities about digital technologies,” said Herman.

‘It’s very important that we provide children living in remote areas with the same opportunities as students from more metropolitan parts of Queensland. I believe that no one should be disadvantaged solely based on where they are born or where a family chooses to live.”

Herman said that design underpinned all subjects relating to technology.

“Design thinking provides an alternative model to traditional ways of learning by challenging students to find multiple solutions to complex problems. It teaches the skills of inquiry, ideation and implementation – all key components of the scientific method. It also incorporates group work, with students driving their own learning and investigation as they attempt to develop a solution to a specific problem.”

The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum is renowned for its education design, often working very closely with schools across the United States.

Photo credit:
Image 1: Herman Rijken attending 2016 Design Minds Regional Ambassadors workshop. Photo by Perry Mooney.
Image 2: Robot design. Photo by Herman Rijken.
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