Pupils of Australian Christian College (ACC) Marsden Park will soon be able to make use of on-campus video editing rooms with green screens, podcasting rooms, prototyping rooms, robotics labs, virtual reality capability and animation studios, following the announcement of a $5 million grant from the state government.
ACC principal Brendan Corr said he did a "little shimmy in my office" when he received the good news from NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Local Member for Riverstone, Kevin Conolly, who passed on the news from NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, recently.
The Education Infrastructure Fund (EIF) grant will fund a new three-storey technology facility on the school's K-12 campus on Farm Road.
Mr Corr said the school had been "technology rich" for about a decade, but the new infrastructure - due to be ready for use by 2023 - would not only allow more HSC elective subjects to be offered in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas, but also allow STEM to be weaved into the delivery of other subjects including English and the arts.
"It will mean we can offer specific courses for children at RoSA and HSC levels, things which are tech-heavy, but it will also touch KLAs [key learning areas]," Mr Corr told the Gazette.
"We also want to see technology touch humanities and arts, as the mechanism that kids are capturing and expressing their learning, and using the technology of the 21st century.
"It will have dedicated course-based technology, but also technology that is infused in all the key areas."
He said the school planned to set-up a "genius bar" which would see technology professionals consult with classroom teachers and collaborate with students to "blur the boundaries between what teachers and experts can offer" students at school.
"Finding that connection between school and the real world is a big part of what we're hoping to achieve," Mr Corr said.
"An enormous vote of thanks to the state government and local member Kevin Conolly for presenting us with the grant, and to the Association of Independent Schools, who administered the grant on behalf of the government.
"It's a very happy day out here [at Marsden Park]!"
ACC partnered with national social research firm, McCrindle Research, for their grant application. Together, they found that three in four (76 per cent) of parents believed it was extremely important for a school like the proposed technology facility at Marsden Park to be available to children in their local area.
Mr Conolly said: "On behalf of the NSW Government and the people of the Riverstone electorate I wish ACC Marsden Park every success in the delivery of its innovative project. The approach of ACC to design and propose such a significant investment in technology education for our area based on research and feedback from the electorate is to be applauded."