By THOMAS KELSALL
UniSA Magill campus is now home to one of the world’s most technologically advanced education facilities thanks to an initiative by global technology giant Samsung, UniSA, and the Federal Government.
The Samsung SMARTSchool is the first of its kind in South Australia and is part of Samsung’s growing education program, covering over 1.4 million students worldwide.
The recently completed $4 million project will provide students, researchers, and teachers at all levels a glimpse into the future of education.
The school includes Samsung’s latest virtual reality technology, large display screens, video walls, interactive whiteboards, outdoor computers, 3D printers, tablets, phones, and watches.
The school will have a strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), providing students with practical skills they can apply to the jobs of the future.
The project is part of the Government’s National STEM School Education Strategy, which aims to strengthen industry partnerships with education centres across Australia.
The SMARTSchool has the tick of approval from Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham, and SA Minister for Education Susan Close.
UniSA Head of Education, Professor Stephen Dobson, said the benefits of the new school will not be limited to South Australia.
“The Samsung SMARTSchool is for all in Adelaide, South Australia and globally. We will develop and trial new innovations in curriculum teaching and learning practices,” he said.
“We will have the capability to stream in and stream out so all schools, national and international, will be able to learn from each other. Location will not be a barrier.”
The SMARTSchool will serve primarily as a teacher training facility for both current teachers and teaching students, allowing them to review their performance through technology.
Prof Dobson said the technological capabilities of the facility will provide researchers with new opportunities to analyse teaching methods and student learning.
“Researchers will study teaching and how students learn as it happens…this space will allow many to observe and improve their teaching skills,” he said.
“Advanced cameras, wearables and data collection will be utilised, and students will also learn about what it means to research.”
Research shows Australian children are falling below international benchmarks in STEM due to reduced participation in advanced secondary maths and sciences.
The National STEM School Education Strategy is an attempt to increase student engagement in this field and help universities articulate the importance of STEM careers.
Samsung Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Tess Ariotti, said the exciting technology of the SMARTSchool will engage students and provide them with useful skills for careers in STEM.
“Our close collaboration with Unisa has helped us to create a learning environment which will support teachers and encourage students to think creatively, work collaboratively and solve real-world problems,” Ms Ariotti said.
“The Samsung SMARTSchool will give school students access to practical, career-focused learning.
“From data collection and analysis for sports science to learning about radar and GPS technologies applicable for defence and civilian settings, or the future of manufacturing through 3D printing.”
There are currently over 3000 SMARTSchools across the world. Applications for sessions at the new facility have now opened.
Image Source: University of South Australia