Pedare Christian College is an R-12 Coeducational Anglican and Uniting Church School at Golden Grove, South Australia. Academically focussed, Pedare also has many other strengths, such as their netball and robotics programs. The school provides a responsive environment to all students so they can develop skills to be internationally minded, technologically adept and ready to become future leaders within their local and global community.
Pedare’s approach includes providing the foundation for independent learning and encourages the application of students’ knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self-management skills helps students learn how to learn.
One way all these skills and ideas are brought together, is through their robotics program. Innovative in the way it integrates mathematics and physics into the curriculum, it is supported by modules from world leader, Vex Robotics. The program encourages creativity, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups, beginning with young students and moving through to seniors. Extra curricular opportunities are offered from year 3, with aspects such as programming and code writing beginning from year 6. By senior year, students look at real world challenges and how technology and lateral thinking can create solutions. Pedare provides many opportunities and links with tertiary institutions and companies to offer inspiration, context, mentoring and employment opportunities.
With such a comprehensive program and technology-led initiatives, it was imperative for Pedare to have a reliable, consistent and high performing internet service. “Traditional internet offerings provide a layer 3 option, which takes away some opportunities. With SABRENet’s Layer 1 offering, we had more choice, creating greater resilience for Pedare and we also have the flexibility to upgrade whenever we desire,” says Peter Cheel, former ICT Manager.
Pedare’s robotics program has created much interest and passion across the school and is a drawcard to prospective students as well as offering more STEM opportunities for girls. Recently a team from Pedare’s Middle School competed in the Vex Robotics IQ world championship. They qualified through local, state, and national tournaments, resulting in being one of only two schools to compete on the world stage in Dallas, US, using a robot of their own design. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership and communications.
The program’s success is in large part due to the confidence and skills of Pedare’s teaching staff. Peter Cheel is adamant that “the fast speed and reliability of our internet plays a crucial role in both students’ and teachers’ confidence and our ability to attract teachers with technology expertise. Our teaching body needs to be resourced and supported, so they can achieve in their job. Our technical team supports teachers by understanding teaching needs, developing relationships and providing the necessary infrastructure. With this in place we can attract like-minded teaching staff and give our staff the confidence and skills to continue to grow.”
As well as the teaching and student needs, Pedare also has broad organisational needs to consider. A feature of the SABRENet offering is that once the infrastructure is established, there are no extra costs. “It is far more affordable to operate than any other provider,” says Peter. “The quality and reliability of SABRENet’s infrastructure means that the technology blends into the background, our staff’s experience is a smooth one and that we have the tools to be able to do our job”.
This has never been more important than during NAPLAN national testing and SACE exams, both of which necessitate a specific day and time for testing online. Students only have one opportunity to sit their SACE exams, so if there are any problems with the internet connection, they could miss this crucial opportunity. Pedare has also been involved with NAPLAN for 9 years, assisting with BETA testing of the system. This has required a stable environment and it has been critical that this activity has been able to take place whilst not affecting the rest of the school and curriculum.
Being education focussed and innovative, SABRENet fits with Pedare’s future plans. Peter says, “The reliability, consistency and high performance of the SABRENet connection is a basis from which so much can grow. At Pedare we believe the role of schools in society is to nurture the people who are going to drive the future.”