St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Albion Park, has recently completed Stage 2 of the refurbishment of its circa 1980’s woodwork and metalwork workshops. The new spaces provide larger multipurpose technical workshops, specialising in timber and multi material technologies. A new Clean Technology teaching space has been included in the project, designed for the use of 3D printing, laser technologies, IT and robotics. These new spaces reflect the meshing of traditional trade skills and new digital design and manufacturing technologies.
With all machinery now plug and play, the workshops allow for equipment to be upgraded at pace with advances in the commercial world. Breakout, teaching spaces, incorporated into the corridors and fully equipped with whiteboards, pinboards, digital screens and Wi-Fi, facilitate flexible student learning. The necessity for all spaces in schools to ‘plug in’ (connect) is one of the enablers of changing education pedagogies that Leo considered in a related article last year.
Stage 1 saw the completion of a senior construction workshop specifically designed for the use of Year 11 and 12 students. With a fully equipped machine bay, workbenches and toolkits, students are encouraged to use the spaces as often as possible. Opportunities for working through projects on weekends are provided with workshops organised before and after school and at lunchtimes. Stage 3 is due to be completed late September and will provide a contemporary textiles classroom incorporating digital machining, a marine studies space, additional general learning classrooms, as well as a coworking business studies environment.
It was rewarding to work with the dedicated staff at St Joseph’s to plan for the future of technical sciences in the school. They understand the huge benefits to be gained with integrated learning and the opportunities created by flexibility in their teaching spaces.