Exciting things are happening at Parklands Christian College as staff and students prepare for a new contemporary approach to education, with Apple devices and new versatile classroom buildings set to arrive soon.
Parklands Christian College principal Gary Cully said in 2022 the college would provide iPads to students in grades 5 and 6, and Macbook Airs for grades 7-12.
“By 2024 we should be well and truly on our way to the whole school using Apple,” Mr Cully said.
Until now Parklands students have brought their own devices to school, which had proven problematic when repairs were needed and difficult to control what content students could access at school.
Mr Cully said safety and consistency across all the school’s devices would be a priority moving forward.
“We’d like to actually own the devices, maintain the devices, control them to some degree and then issue them to parents,” he said.
“At the end of the three-year cycle, they have the option to either own the devices or to simply give them back.”
The devices would be parent-funded through an IT levy and would allow students the convenience of renting them.
“Because we’ll have a lot of them, we’ll have a bank of spares and will be able to replace things immediately, rather than having a wait time,” he said.
The new Apple devices will be provided to both staff and students.Mr Cully said the college was entering a period of contemporary education as part of their 2021-2025 strategic plan.
“We don’t necessarily need to be cutting-edge, but we want to be offering something that is contemporary, something that we think is good practice, and that helps our students when they actually leave,” he said.
Mr Cully said the students’ learning experience would be enhanced by their access to devices that are new, exciting, and used in real-world industry workspaces.
“We need devices that are reliable and come with a suite of programs with a standard that are really good, and Apple programs are really good,” he said.
Having the whole school operate from the same devices meant it would be easier for students to help each other and share collaborative educational experiences together.
“It’s a key 21st-century skill to collaborate with others and work together over the same set of programs and devices,” Mr Cully said.
A new building initiative is also coming to the college as a part of their 2021-2015 strategic plan.
Mr Cully said the goal of becoming a contemporary school not only meant considering what kind of devices the students had access to, but also the educational spaces they would learn in.
“The learner that was 10 years ago is different to the learner that we have now,” he said.
“Over the next couple of years we’re going to see a lot of our old demountable buildings coming off-site and replacing them with brand new ones.”
The college’s new double-story buildings will hold six classrooms each and allow for the school to facilitate more students by expanding each cohort from two to three classes per grade.
The classroom precincts would be shared learning spaces with more flexibility for teaching and learning experiences.
“We currently have 750 kids from prep to Grade 12,” Mr Cully said.
“The long-term vision is that we’ll have a school of 1170 kids.
“These buildings will be built from kindy all the way to Grade 6 with three streams in mind.”
The new precinct design would allow for creative play, outdoor classroom spaces, and also quiet spaces for children to retreat to and feel safe.
“We always have a focus on sport and making sure that our outdoor play areas can both cater for group activities and teams, as well as individual nook areas we call ‘quiet spaces’ as well.
“We even have a ‘silent garden’ plan where kids can retreat and have a moment to themselves where they are not interrupted away from the noise,” Mr Cully said.
A Parklands Christian College kindergarten will also be opening at the school in 2024.
“Our new kindy will actually go right next door to our prep and become a precinct that they share,” Mr Cully said.
The shared precinct will help allow for students to have a smooth transition between kindergarten and prep.