You are on page 1of 28

Science Centres

st
for 21 Century
Secondary Schools

DRAFT Paper of
Findings by CEO BER Group

Simon Crook and Gary Carey

March 2009

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Winston Churchill
Contents
DRAFT Paper of ................................................................................................................................... 1
Findings by CEO BER Group ................................................................................................................ 1
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” ............................................................................ 1
Winston Churchill .................................................................................................................................... 1
1 Building the Education Revolution.............................................................................................. 4
1.1 Context ................................................................................................................................ 4
1.2 Timeline............................................................................................................................... 4
1.3 Funding................................................................................................................................ 4
1.3 Eligibility, Conditions and Payment of Funding .................................................................. 4
2 Defining the Pedagogical Needs ................................................................................................. 4
2.1 Identifying the Institutional Context ................................................................................... 6
2.2 Key learning principles ........................................................................................................ 6
2.3 Learning activities that support these principles ................................................................ 7
3 Summary of Design Principles..................................................................................................... 7
3.1 Generic Desirable Design Principles.................................................................................... 7
3.2 Practical Investigation Areas ............................................................................................... 8
3.2.1 ‘Wet’ Laboratories .......................................................................................................... 8
3.2.2 ‘Dry’ Laboratories............................................................................................................ 8
3.3 Collaborative Group Work Areas ........................................................................................ 9
3.4 Problem Based Learning Areas ........................................................................................... 9
3.5 Direct Instruction Areas ...................................................................................................... 9
4 Summary of Designs to Avoid ..................................................................................................... 9
5 Creating a Set of Requirements .................................................................................................. 9
6 Design Principles Explained....................................................................................................... 10
Appendix ........................................................................................................................................... 12
Appendix I – CEO BER Group......................................................................................................... 12
Appendix II – Additional Contributions ......................................................................................... 12
Appendix III – Chronology of Visits ............................................................................................... 13
Appendix IV – Details of Facilities Visited ..................................................................................... 13
Anglican Church Grammar ............................................................................................................ 13
Australian Science and Mathematics School ................................................................................ 14
Barker College ............................................................................................................................... 15
Caroline Springs College................................................................................................................ 16

2
Clairvaux MacKillop College .......................................................................................................... 17
Clancy College ............................................................................................................................... 18
De La Salle College, Revesby ......................................................................................................... 19
Ecolinc Science and Technology Innovation Centre ..................................................................... 20
Iona College................................................................................................................................... 22
Parramatta Marist High School ..................................................................................................... 23
Princes Hill Secondary College ...................................................................................................... 24
St John Bosco College.................................................................................................................... 24
University of New South Wales .................................................................................................... 25
University of Sydney ..................................................................................................................... 26
Bibliography ...................................................................................................................................... 27
Literature ...................................................................................................................................... 27
Websites........................................................................................................................................ 28

3
1 Building the Education Revolution
1.1 Context

The ‘Building the Education Revolution’ (BER) will fund the building of science laboratories in
secondary schools. Funding for major refurbishments of current science laboratories to
create state-of-the-art facilities is also possible under this element of BER. State/Territory
Education Departments and BGAs will conduct a competitive process to fund projects in
secondary schools that satisfy the eligibility criteria for funding and can demonstrate the
greatest need and a readiness and capacity to be able to build the facilities within the
2009/10 financial year. The competitive application process must assess the applications in
accordance with the eligibility criteria and other requirements of the Guidelines.1

1.2 Timeline

March–May 2009 States, Territories and BGAs assess proposals and create
short-list of projects
By 15th May 2009 CEO applications completed2
By 31 May 2009 Submit short-lists to Commonwealth for approval
July 2009 Commencement of projects
30 June 2010 Projects completed

1.3 Funding

$1 billion is available to fund the building of science laboratories or language learning
centres in Australian secondary schools, with a notional number of around 500 buildings.

1.3 Eligibility, Conditions and Payment of Funding

Consult ‘Building the Education Revolution Guidelines’, pp 8-9, for details on eligibility
criteria, conditions for funding and payment of funding.

2 Defining the Pedagogical Needs

It has become increasingly clear to educators that the effective design of learning spaces —
whether a classroom or a laboratory, can enhance learning. At this particular point in time,
with the influx of wireless technology and laptop computers into schools, science educators
are confronting the issues of integrating communication, open inquiry, collaboration, and
modern technologies into their learning spaces. The question then arises; “How can the
innovative uses of space and technology enable these activities, leading to more effective
learning?”3

1
DEEWR, Building the Education Revolution Guidelines, 2009
http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/BuildingTheEducationRevolution/Documents/09-099%20BER%20guidelines_APPROVED.pdf
2
Internal CEO deadline
3
EDUCAUSE, Learning Space Design, 2005 http://www.educause.edu/5521&bhcp=1

4
To design a learning space which will allow effective learning to take place for both today’s
and tomorrow’s students, Johnson and Lomas (2005)4 break the design process down into 6
steps. These are as follows:

1) identify the institutional context;
2) specify learning principles meaningful to that context;
3) define the learning activities that support these principles;
4) develop clearly articulated design principles;
5) create a set of requirements; and
6) determine a methodology for assessing success.

These 6 principles need to be followed within the broader Learning Spaces Framework as
defined by the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs
(MCEETYA) through the Curriculum Corporation (2008)5. This framework uses four
organisers to raise key issues that need to be considered as the guiding principles are
applied:

• changing the culture of schooling
• creating ICT rich learning spaces
• designing spaces for learning
• planning and decision-making.

4
Chris Johnson and Cyprien Lomas, Design of the Learning Space: Learning and Design Principles, EDUCAUSE
Review, vol. 40, no. 4 (July/August 2005): 16–28
http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/DesignoftheLearningSpaceL/40557?time=1236055034

5
MCEETYA, Learning in an Online World: Learning Spaces Framework, 2008
http://www.mceetya.edu.au/verve/_resources/ICT_LearningOnlineWorld-LearningSpacesFWork.pdf

5
2.1 Identifying the Institutional Context

As we move toward the introduction of a new National Curriculum in Science (2011) it is
important to make reference to the National Curriculum Board’s Science Framing Paper
(2008)6 to identify the pedagogy that will need to underpin the teaching of this “world class”
curriculum:

“To achieve the stated aims of the national science curriculum it is proposed that there
needs to be less emphasis on a transmission model of pedagogy and more emphasis on
a model of student engagement and inquiry. The driving force of the transmission model
is teacher explanation whereas the learning engine for inquiry is based on teacher
questions and discussion. Teacher explanation is still important but it should be seen as
one skill in a broad repertoire of teaching skills.
………….. With these explanations and science language, the teacher then provides
activities through which students can apply the science concepts to new situations.”

2.2 Key learning principles

The key learning principles that are relevant to this project have been clearly set out in the
CEO Sydney Learning Framework7 which is defined in the following diagram:

6
National Curriculum Board, National Science Curriculum Framing Paper, 2008
http://www.ncb.org.au/verve/_resources/National_Science_Curriculum_-_Framing_Paper.pdf
7
CEO Sydney, Learning Framework, 2005
http://www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au/cms/webdav/site/ceosydney/shared/About%20Us/Strategic_plan/Learning%20Framework.pdf

6
2.3 Learning activities that support these principles

Careful analysis of National Curriculum Board’s Science Framing Paper (2008) in the context
of the key learning principles reveals that a wide range of teaching/learning strategies will be
needed to implement this curriculum. These strategies can be broken down into 4 different
types of activities:
a) Practical Investigations – current literature highlights the need for Science
teachers to move away from “recipe book” type investigation to authentic open
inquiry.
b) Collaborative Group Work – students need the opportunity to engage with the
concepts being taught through a wide range of small group tasks such as
visualisations, role-plays and games. These activities will afford the students the
opportunity of developing a deeper understanding of the concepts, a genuine
interest in science and their general capabilities.
c) Problem Based Learning Activities – an essential part of the teaching/learning
process is giving students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to
a range of new situations. This can be achieved through a range of activities
using digital technologies e.g. research, the use of simulations or the
development of multi-media presentations.
d) Direct Instruction – Whilst the authors highlight the need for teachers to move
away from a transmission pedagogy they acknowledge that teacher explanation
will still need to be present as part of the “repertoire of teaching skills”

3 Summary of Design Principles

Below are summary lists of Design Principles to be encouraged for new or refurbished
Science Learning Spaces. These conclusions were arrived at by visiting many Science
facilities, conversations with leading educators and the latest literature. Details of the
facilities visited can be found in Appendix IV. Specific details of the individual Design
Principles are discussed in Section 6.

3.1 Generic Desirable Design Principles

Flexible Learning Space
Flexible Teaching Space
Glass/Transparent Partitions/Connections between rooms
Latest Technology:
o Digital Visualiser
o Data Projector
o Interactive Whiteboard (providing PD given to staff)
o Wireless Access
o Multimedia Wall-plate
o Audio System
o Environmental Sensors
o ‘Weather Wall’ data screen
o Class sets of data-logging equipment
Conventional Whiteboard
Acoustically Dampened Ceilings

7
Blinds
Sufficient Customised Storage
Large Prep Room with access to as many Science rooms as possible
Forced Ventilation and Exhaustion of Chemical Store Cupboards
Substantial Pin-board Space
Numerous Power-points above desk height around room
Outside Learning Space (space permitting)
Air-conditioning limited between 21 C - 24 C
Display Cabinets in Corridors
Ecological Conversion and Sustainability Features:
o Passive air cooling system
o Smart-metres
o Solar Panels
o Water monitoring hardware
o Natural Air Flow Construction
o Products made from low volatile organic compounds
o Weather and Conditions Monitoring System
o Sky lights
o Low energy, high efficiency T5 light fittings
o Timers for lights
o Light coloured paint
o ‘Greensafe’ wall insulation/double-glazing
o Roof Ventilators
o Tint Film on windows
o Shade for Air-con split condensers
o Eaves
o 80plus specified PSUs in all computers
o Heat pump or solar hot water systems
o Shutters
o Sky exhausts

3.2 Practical Investigation Areas

3.2.1 ‘Wet’ Laboratories

Mobile Practical Benches with brakes
Stain/Graffiti/Scratch-proof Surface to bench tops
Durable Carpet Tiles
Breakout Area
NO stools at benches
Safety Shower
Practical Bench for Students with Physical Disabilities
Fume Cupboard

3.2.2 ‘Dry’ Laboratories

Mobile Practical Benches with brakes
Increased number of Power-points above desk height around the wall

8
At least one long fixed bench for big experiments
Overhang on bench tops
Durable, non-static, soft carpeting
Breakout Area
Comfortable seating
Blackout Blinds

3.3 Collaborative Group Work Areas

Large open space
Concertina doors or glass partitions to change space size
Light weight interconnecting tables
Soft carpeting
Comfortable chairs
Networked flat-screen TVs spread around walls

3.4 Problem Based Learning Areas

A combination of Practical and Collaborative Areas
Access to all Technologies

3.5 Direct Instruction Areas

Variety of possibilities:
o Aligned (but not fixed) tables and chairs within a Practical Area if large
enough
o Collaborative Area partitioned off
o Lecture theatrette

4 Summary of Designs to Avoid

The following are design features that are considered out-dated and obstructive to
contemporary pedagogical practices:

Fixed seating and tables for students
Fixed seating and tables for teachers
Teacher desk raised on a stage
Reverberating hard flat surfaces
Uncomfortable seating

5 Creating a Set of Requirements

Given the design principles listed in the Section 3 and the huge variety of needs existing
across our schools there must be a range of options to choose from individually or in
combination to suit the needs and practical restrictions existing at each site. There are 7
main options available, the design principles incorporated in each would be chosen
considering the finer points outlined in Section 6:

9
a) Building new facilities that provide large open spaces for large numbers of students
engaged in cooperative group work with specialised breakout areas for individual or
group work
b) Building new facilities with highly flexible science learning spaces which can be used
for collaborative group work, open practical investigations, problem based learning
and direct instructions
c) Refurbishing existing labs to provide highly flexible science learning spaces (as in 2)
d) Refurbishing existing labs to provide highly flexible science learning spaces (as in 2)
along with breakout areas for individualized learning
e) Refurbishing parts of existing labs to overcome existing problems (e.g. installation of
acoustic tiles and carpet at Aquinas College, Menai)
f) Building new specialised learning spaces to complement existing science
laboratories, e.g. building Problem Based Learning centres or mini-laboratories for
individualised learning.
g) Refurbishing existing GLA’s to develop specialised learning spaces e.g. Problem
Based Learning centres

6 Design Principles Explained

Below, each of the Design Principles listed in Section 3 is explained and referenced to an
observed facility listed in Appendix IV.

Flexible Learning Space – mobile furniture and partitions e.g. Clancy College, ASMS
Flexible Teaching Space – mobile furniture not fixed at the front
Glass/Transparent Partitions/Connections between rooms – groups or classes given their
own spaces whilst still being connected with other students, teachers and lab
assistants e.g. ASMS, Clancy College, De La Salle Revesby, Parramatta Marist
Digital Visualiser – device to observe something on a teacher or student’s desk then
project onto IWB or TV e.g. Parramatta Marist, Iona College
Data Projector – connected to wall-plate, more than 1 if in large open space
Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) – to be used interactively by students and teachers in
conjunction with student laptops, not merely as a projector screen
Wireless Access – with sufficient coverage and bandwidth
Multimedia Wall-plate – fully cabled and linked to projector, 2 computer inputs,
audio/video input
Audio System – speaker system with amplifier linked to wall-plate
Environmental Sensors – Humidity, rainfall, air pressure, wind direction, temperature
sensors fixed outside building linked to ‘Weather Wall’ e.g. Ecolinc
‘Weather Wall’ data screen – Display e.g. Flat screen TV, with local environmental data in
public area such as Science foyer e.g. Ecolinc
Class sets of data-logging equipment – providing students with equitable and efficient
access to contemporary technologies and investigative tools e.g. St John Bosco
Conventional Whiteboard – not necessarily at the front e.g. UNSW
Acoustically Dampened Ceilings – using dropped ceilings or soft materials e.g. Iona College,
Ecolinc
Blinds – within window frame for sufficient blackout e.g. ASMS
Sufficient Customised Storage – to cater for the variety Science equipment e.g. St John
Bosco College
Large Prep Room – with access to as many Science rooms as possible and a compactus to

10
help with storage e.g. Clancy College, De La Salle Revesby
Forced Ventilation and Exhaustion of Chemical Store Cupboards – for OH&S to forcibly
remove any fumes to prevent injury when cupboards opened e.g. ASMS
Substantial Pin-board Space – to celebrate students’ work and acoustics e.g. Anglican
Church Grammar
Numerous Power-points above desk height – all around room preventing bending down or
students kicking wall-plates
Outside Learning Space – e.g. Wetland area at Ecolinc
Air-conditioning – in line with CEO Sustainability Strategies, see gary Burrows
Display Cabinets in Corridors – for grabbing interest of students passing by e.g Princes Hill
Passive air cooling system – sustainable alternative to air-conditioning, see Gary Burrows,
just been installed in Bethany College
Smart-metres – for measuring school energy consumption, see Gary Burrows
Solar Panels – to generate electricity for the school e.g. Ecolinc
Water monitoring hardware – for measuring school water consumption, see Gary Burrows
Natural Air Flow Construction – to allow natural cooling by convection e.g. Ecolinc
Products made from low volatile organic compounds – minimise carbon footprint, see Gary
Burrows
Weather Monitoring and Conditions System – to allow students to monitor their local
environment e.g. Ecolinc
Sky lights – for natural illumination reducing power consumption e.g. Ecolinc
Low energy, high efficiency T5 light fittings – reduce power consumption, see Gary Burrows
Timers for lights – reduce power consumption
Light coloured paint – increases natural illumination reducing power
‘Greensafe’ wall insulation – reduce power consumption, see Gary Burrows
Double-glazing – reduce power consumption and provide sound-proofing e.g. Ecolinc, ASMS
Roof Ventilators – to allow natural cooling by convection e.g. Ecolinc
Tint Film on windows – to limit sunlight and heat entering rooms in summer
Shade for Air-con split condensers – increases efficiency, see Gary Burrows
Eaves – limit sunlight and heat entering windows in summer e.g. Ecolinc
80plus specified PSUs in all computers – reduce power consumption, see Gary Burrows
Heat pump or solar to water systems – provide own hot water reducing power
consumption e.g. Ecolinc
Shutters - to limit sunlight and heat entering rooms in summer
Sky exhausts – whirly in roof to allow cooling by convection, see Gary Burrows
Mobile Practical Benches with brakes – to make a practical space flexible e.g. Clancy
College, De La Salle Revesby
Stain/Graffiti/Scratch-proof Surface – alternative materials e.g. USyd, Clairvaux MacKillop
and Iona College
Durable Carpet Tiles – chemical proof and acoustic damping
Breakout Area – any space adjoining classroom where students can move to e.g. ASMS, De
Parramatta Marist, La Salle Revesby
NO stools – students to stand during practicals for OH&S
Overhang on bench tops – to allow G-clamps
Durable, soft carpeting – for projectile experiments
Light weight interconnecting tables – to allow learning space to change easily e.g. Clancy
Networked flat-screen TVs spread around walls – alternative to IWBs, very good for group
work dynamic e.g. Parramatta Marist
Lecture theatrette – for direct instruction to large groups or guest speakers e.g. Parramatta
Marist, Barker

11
Appendix

Appendix I – CEO BER Group

Mr Seamus O’Grady – Director of Curriculum
Dr Mark Turkington – Director of Southern Region and ICT
Mr Tim McMullen – Head of Secondary Curriculum
Mrs Vicki Lavorato – Secondary Consultant, Eastern Region
Mrs Beverley Johnson – Secondary Consultant, Inner West Region
Mr Barry Mullins – Head of School Facilities
Ms Rosemary Vellar – Manager: Strategic Learning Interventions
Mr Gary Carey – Science Adviser, Archdiocesan
Mr Simon Crook – Secondary eLearning Adviser, Southern Region

Appendix II – Additional Contributions

Mr John Couani – Director of Eastern Region
Mrs Vicki Tanzer – Deputy Executive Director, Brisbane Catholic Education
Mr Gary Burrows – Sustainability Project Officer
Mr Danny McInerney – Professional Officer: Assistant to the Director
Mr Manuel Nobleza – Professional Officer: School Facilities
Mr Bill Walsh – Executive Officer, Catholic Block Grant Authority
Mrs Christina Healy – Former Archdiocesan Science Adviser
Prof. Stephen Heppell – Contemporary Learning Expert
Ms Pam Green – Building Services, Brisbane Catholic Education
Mr Jamie McKenzie – eLearning Educator
Dr Manjula Sharma – Head, Sydney University Physics Education Research
Mr Barry Napthali – Technical Officer, School of Physics, University of Sydney
Ms Susanne Fraser – Technical Assistant, University of NSW
Dr Wendy Cahill – Head, iNET Australia
Dr Andrew Bunting – Director, Architectus Melbourne
Mr Glen Sawle – CEO Science, NSW DET
Mr Ric Morante – Senior Curriculum Adviser Science 7-12, NSW DET
Mr John Robinson – Principal, Clancy College, West Hoxton
Mr Michael Mullaly – Principal, De La Salle College, Revesby
Mrs Elaine Hornas – Science Coordinator, St John Bosco College, Engadine
Mr Jim Davies – Principal, Australian Science and Mathematics School, Bedford Park, SA
Ms Jayne Heath – Assistant Principal, ASMS, Bedford Park, SA
Mr Matthew Jamieson – Studio Support Officer, ASMS, Bedford Park, SA
Mr Robert Paynter – Head of Science, Barker College, Hornsby
Br Anthony Robertson – Science Coordinator, Parramatta Marist High School
Shane Morris – Curriculum Coordinator, Parramatta Marist High School
Ms Suzanne Clark – Manager, Ecolinc Science and Techology Centre, Bacchus March, VIC
Rosa Marchionda – Assistant Principal, Caroline Springs College, Caroline Springs, VIC
John Goodman – Assistant Principal, Princes Hill Secondary College, Carlton North, VIC
Margaret Shepherd – Secretary, STANSW
Brian Robbins, Science Coordinator, Iona College, Wynnum West, QLD
Peter Elmore, Leadership Team member, Clairvaux MacKillop College, Upper Mt Gravatt, QLD
Janet Grice, Science Co-ordinator, Clairvaux MacKillop College, Upper Mt Gravatt, QLD

12
Bill Cowlishaw, Science Co-ordinator, Anglican Church Grammar School, East Brisbane, QLD
Stephen Pearse, Design Director, Group GSA

Appendix III – Chronology of Visits

18th February Stephen Heppell Seminar: ‘Innovation and Future Schooling’
19th February University of Sydney
19th February University of New South Wales
23rd February St John Bosco College, Engadine
25th February Australian Science and Mathematics School, Bedford Park, SA
25th February Barker College, Hornsby
26th February Clancy College, West Hoxton
27th February NSW Department of Education and Training
2nd March Ecolinc Science and Technology Centre, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
2nd March Caroline Springs College, Caroline Springs, VIC
2nd March Princes Hill Secondary College, Carlton North, VIC
3rd March Parramatta Marist High School, Parramatta
6th March Iona College, Wynnum West, QLD
6th March Clairvaux MacKillop College, Upper Mt Gravatt, QLD
6th March Anglican Church Grammar School, East Brisbane, QLD
11th March De La Salle College, Revesby

Appendix IV – Details of Facilities Visited

The following facilities are listed in alphabetical order. The descriptions and images include
design principles both recommended and those to avoid.

Anglican Church Grammar
http://www.churchie.com.au/

An independent boys’ school for dayboys and boarders in East Brisbane.

The work stations are quite thin and fixed and around the sides of the room. There is a large,
fixed teacher demonstration bench near the work stations behind the student seating. The
students sit at movable desks usually in a hexagonal horseshoe ‘battle axe’ arrangement
around a teacher desk. The floor is vinyl. There are 5 prep rooms. Electricity is provided at
bench height on the walls and on the demo bench. There are felt boards all around the room
for posters but they also aid in the acoustics.

Every room has a data projector and wireless. There are no IWBs. The Science department
has and uses lots of data-loggers.

13
‘Battle Axe’ Seating Demonstration Bench and work
stations behind seating

Australian Science and Mathematics School
http://www.asms.sa.edu.au/Pages/default.aspx

Recently built school (2005) with new pedagogical design, consisting of large ‘Learning
Commons’ and ‘Studios’. The Learning Commons are for the instruction or self-directed
study of several classes or as breakout areas from Studios. They consist of movable tables
with PCs and chairs and comfy lounge type seating as an alternative. Power is provided by
trapdoor points in the floor which are of poor design, breaking easily and damaging cords
entering them. The Studios are specialist areas or laboratories. The ‘Wet’ Studio for Biology
and Chemistry consists of fixed square pods with water, gas and electricity. In itself this is
not a flexible space, however, combined with the Learning Commons the space becomes
flexile for different modes of differentiated learning. Storage is a big issue and was
unfortunately underestimated by the architects. The Studios are separated from the
Learning Commons by sliding glass doors and glass walls. The various small teacher offices
are open to the Learning Commons with windows into adjacent Studios so that teachers
always have a line of sight with the students. The Physics Studio has blinds within the
window frame to block out light for optics experiments. The Electronics Studio has a gas
extraction unit attached to the soldering irons around the edge. The Dangerous Chemical
cabinets are ventilated by piping to the outside by positive ventilation – the whirly on the
roof creating negative pressure above the pipes to draw in air through vents in the base of
the cupboards and draw out any fumes. A demineralising unit is used to convert tap water to
close to distilled water at a fraction of the cost of bottled distilled water.

The Multimedia Studio is soundproofed with double-glazing and a doubly thick door. Part of
a Learning Commons area is furnished for Drama with lighting, curtains and a wall painted
with the correct colour blue for ‘Blue Screen’ filming. There is a purpose built PDHPE Studio
with various exercise machines connected to data-loggers and computers plus a driving
simulator for road safety. There are projectors and wireless throughout the school but no
IWBs. Every student uses their own laptop in all lessons.

14
Learning Commons Lounge Seating

Wet Science Studio Soldering Exhaust System

Chemical Cupboard Ventilation

Barker College
http://www.barker.nsw.edu.au/

A very large Science department consisting of 16 laboratories, a 106 seat mini lecture hall, 5
major Prep Rooms and 6 mini-labs. The laboratory plan is based on 7 work stations around
the room: 2 on each side wall and 3 across the back of the room. The rooms are very

15
spacious and rectangular in shape (longer axis being the width of the room). The student
writing benches are located in the centre of the room on a large square of carpet for better
acoustics.

The mini-labs act as linking areas between adjacent laboratories. They were designed as
individualised learning centres or breakout areas where students could work on ongoing
projects though are not currently being used in this fashion.

Every laboratory had a huge whiteboard, no IWB, a projector, docking station for the
teacher, multi-media cabinet and audio system. Some labs have desktop machines on the
pods, however the school is relying on ethernet links through the walls rather than wireless.
There are 3 banks of laptops; students cannot use their own laptops.

Seating in middle, work stations around side

Floor plan for Science Block 

Caroline Springs College
http://www.carolinesprings.vic.edu.au/

A new school (2005) on the Western fringe of Melbourne. The most inspiring aspect is the
very large prep room that connects to most of the Science labs. The main student seating is
in rows with work stations around the edge of the room. The teacher bench is large and
fixed at the front forming an undesirable barrier. Most rooms have a fume cupboard. There
are not many displays to inspire students.

There are some projectors but no IWBs. A suite of desktops has been bought with the NSSCF
money though they are yet to be set up in a computer lab in the Science block.

16
Work stations around side of lab

Clairvaux MacKillop College
http://www.cvxmck.edu.au/

A unification of Clairvaux Boys’ College and MacKillop Girls College, within the Brisbane
Catholic Education Centre.

The Science labs are only 12 months old. The reconstituted stone work stations are fixed and
around the sides. The students sit in a hexagonal horseshoe ‘battle axe’ arrangement around
a very large teacher/demonstration desk. The floor is vinyl in the practical areas and
carpeted where the students sit. Behind large windows there is breakout computer room.
There are 4 prep rooms but storage is a problem. There a no fume cupboards in the labs but
there is portable one that can move between them. Electricity is provided at bench height
on the walls. There are no blinds which is a drawback. The overall design concept had to
work within the original shell of the room.

Every room has a data projector and wireless. There are no IWBs. The Science department
has and uses lots of data-loggers.

Work stations around side of lab

Large fixed teacher bench 

17
Clancy College
www.clancy.nsw.edu.au

The newest school built in Sydney Archdiocese (2006 and ongoing).

The Science labs were especially designed by former Science Adviser, Chris Healy, with
flexibility and student-centred learning being the underpinning philosophies. The current
main wet lab is very large. It has fixed mini-pods towards one side of the room (hosting
water and gas supplies) with benches on wheels (with brakes) to make the learning space
flexible. There is no cumbersome fixed teacher bench taking up room thereby making the
learning space more open and accessible. Large windows visually link the large lab to two
General Learning Areas which themselves have a concertina partition allowing the creation
of a larger GLA for team teaching, students multi-functioning etc. Doors connecting the lab
to the GLAs would allow the GLAs to be breakout areas from the lab (timetabling
permitting). The Science lab has power connections hanging from the ceiling as well as in the
wall. The prep room is very large, connecting to several labs with a compactus aiding with
storage. The fume cupboards from the labs connect through to the prep room. The floors
are vinyl.

There is no projector in the lab but projectors are in some of the GLAs along with SMART
Boards. There is wireless throughout the school as well as ethernet points. One of the
computer rooms in TAS has a ‘herring bone’ layout so that all screens are visible to a teacher
at the back of the room.

Flexible lab, power from above Movable benches on wheels

18
Windows connecting lab with GLA Large Prep Room

De La Salle College, Revesby
http://www.dlsrevesby.catholic.edu.au/

The new Science Block was opened in 2006. It consists of 4 labs, a computer lab and a prep
room opening into a large foyer which is a communal breakout learning area rather than
simply a corridor. Similar to Clancy, the labs have mini-pods with gas, electricity and water
around the sides of the room with movable benches on wheels that can be rearranged to
make this a very flexible work space. In the middle of the labs the students have normal
desks on carpet whereas there is vinyl around the practical areas. There is a concertina door
with whiteboard that links pairs of labs. Each lab also has lots of internal windows that look
out into the foyer learning area and beyond into the computer room. There is a very large
prep room with a compactus to aid storage.

The College is wireless throughout and soon the students will be able to bring their NSSCF
laptops into the Science labs. There is a SMART Board in one lab and a multimedia unit and
data projector in another.

Entry to new Science Block Movable benches on wheels

19
Windows connecting lab with breakout area Concertina doors with whiteboard

Communal breakout area Compactus used in large prep room

Ecolinc Science and Technology Innovation Centre
http://www.ecolinc.vic.edu.au/index.php

Ecolinc is not a school but an educational centre for schools to visit where students can
perform experiments in a couple of labs. The labs contain fixed oblate octagonal work
stations supplying water and gas for experimentation by medium sized groups. The space is
not flexible as it is used solely for experimentation as in university labs.

There is a glasshouse that opens off one of the labs. Outside there is a wetland area created
using storm water. Both of these areas aid in the study of Biology and Environmental
Science.

Obviously there is an eco-friendly emphasis around the architectural design of Ecolinc. These
features8 include: black walls to reradiate the sun’s heat which passed through large north-
facing double-glazed windows, outside eaves to block out unwanted heat in summer, the
‘thermal mass’ of the building used for warming in winter and cooling in summer, sloping
roof and air gap to allow convection currents to carry hot air away, high/low venting to allow
8
Sustainability features explained excellently through animated website
http://www.ecolinc.vic.edu.au/virtualtour.php

20
for natural cooling air flow, black roof with solar heated ‘hot box’ to circulate warm air in
winter, wall and roof insulation, climate-control panel in each room, solar hot water system,
photo-voltaic cells on the roof, water tanks and more. There are white circles painted on the
concrete ceiling to break up the linear nature of the concrete and lighten the room. Large,
soft white material circles are suspended from the ceiling to dampen the acoustics and cover
the ceiling vents from view.

Every room has a projector but no IWB. Every work station has a PC curiously within a
depression in the bench top even though they are wet labs. There is a large ‘Weather Wall’
flat-screen TV in the foyer with live data from sensors outside the building on a
meteorological mast (designed by the CSIRO) providing local environment data.

Science Lab Glasshouse connected to lab

Reflecting circles on ceiling, large soft circles Climate Control Panel
to dampen sound and hide vents

21
PC sunk into work station Weather Wall flat-screen TV in foyer

Monitoring Mast designed by CSIRO Wetland Area

Iona College
http://www.iona.qld.edu.au/

A Catholic boys college conducted by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, in the eastern
suburbs of Brisbane.

The Science labs have fixed granite benches around the side of the room for
experimentation. The students sit in a hexagonal horseshoe ‘battle axe’ arrangement around
a very large teacher/demonstration desk. The floor is white vinyl in the practical areas which
has proved a problem due to staining but carpeted where the students sit. There is a
lowered panelled ceiling which helps with acoustics. There are windows all the way around
which is great for visual linking but without blinds thereby being a problem for optics
experiments. A prep room is provided on each floor of the Science block.

All labs are wireless as well as hard wired. There is a data projector but no IWB. Every lab has
a visualiser. There are 6 PCs in breakout areas off the labs.

22
Large teacher bench with Visualiser Work stations around sides of lab

Parramatta Marist High School
http://www.parramarist.nsw.edu.au/

The Science labs at Parramatta are conventional plus they have a lecture theatrette. What
are particularly impressive are their PBL (Project Based Learning) areas in various parts of
the school. These PBLs are big open areas the size of two classrooms usually with two classes
in and two teachers team teaching. The furniture is arranged around the room for group
work with glass partitions partially separating some groups or providing a visual link to a
breakout mini-amphitheatre area. The seating is very ergonomic and the carpeting very soft
allowing students to sit on the ground. Students are timetabled in the PBLs for cross-
curricular subjects such as ‘Cath-Tec’ which is a combination of RE and IT to stimulate the
boys’ interest and participation in RE. Science may possibly be looking to make their own
PBL as a breakout area from the labs.

The technology is very impressive. There is wireless throughout. As well as data projectors
there are numerous large flat-screen TVs on the walls near where each individual group may
sit. There is also a large bank of laptops in each PBL as the NSSCF machines were not issued
to the students. Students can link the laptops to the flat-screen TVs (which are networked)
to then share their work with the rest of the class. The teachers have access to a multimedia
podium including 4 wireless microphones, a visualiser and control over the networked TVs.
There are also class sets of video cameras for use by the students.

Mini-amphitheatre behind glass partition in PBL Flat-screen TVs on walls and glass partitions

23
Princes Hill Secondary College
http://phsc.vic.edu.au/

A large, inner city, coeducational high school in Melbourne.

The Science labs are large, split into two halves. The first half has a fixed teacher bench and
student desks in rows facing a whiteboard. This area is carpeted. The second area has fixed
square work stations with power, ethernet points and only 2 gas taps. There are large water
troughs at the side of the room. Having both spaces in the room would allow for student-
centred work though it is a shame that the benches are fixed in the middle of that half of the
room. There is a large prep room that only links directly to one lab. There is a fume cupboard
operational from the prep room but viewable from a Science lab. Perhaps the best feature is
the display cabinets in the corridor to captivate passersby. Some of these included an
aquarium accessible from the lab and viewable from the corridor.

Fixed square work stations

St John Bosco College
http://www.bosco.nsw.edu.au/

St John Bosco was observed on an eLearning Staff Development Day and not formally as part
of this investigation. The most notable features for this report are the customised storage
for all equipment (including such cumbersome items as a linear air-track), the variety of class
sets of the latest data-loggers and the opportunity and space for a possible outdoor learning
or breakout area.

24
Customised Storage for air-track Substantial Storage

University of New South Wales
http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/

Large designated laboratories to cater for up to 80 students. The work stations are ‘+’
shaped with power and slimline iMacs. The space is not flexible but solely designed for
Physics practical investigation. The space does provide for student-centred, self directed
learning and group work. There is also a breakout area with movable furniture and iMacs.
Substantial storage is down one long wall and accessible to the students. Individual
whiteboards are arranged on the opposite wall to assist one or two work stations at a time.
There was also a hatch to pass through materials from the Prep Room. The flooring is carpet
tiles.

Large lab of ‘+’ shaped pods Breakout Room

25
Substantial storage along walls

University of Sydney
http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/

Similar to UNSW though ‘+’ shaped work stations staggered around a squarer room for
fewer students (48). The bench surfaces are 10 years old and in perfect condition being
made of Tarkett vinyl. A long wall bench is provided for air track and projectiles experiments.
Acoustics are poor due to hard ceilings and floor (vinyl). Again, not a flexible space but solely
designed for experimental use, lending itself for student-centred, self-directed learning and
group work.

Spacious lab with ‘+’ shaped pods

26
Bibliography

Literature

Association for Science Education, SCHOOL LABORATORIES FOR THE 21st CENTURY, 2002
http://www.ase.org.uk/ldtl/docs/SL21C.pdf

Australian Science and Mathematics School, Building Design Manual (internal document), 2003

CEO Sydney, Learning Framework, 2005
http://www.ceosyd.catholic.edu.au/cms/webdav/site/ceosydney/shared/About%20Us/Strategic_plan/Learning%20Frame
work.pdf

COAG, National Partnership Agreement on the Nation Building and Jobs Plan: Building Prosperity
for the Future and Supporting Jobs, 2009
http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2009-02-05/docs/20090205_nation_building_jobs.pdf

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Learning Space Design, 2008
http://epotential.education.vic.gov.au/newlearningspaces/documents/learning-space-design.pdf

DEEWR, Building the Education Revolution Guidelines, 2009
http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/BuildingTheEducationRevolution/Documents/09-
099%20BER%20guidelines_APPROVED.pdf

EDUCAUSE, Teaching and Learning with Laptop Computers in the Classroom, 2009
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0431.pdf

Group GSA, Laboratories + Language Site Audit, 2009 (prepared for CEO Sydney)

Johnson and Lomas, Design of the Learning Space: Learning and Design Principles, EDUCAUSE
Review, vol. 40, no. 4 (July/August 2005): 16–28
http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/DesignoftheLearningSpaceL/40557?time=1236055034

Koedinger, Suthers & Forbus, Component-Based Construction of a Science Learning Space, 2008
http://www.springerlink.com/content/n100421112165418/

Li, Locke, Nair & Bunting, Creating 21st Century Learning Environments, 2005

MCEETYA, Learning in an Online World: Learning Spaces Framework, 2008
http://www.mceetya.edu.au/verve/_resources/ICT_LearningOnlineWorld-LearningSpacesFWork.pdf

Nair and Fielding, Language of School Design, 2005

National Curriculum Board, National Science Curriculum Framing Paper, 2008
http://www.ncb.org.au/verve/_resources/National_Science_Curriculum_-_Framing_Paper.pdf

New Media Consortium, The Horizon Report: 2009 Edition, 2009
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/CSD5612.pdf

Oblinger, Learning Spaces, 2006
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB7102.pdf

OECD, 21st Century Learning Environments, 2006

27
OECD, PEB Compendium of Educational Facilities: 3rd Edition, 2006

OECD, The Search for Innovative Learning Environments, 2008

Theisens, Benavides & Dumont, OECD Work on Future Educational Environments, 2008

Websites

Australian Science and Mathematics School, Facilities Information, 2007
http://www.asms.sa.edu.au/schoolinfo/Pages/Facilities.aspx

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Engaging Places, 2009
http://www.engagingplaces.org.uk/home

Department for Children, Schools and Families UK, Academies, 2009
http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/academies/

DEEWR, Building the Education Revolution Overview, 2009
http://www.deewr.gov.au/schooling/buildingtheeducationrevolution/Pages/default.aspx

Ecolinc, Virtual Tour, 2009
http://www.ecolinc.vic.edu.au/virtualtour.php#

EDUCAUSE, Learning Space Design, 2005
http://www.educause.edu/5521&bhcp=1

FUTURELAB, Learning Spaces, 2008
http://www.futurelab.org.uk/themes/learning-spaces

JISC, Planning & Designing Technology-Rich Learning Spaces, 2008
http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/learning-space-design

NCEF, Resources Lists, 2009
http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/index.cfm

University of Queensland, Science Learning Centre and interactive Learning Centres, 2008
http://www.uq.edu.au/nextgenerationlearningspace/science-learning-centre-and-interactive-learning-centres

28