A new high-tech mobile learning centre is set to benefit more than 10,000 children who participate in the popular Life Education program throughout Central Queensland each year.
The $130,000 mobile learning centre (MLC), which will visit schools across the region, is a huge boost to the health and safety education program and replaces the previous Life Education van which was 30 years old and had covered thousands of kilometres.
State Member for Keppel and Assistant Minister for Education Brittany Lauga unveiled the new mobile classroom at Park Avenue State School this week.
Ms Lauga, who is also an ambassador for Central Queensland Life Education, said the iconic program had resonated with generations of children and remained vital to the region.
“Each year, thousands of children from Rockhampton and Woorabinda to Blackwater and Baralaba participate in the Life Education program, learning everything from cybersafety and good nutrition to respectful relationships and strategies to deal with bullying,” Ms Lauga said.
“Life Education is a rite of passage for so many children as they go through their primary school years, and it’s wonderful that this new mobile learning centre will enable the program to reach and educate thousands more children across the region in the coming decades.”
Rockhampton-based health educator Dr Liz Hills (PhD) said the new MLC – which is towed to primary schools when they book the Life Education program – would make the drug and health sessions even more impactful and engaging for children.
“Life Education is an immersive, fun and engaging incursion and the mobile learning centre is so central to the whole experience,” Dr Hills said.
“The sessions are fun and awe-inspiring, and most importantly, educational. Each session in the van utilises digital resources, 3D technology, interactive learning, and play-based learning, and this holistic approach triggers those points in a child’s brain that link the experience to deeper memory and learning.
“The new MLC means I can embed all of the available learning technology into my lessons, including augmented reality, which enables children to see what organs in the human body look like. For a lot of the schools here, this will be the first time they’ve seen that.”
The van was made possible thanks to generous donations including a $50,000 grant from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and $20,000 in funding from Aurizon.
Along with digital educational resources, mascot Healthy Harold and a 75-inch smart screen, the new MLC features a hydraulic wheelchair lift for children with mobility challenges, HEPA filters and COVID-safe air purifying systems.
Park Avenue State School principal Helen Heery said students were delighted that the much-loved Life Education program would now be delivered in a new high-tech setting.
“The feedback from students about the new van environment has been fantastic,” Ms Heery said.
“As educators, we know that when children are captivated by learning, they are more likely to remember important messages that will influence their decisions for years to come. Life Education is so beneficial in helping children to make good choices around staying healthy, as well as providing the tools to build emotional resilience.”