More than 1200 school students participate in Uni's summer Learning Labs program

Interest in learning: Schools students have been participating in learning labs at the University of Wollongong for the last six years.
Interest in learning: Schools students have been participating in learning labs at the University of Wollongong for the last six years.

More than 1200 Year 1 to 10 students from across the Illawarra are expected to visit the Wollongong Innovation Campus by mid January for the 2018 In2Uni Learning Labs program.

This year is our biggest Learning Labs cohort ever with over 1200 students attending across all the 81 workshops

Sarah Smith

The annual initiative is providing insights into everything from forensic science to facial recognition and fun with music.

Students taking part are all academically gifted and performing in the top 10-15 per cent in their area of interest within their peer groups.

University of Wollongong Learning Labs program coordinator Sarah Smith said the program was designed for those wishing to challenge themselves by participating in specially-designed workshops during the school holidays.

Ms Smith said the has proven so popular that record numbers of students have registered to attend the innovation campus over the two weeks.

“This year is our biggest Learning Labs cohort ever with over 1200 students attending across all the 81 workshops, as well as the introduction of new one-day Mini-Labs,” she said.

“It is amazing to think how far the program has come from its inception in 2012 when we had only 100 students. The response we get from parents, students and teachers wanting to be part of the program continues to increase year on year, which is fantastic. We are so excited to see students coming from both our local community, but also from as far as Canberra and the Victorian border.  Our aim is to give school students a university experience that is both fun and rewarding, and allows them to try new things outside of a traditional classroom setting.”

Each workshop is held over two days and is designed to be rigorous and challenging to stimulate the interest and curiosity of the students.

It gives them the opportunity to explore the university campus and facilities and socialise with peers interested in the same things.

Mini Labs are being offered for the first time this summer.

This week Early Labs for students in Years 3-6 are being run on Tuesday and Wednesday with workshops such as Forensics for Fun, Hot Rod Garage and Hogwarts Express.

On January 17 and 18 Learning Labs for Year 7 to 10 students will feature workshops such as Forensic Art and Facial Recognition, introduction to Virtual Reality and Momentum Mathematics.