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St John’s Teacher finalist in the 2022 TEACHXAwards

Wed, 05/10/2022Posted by:

St John’s is delighted to announce that teacher Mr Christopher Ralph is one of 30 outstanding Queensland registered teachers who has been selected as a finalist in the 2022 TEACHXAwards in the Excellence in Teaching category.

Now in his 25th year of teaching at St John’s, Mr Ralph has dedicated his career to creating collaborative and innovative spaces, so students can easily adapt to industry and professional practices once they leave school.

Mr Ralph was one of the first Queensland teachers to incorporate Computer Aided Design (CAD) alongside traditional drafting methods and was a pioneer in bringing graphic design drawing, drones, rapid prototyping and 3D printing into the classroom.

He also designed and built the college’s Centre of Rapid Prototyping Engineering (CARPE), a high-end laboratory which gives students exposure to industry-standard prototyping technologies such as LASER cutting, 3D printing and polymeric vacuum forming.

At a time when 3D printers were in their infancy and there were no Australian distributors, Mr Ralph said the development of the school’s CARPE centre was both “daunting and daring.”

Nevertheless, with the support of his leadership team, he purchased 3D printers from Hong Kong and spent his Christmas holidays learning how they worked so that students could be among the first to experience them.

“It was a bold move that really felt like science fiction at the time,” he said.

There was excitement and potency in the ideas: how could a machine render an object on the screen based on a drawing? What makes a laser beam capable of cutting through plastics and leaving a perfect imprint?

Mr Ralph has helped students explore the answer to these questions among many more.

He demonstrated technological excellence once again by introducing drone manufacturing and flight training to classroom learning.

In a recent address to the World of Drones Conference in Brisbane, he discussed the endless possibilities of drone use in industry, as well as how it can be used to teach core 21st Century skills curriculum, both implicitly and explicitly.

Excellence in technology education prepares students for the future, Mr Ralph maintains.

Often, a lead student will take his class, which he says gives them “empowerment and confidence” as they explore new technologies.

In addition to being praised by staff at St John’s for his enthusiastic, patient and caring manner, Mr Ralph is regarded as a role model in the school community because of the unique way he understands the challenges students face in a rapidly changing future.

He was Head of the Department, Design and Technology at St John’s for 18 years, but recently re-focused on his true passion: teaching.

“Being digital natives, students approach technology with no inhibitions,” he said of those he teaches today.

Congratulations to Mr Ralph!