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How architectural form can enhance the integration of technology

Geoff Voller
Penrith Anglican College
Penrith Anglican College is a new private school built at the foothills of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. From its inception the school was built around the philosophy of providing easy practical access to information at the point of need. To do this the College embarked on an exciting experiment in which building form has facilitated function. The College consists of a number of modules, each of which houses a stage of the school. Each module contains four classrooms, with each room coming off a central learning area. The central learning area houses 15 computers, a teaching/research area and a library. This simple but incredibly effective building design has had some far-reaching and surprising consequences for the school. To begin with, the combination of hard copy library resources, electronic research facilities and the learning space has allowed a balanced information skills strategy to be employed with the children. The ease of access to these facilities has allowed the cross fertilisation of ideas between the teachers and students who inhabit the same block.

In the IT realm, some of the outcomes of this interplay between building form and function are witnessed in the increased use of technology by the teachers and an increase in the meaningful integration of technology and information skills into the curriculum. As well teachers are more motivated, finding interesting and innovative ways to employ technological solutions to curriculum challenges. The versatile design of the learning centre has allowed it to be an Internet Research Space, a Graphics Lab (simply by adding graphics tablets), a Robotics Lab for Design and Technology, and a Language Laboratory for French. Indeed most subjects' classes in the junior and senior school have found stimulating and interesting ways to bring the 21st century into the classroom.

Please cite as: Voller, G. (2002). How architectural form can enhance the integration of technology. In S. McNamara and E. Stacey (Eds), Untangling the Web: Establishing Learning Links. Proceedings ASET Conference 2002. Melbourne, 7-10 July.

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Created 8 Aug 2002. Last revision: 8 Aug 2002.
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