St Catherine's News
St Catherine's News

November 2000

In the future, classrooms will allow information technology to be used as naturally as we use electricity and telephones. The classroom of the future will free students and teachers from the constraints of wires and cables, desks in rows, harsh lighting and bulky desk top computers. There will be flexible spaces where students move from a round-table discussion, to internet research, to preparing and delivering a multi – media presentation.

Since the earliest days of information technology’s application in education, St Catherine’s has embraced the opportunities provided by technology, and was one of the first schools in Australia to introduce a laptop program.

As in all aspects of education, schools must not stand still when it comes to technology, and throughout 2000 a major Learning Technologies’ Review has been underway, exploring ways in which the School can apply new technologies to support the best learning and teaching outcomes today and in the future.

The review recognises that information technology is not an end in itself, but a pathway to building and sharing knowledge in a global community, and has involved staff, parents and students, as well as organisations in both the education and corporate sectors.

A key area explored has been the classroom itself. Traditional “face the front” classrooms have not been designed to accommodate the range of technologies now available, or new teaching styles.
The Taskforce has identified that a new type of teaching space is needed, which provides freedom to move seamlessly into and out of technology and multi-media applications, as well as to preserve the best of traditional teaching methods.

The School has commissioned the creation of an architect-designed Learning Technologies’ Prototype Classroom as a working model of the classroom of the future. It will incorporate state-of-the-art, interactive equipment and furnishings which provide maximum flexibility, and has key features including:

  • Wireless networking allowing laptop users cable-free access to the internet and School’s network
  • Ergonomically designed chairs and desks which can be set up in any configuration, allowing students to work individually or in groups, and the teacher to work from any point in the room
  • A ‘Teamboard’ intelligent whiteboard – the first of its kind in on Australian School – with a touch panel screen providing an interactive interface between students’ computers and the screen, with the hand used as a mouse
  • A range of state-of-the-art hardware
  • Glare-reduced lighting and window coverings suitable for computer and multi-media users.

Extensive staff development programs are currently underway to empower staff to fully utilise the teaching possibilities provided by the Learning Technologies’ Prototype Classroom, ensuring that St Catherine’s retains its position at the leading edge of education in this country.

As students and staff utilise this test-model classroom, the Learning Technologies’ Review team will monitor and assess the effectiveness of the room’s initiatives, using the outcomes to guide the transformation of classrooms across the school into flexible learning spaces in which technology is seamlessly integrated into the teaching and learning process.