A revolution in education
Learning is undergoing a transformation. A brand-new teaching space at Unitec will combine the traditional hands-on approach with virtual reality, emulation and new teaching methods, leading an education revolution. The state-of-the-art Mataaho building, a flagship project at the Mt Albert campus, will provide a modern open-plan environment for automotive, electrical, mechanical engineering, carpentry, plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying students.
Anyone can build a building, says
Renee Davies, Dean of Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure at Unitec, but what makes the difference is the wrap-around tutor facilitation and leading-edge technology, which will provide world-class education.
“When all three pieces come together, we see graduates who are adaptable, flexible, can problem-solve and be able to collaborate,” she says.
The open-plan design of the new building will enable cross-discipline learning for students, paralleling the trends of the real world. “There is a blurring of lines, and the facility is open so that students can see what others are doing in different disciplines,” says Davies.
A plumber, for example, needs to know the latest developments in the building industry, and a mechanical engineer should be up to date with what’s happening in robotics.
Davies says Mataaho signifies much more than a building to trades education in New Zealand. “It’s an enabler to equip students with the mindsets, essential skills and habits they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Mataaho aims to future-proof our graduates.”
On the technology front, theory and practical work are enhanced with virtual reality, computer simulation, and emulation. Virtual-reality headsets can allow students to walk through a virtual worksite and understand everything from potential hazards to the detail of construction.
The new approach to course delivery enables students to learn in a completely new way. “Students can move from emulation labs to the workshop floor at any time and gain a much deeper understanding of what they are looking for and how it works,” says Davies. “In fact, it’s so immersive, the experience doesn’t feel like learning in a traditional environment at all.”
Mataaho is only part of Unitec’s masterplan. Another key foundation to its education transformation is creating a classroom without walls. Tutors facilitate real-world placements to support workforce needs, and industry partners bring expertise and knowledge into the classroom.
On completion, Mataaho will be the largest flexible, technology-supported learning facility in New Zealand.
We see graduates who are adaptable, flexible, can problem-solve and are able to collaborate.