New Digital Learning Zone Challenges Flinders Students to Ideate, Collaborate and Create

An innovative new digital learning space is proving popular at Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast as students prepare for the demands of an ever-changing world.

Flinders’ new Digital Zone is a dedicated space for students from Years 7 to 12 to explore areas of Digital Technology, Film, TV, New Media and Electronics.

The Digital Zone will be open to prospective parents to visit as part of Flinders’ Principal’s Tour of the Secondary School on Tuesday, 5 March from 9am.

The space is used for programming, coding, robotics and gaming, and was recently the venue for an e-sports event, which is a new form of competition using video games.

The esports event was attended by a group of Brisbane schools following a collaboration between Queensland University of Technology and Flinders’ IT department to explore the ethics and impact of online gaming.

The Digital Zone is also set up for filming and post-production projects and is one of the key venues for Flinders’ new IDEAS (Innovation, Design, Engineering, Art and Science) program for Middle School students in Years 7 and 8.

The Digital Zone is regarded as a prototype for future learning spaces at Flinders to support student learning processes relating to ideation, collaboration, production and presentation.

Head of Curriculum at Flinders Bill Hooper said the flexible new learning space was booked out daily and helping to facilitate high quality pedagogy across the year levels.

“This space is an invaluable addition to our Secondary School facilities because it provides students with state-of-the-art technology to support 21st century skill development,” Mr Hooper said.

“The intention is for our students to feel that anything is possible in this space and that they have the facilities, technology and teaching support to test their big ideas and processes, and create,” he said.

“The contemporary furniture design allows students and teachers to rearrange the space as they require for collaborating, individual and small group work, filming and presentations.

“The Digital Zone is very different to a traditional classroom set-up because the emphasis is on student creativity and collaboration, which are future skills our students must develop.”

Beyond the curriculum, teachers are using the facility to film material for 'flipped' lessons while students are creating films and publications in the space using the green screen and editing capabilities in the room.

“Students tell us they enjoy the flexibility of the space,” Mr Hooper said. “And it’s interesting to see how different students prefer to work.”

Facilities in the Digital Zone include a 20-point touch screen, dual projection for mirroring or independent, 55-inch high definition Sony display panels for collaboration, infinity curve green screen, 27-inch dual display monitors for teacher presentations and student work, two Apple Air TV connectors to cast student work to any visual points in the room, Crestron video switching, glass walls for student design and printable whiteboards.

The contemporary furniture design enables flexible modes of learning, including tables with whiteboard tops, collaborative spaces, soft furnishings, presentation areas and conferencing capabilities.

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