Avondale School, in Cooranbong, has opened an Innovative Learning Area featuring everything from a digital fabrication zone to a blacksmith’s corner.
The new space is part of the school’s Trade Training Centre, on the secondary campus.
The Innovative Learning Area was designed by Avondale’s head of technology, Nigel Lynn, and some of his former construction students from 2018 had a hand in building the facility.
The new space, developed as part of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classes, incorporates design elements for 21st century learning, with a focus on project-based learning (PBL), the school said.
Mr Lynn and STEM hub coordinator, Anthony Hibbard, helped drive the project in partnership with Regional Development Australia (Hunter).
“The ILA was designed and developed by the technologies department to offer a multi-faceted learning space that facilitates self-directed learning for students,” Mr Lynn said.
Mr Hibbard said it was a red letter day for the school.
“The development of our new purpose-built Innovative Learning Area will further support 21st century integrated learning in exciting new ways at Avondale School,” Mr Hibbard said.
“Students will be able to utilise the different zones within this new learning space, such as the digital fabrication area, the amphitheatre, blacksmith’s corner, and others, as they investigate, collaborate, prioritise, make decisions, create, and engage in innovative and original thinking whilst finding solutions to substantive and significant real-world problems.
“We are excited about engaging in PBL at Avondale School.”
The goal was to create an environment where students would be “inspired and empowered” to be innovative in their thinking, he said.
Rick Evans, the STEM workforce manager for RDA Hunter, said his organisation was rapt to be involved.
“The opportunities that will arise for current and future students using the state-of-the-art facility align closely to our STEM workforce initiatives and the development of the region’s students for future jobs in the Hunter,” Mr Evans said.
Avondale’s head of secondary school, Hayley Ferris, said some former students helped in the construction of the space.
“The Innovative Learning Area is a creative educational facility that was designed and constructed by Nigel Lynn and his construction students from 2018 as a PBL initiative,” Mrs Ferris said.
“Its aim is to facilitate a plethora of options in flexible teaching and learning experiences for students.”