QUT’s commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning was strengthened this year with the completion and opening of the $94.4 million Peter Coaldrake Education Precinct and the launch of Podclass, a podcast series of in-depth interviews with QUT education researchers.
The naming of the state-of-the-art Precinct at the Kelvin Grove campus recognises the significant contributions of former QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake AO to both the university and to higher education access, practice and public policy over nearly three decades.
The Precinct welcomed its first students at the start of the year and was officially opened by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in May.
Over the building’s six levels there is a range of flexible, formal and informal teaching and learning spaces, designed to foster collaborative and peer-to-peer learning. These spaces are equipped with audio-visual and digital technologies to encourage student creativity and also provide lecturers with tools to develop pre-lecture videoed information for students.
There is also a suite of well-equipped function spaces for professional development, conferences, workshops and networking events.
The impressive digital centrepiece of the Precinct is the Sphere, a two-storey, five-metre diameter suspended LED globe.
The Sphere is the only one of its type in the world with 3mm LED 4K resolution, which allows it to operate in full daylight. Built and tested in China, it was dismantled and shipped to QUT and then installed in the Precinct Atrium.
The Sphere is complemented by a digital touchscreen wall, and not only do the two installations provide an impressive presence in the Atrium, they are cutting-edge learning and teaching tools with specially developed interactive content.
For the first Sphere program, QUT’s teacher education and early childhood researchers collaborated with the ViseR (Visualisation and eResearch) team to showcase the importance of the early years in brain development. Students can interact with the digital touchscreen to see how everyday activities, play, games and reading fire activity in a child’s brain.
The Precinct was shortlisted for the Facilities Innovation Award in the 2019 AFR Higher Education Awards and also has been nominated for a number of other awards, including the TEFMA Clever Campus Awards Innovation Award.
QUT’s Podclass is a seven-part podcast series of in-depth interviews with QUT’s education researchers conducted by Brisbane writer and broadcaster Madonna King.
These podcasts are an easy-to-access resource for teachers to tap into, to connect with education researchers and to learn from their extensive experience, ideas, strategies and approaches to education.
Topics covered in the Podclass series include teacher leadership, health and wellbeing, the importance of mentors and professional online learning networks, and tools for building student self-regulation.
The response from educators has been impressive, with more than 10,600 unique episode listens in the first two months following launch of the series in early June.