2015 Big Blue Sky Event, Gold Coast

On Thursday 5 November,  QAHS Year 10 students Saul Beatty, Sean Ciancio-Gaylor and Devin O’Halloran-Anderson participated in the Big Blue Sky event at Q1 Skypoint.

Big Blue Sky 2015Big Blue Sky is a meeting of the minds, an examination of what is happening around the world, specifically the Gold Coast, and a think tank to determine our best possible future. The event focused around three core areas that were addressed via speakers who were the world’s best in their field, cross industry panels and collaborative workshops between our speakers and, our students.

Big Blue Sky invited Gold Coast students from Years 8-10 to participate in their Big Sky Vision for the City. Students presented two minute presentations throughout the day and orchestrated the finale which closed with a group presentation on a topic affecting their future.

The Students sector was generously facilitated by CEO of FSG Australia, Vicki Batten, who was recently the Australian facilitator for the Golden Key Honorary International Summit held here in 2015, as well as our School Council member and former QACI student, Ms Nicole Gibson.


Student reflections on the day:

“On Thursday 5 November, Devin, Saul and I attended the Big Blue Sky event at Q1. The day began sharply at 7:00am, where we and students from other schools were escorted to a room on the 45th floor. Here everyone was grouped into teams of five, and sent to separate areas to solve a jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle was not any ordinary puzzle, as it contained very strange pieces, both large and small, and consisted of two colours depending on the side of a piece used. Mostly everyone attempted to solve the challenge using one colour and locating corners, but the point of the exercise was to demonstrate that innovative thinking is concerned with focusing on the foundation of our understanding. It was not specified whether the puzzle was one colour, or even a specific shape – everyone just assumed its appearance. Later, we were directed downstairs to listen to some very inspirational speeches by some of the most successful entrepreneurs and engaging speakers in the world. To wrap the day up, we were given the task, as students, to work in small groups and present information of local and/or global significance to the adult attendees and speakers. Saul and I worked with a group focusing on the importance of understanding in education. Overall, the experience was great, and I can’t think of anyone at this school that I would not recommend it to.”     Sean Ciancio-Gaylor

“Once we got to the Q1, all of the students went to a private apartment in the building for some team-building exercises before the real conference started. There, we were to complete puzzles which had no matching edges, sides, colours or corners. It was quite hard but we managed to solve it in the end. After we discussed how we solved it, we went down to the conference which was just about to begin. 

During the conference we listened to some excellent speakers including the founder of Silicon Beach in the UK, Matt Desmier and the CEO of the Downtown Las Vegas Project and Container Park, Mark Rowland. Each speaker focused on particular projects that effected their area based on certain core areas, including innovation, sustainability and provisioning the impossible. Each core area lasted for about two hours, followed by a panel where we got to ask questions to the speakers by writing our question on a piece of paper, turning it into a paper plane and throwing it towards the stage. After we listened to all the speakers, it was our turn.

All of the students were sent back up to the apartment to create a presentation of our own based on one of the core areas, in two hours. Sean, Devin and myself, along with a few other students from other schools, decided to create a core area of our own, Education. We were arguing that the only way for students to learn is for them to understand the topics they are being taught, meaning that teaching methods and the whole education system in general needs to be changed. We argued that many students only memorise information for tests and exams, they don’t understand the information well enough to use it for real situations. From the planning period, we decided that three people would speak on stage (with nothing but a microphone) about the subject, including Sean and I. We went back down to the conference centre to present, however what made things more unnerving is that we were picked to go first and all of the speakers and presenters from throughout the day were going to be our audience. The presentation went well, considering it was my first time doing public-speaking. We ended up going overtime because of the amount of information we were trying to convey to our audience. For our efforts, afterwards we were all invited to Skypoint (top floor of the Q1) for free to celebrate the success of Big Blue Sky.

The experience was a great opportunity to meet international leaders and innovators and provide advice about what the Gold Coast would be like in the future. I felt like I was being a risk-taker during the day considering I went from not really knowing what was going to happen during the day to speaking to over 50 people and being on top of the Gold Coast!”     Saul Beatty