Minister for Science and Research, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, today officially opened the new Questacon Technology Learning Centre (QTLC).
In an Australian first, the QTLC helps secondary school students to actively turn their ideas into innovations and inventions.
Speaking at the launch, Questacon Director, Professor Graham Durant said, ‘Australia has a long and proud history of achievement in science and technology and can lay claim to many world-changing inventions. All of these innovations required hands and brains working together and teamwork, which is the essence of the QTLC’s programs.’
The QTLC will help to ensure the tradition of excellence in invention and innovation continues, by sowing the seed of inspiration for today’s young people to become Australia’s next generation of scientists, engineers, technologists and entrepreneurs.
The QTLC will help them to design, create, and have a go at solving problems, making things, testing and refining them.
‘This process is at the heart of invention and innovation, whether it happens in the backyard or the boardroom, and some of Australia’s best success stories are featured in the exhibits at the QTLC,’ said Professor Durant.
The QTLC delivers technology workshops that nurture students’ creative thinking and problem-solving skills. The Activity Space is fully equipped with modern design tools such as 3D printers.
The workshops are also offered to classrooms across the country, via high-definition videoconferencing. The QTLC will also offer public events and exhibitions, and provide a hub for Canberra’s maker community.
The Technology for Mums program was showcased at the launch; a collaboration between Questacon and the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the ANU.
Minister Farrell interacted with mums and their children as they created simple, hand-cut puzzles, an electronic musical instrument using fruit, and experienced the cutting-edge manufacturing technology of 3D printing.
Technology for Mums helps mums assist their children to learn about science and technology. By providing ideas and inspiration, mums can confidently explore science and technology with their children at home.
The QTLC complements the much loved National Science and Technology Centre in the Parliamentary Triangle. The new facility is located in the Royal Australian Mint’s former administration building, with the re-purposed interior transformed into an innovative workspace and public exhibition space.
The Questacon Technology Learning Centre is also home to Questacon’s science communication team; the Shell Questacon Science Circus – Questacon’s flagship national touring program; and Questacon’s manufacturing plant where science exhibitions are designed and built before being toured nationally and internationally.