It was an exciting day on Thursday 3 March as we officially opened the new science labs and associated teaching rooms.
Members of the school were joined by PVC Paul Mazzerole and other official guests on this important occasion and were treated to fun-filled science tours to showcase these fantastic learning spaces.
Dr Harry Kanasa took us on a virtual planet tour in the primary science lab, whilst Dr Christine McDonald and Mr Ben Barlow exploded soft drink cans and made ‘eggs’ disappear in the secondary science lab!
The guests also included children from Yarranlea Primary School who were very keen to take part in the activities.
The original science building was built in 1968, with the science laboratories completed in 1969. The labs served the university well between 1969 and 2014 when wear and tear finally prompted discussion about refurbishing the spaces. Dr Jim Richmond, Dr Rick Swindell and Mr Paul Parkinson were some of the long-serving academics who utilised the teaching labs to offer practical, engaging, hands-on experiences for preservice teacher education students for almost half a decade.
Plans began to take shape for two new state-of-the-art science laboratories in 2014. A working party comprising long-standing Senior Laboratory Technician Robert Weismantel; Academics – Associate Professor David Geelan, Dr Christine McDonald, Dr Alison Sammel and Dr Harry Kanasa; Executive Officer (AEL) – Ms Elizabeth Ganesathurai; and Project Manager – Mr Robert Palmer met throughout 2014-2015 to conceptualise and design the new labs.
Two state-of-the-art, $2.7 million, technologically enhanced science laboratories and associated teaching spaces and prep rooms were developed, suitable for not only preservice primary and secondary science education students, but also early childhood students, primary students, high school students, and professional development attendees.
Flexible design allows instructors multiple options for course delivery with mobile tables and chairs, ICT-enabled workstations at every lab bench, fully wifi-enabled facilities throughout, and the capacity to communicate across the two labs.
Facilities of this calibre will enable the science education team to deliver high quality professional development programs to external providers, and the team is keen to develop programs with the School’s Professional Learning Hub to enable them to showcase this outstanding facility to school leaders and other industry professionals.