Victoria's tenth and final
Tech School is now open in Bendigo. It's the end of a project to give students access to new high-tech STEM hubs and innovative learning programs.
But beneath the cool technology and sleek designs of the learning hubs, the team behind Tech Schools busily working together with industry, community and government.
Acting Tech Schools Executive Director Dan O'Brien says the opening of the final Tech School was the culmination of years of challenging work to build relationships, develop consistency and respond to each community's needs.
'From the start the Tech Schools initiative was always going to be place-based, with local programs and partnerships tailored to the needs of the different schools and their students, as well as local industry,' Dan says.
Monash Tech School Director Ashley Van Krieken says the response from teachers and students has been really positive. Over 4,000 students, 160 teachers and 78 pre-service teachers are already booked to visit the Tech School in 2019.
'All Year 7 to 9 programs are oversubscribed for next year, which is a massive vote of confidence for what we are doing,' Ashley says.
'We have students asking when they are coming back to the Tech School and how can they continue the journey and real-world inquiry process. We are also beginning to hear that they have a better sense of why they need to learn these things. It's opening up STEM career pathways for both students and teachers.'
Ashley says Tech Schools are a great resource for schools and often complement what they are doing in the classroom.
'They provide access to technology, research and industry expertise that schools might not otherwise have', Ashley says.
'Two schools are talking about building maker spaces at their school (after coming to the Tech School) and that's exciting.'
The work to build Tech Schools into facilities working across education and industry has been recognised. Ballarat Tech School (Patrick Architects) won the Association of Learning Environments Victorian Australasia,
2018 Victorian Chapter Award for an Innovative Education Initiative. Monash Tech School's temporary facility (Brand Architects) also received a Commendation.
Wyndham Tech School architects Gray Pucksand recently won the Best Secondary School Project category at the
2018 Victorian School Design Awards. They have created a future-focused learning environment designed specifically for project work, challenge-based learning and design thinking.