In a world where technological disruptions are creating unprecedented rates of change, St Andrew’s College is preparing students to control and create future technology, rather than simply being users of it.
Our Technology programme in was expanded in 2017, and Wilj Dekkers, a former Year 6 teacher and e-Learning Co-ordinator in the St Andrew’s Preparatory School, was appointed to the newly created role of Head of Innovation and Information Services. One of the most significant tasks of Wilj’s first year in the role was to work with the College’s Board and Executive team to lead the development of the new Green Library and Innovation Centre, which was officially opened on Friday 8 June 2018.
This exciting development has seen the reimagining and extension of the existing Senior College Library, which features a new light, bright ‘Information’ space including an extensive mezzanine space, for displaying books, studying and research; and two specific ‘Innovation’ spaces. These include a design space, where innovative ideas can be brought together, and a ‘maker’ space or construction zone, where students have access to modern fabrication tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters and tools.
“The new Centre is home to some exciting collaborative projects. It has created a learning hub where various subject groups can gather together to share ideas and innovate. The students are already coming up with lots of exciting ideas and new ways to use the technology and equipment,” says Wilj.
Rector Christine Leighton says the Green Library and Innovation Centre is part of the response of St Andrew’s College to the changing face of education and is a key aspect of its Strategic Plan.
“We are mindful technology will bring the inevitable disruption to our educational landscape and are conscious of being adaptable and responsive to change. The new Green Centre provides a space where inspiration, innovation, creativity and collaboration are at the heart of how our students learn. We couldn’t be happier with the result and are incredibly grateful to the generous financial support provided by Chris and Sarah Green from Ashburton for this development.”
Current student projects in the new Green Centre include the development of virtual reality content to help students at Allanvale School learn to cross the road safely; and a new, online point of sale ordering system for the College’s cafeteria, which is soon to be trialled in the Preparatory School. This system will allow parents to ‘top up’ their child’s online account and keep track of their purchases.
Outside experts are brought in to St Andrew’s to assist with its Technology programme, including Bryn Lewis, a Microsoft MVP, who has a particular interest in the Internet of Things. He has been working with senior students to write code and runs a Girls’ Code Club on Friday afternoons.
The College has a strong robotics programme, with its senior Vex Robotics team recently becoming Christchurch Vex champions at a robotics event held at the University of Canterbury Engineering Core. Younger students participate in various coding clubs, and Lego Mindstorm, which is also supported by the University of Canterbury.
“With so many devices now connected to the internet, many solutions to social and economic problems can be solved by one person with a creative idea and the ability to code or create new technology. The continuing development of our Technology programme will ensure our students are well poised to meet this challenge.”