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pupils will be steaming ahead in Central Otago with close to a quarter of a million dollars of new funding for cutting-edge technology.

The Otago Community Trust has granted $242,000 to Dunstan Community of Learning for education development in Steam — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Cross-school lead teacher Michelle Bromby said the funds would go towards buying technology including 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC (computer numerical control) routers.

The equipment will be used by pupils across the whole community of learning group, which included not only Dunstan High School but also eight primary schools and 11 early childhood education centres.

The technology would be housed at the Terrace School’s technology centre as well as at Dunstan High School, but Mrs Bromby was setting up a lending library so pupils at more remote schools such as Millers Flat School, St John’s School in Ranfurly and Poolburn School in the Ida Valley would also be able to access the technology.

Creativity would be given a boost as well.
‘‘We are getting 3D goggles for the art department so they can make virtual 3D art, and we are getting equipment for music and drama as well so they can make silent movies and synthesised music and so on,’’ Mrs Bromby said.

Being able to invest in a large range of technology at the one time meant there would be consistency of learning across different age brackets.

As pupils progressed through the education system, they would be at an advantage because equipment they first encountered at an early age would be familiar to them — ‘‘so they don’t have to come to the high school and then learn to use a whole lot of new equipment’’.

The grant was not just about equipment, it was also about being able support teachers and pupils across the region, she said.
Teachers would be shown how to use the equipment, and having consistency of knowledge and equipment would allow idea-sharing to take place across the community of learning, both for teachers and pupils, Mrs Bromby said.