Port Macquarie's classroom of the future

Gadgetry: Max Cutler plays with the new motion sensor ‘Makerspace’ computer at St Columba Anglican School in his free time.
Gadgetry: Max Cutler plays with the new motion sensor ‘Makerspace’ computer at St Columba Anglican School in his free time.

THE first Australian school to introduce a permanent ‘Makerspace’ is right here in Port Macquarie.

St Columba Anglican School is leading the charge into the new age with a building plush with science, technology, engineering and IT equipment to inspire students in their free time.

Described as a “21st century learning environment rich with possibilities”, it has already become popular with students of both sexes. And when you have the latest 3D scanners, printers and virtual reality headsets to tinker with you can’t blame them. Students from kindergarten to Year 12 can get hands-on with equipment in the Makerspace, including a credit-card sized computer known as a Raspberry Pi and an engineering and construction set designed by female engineers to inspire young, female students.

Other features include compact computers (Chromeboxes), an Alienware computer designed for gaming purposes, blank computers for installing new operating systems and computer hard drives to pull apart and explore.

The school’s director of eLearning and EdTech, Matt Richards explained that classrooms are rapidly changing from blackboards and chalk to interactive whiteboards and iPads.

“The Makerspace promotes learning in a way that’s familiar to students and their relationship with modern technology,” he said.

“Modern technology-aided learning is important to nurture students who can live and learn in a multi-faceted and rapidly changing world.”

Mr Richards said St Columba prides itself on remaining at the forefront of the latest and greatest technological advances.

Most importantly, he said the new Makerspace building would encourage innovation, creativity, problem solving and experimental play.

“In the future, we’ll continue developing the space to adapt to students’ needs and keep up with the latest technological advancements and gadgetry,” he said.

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