STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Education Policy Whack-A-Mole

Stuff this week - No Education Policy Whack-A-Mole

Years are passing by since articles like "Calls mount for primary school teacher STEM focus" have started appearing. The calls are from all quarters including businesses such as PwC which released their document last year "Making STEM a Primary Priority". The Government is starting to offer grants and training.
Yet most schools continue to lag with grasping the bull by the horns and aren't beginning to plan for the future. Indeed the opening article linked in this post points out that  "... literacy and numeracy results within schools had received a large amount of attention in recent years, science achievement had not received anywhere near the focus." Dr Jane Hunter (STEM education research scientist) tweeted about this and said "Hardly surprising given the focus of recent ed policy on literacy; research with primary principals identified this here"
I have seen this first hand in my own kids school. This years focus is on LITERACY! I am not downplaying the importance of literacy and numeracy at all but I am saying that the whack-a-mole approach is not working. Schools should be adapting to the new world and embracing STEM education and all that it has to offer (and that includes literacy and numeracy). As the vice-principal of Stuartholme School in Brisbane said to me about his school's approach "If you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got". So if you are getting outstanding results great but if there is room for improvement you need to change.
Is your school looking ahead and talking about new ways of teaching and learning or are they continuing on the same old path? If they are trying to look ahead are they doing serious planning or leaving it to chance?

Image result for if u don't like change you are going to like irrelevance even less

Stuff in the news

NSW’S First STEM-Focused School to Revolutionise Education - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta to run first STEM-focused school in NSW
The future of construction? Behold bricklaying robot SAM100’s wall-building prowess - Kids need to be working towards making the brick laying machine not being the brick layer. An article from Domain 19 March 2017.

Stuff to buy

Curly Bracket and the Hidden Code - Computational Thinking for Kids - A graphic novel for humans aged 8-13 with embedded puzzles that aim to teach computational thinking. Read the review in the first link and buy it here.
Superscreen – Supercharge your phone with a 10.1” HD display - If your kids have a phone but want a tablet then here is an affordable solution. The features of a $600 iPad in a $99 device. Superscreen gives you the benefits of a tablet with the power & convenience of your phone. (Note this is on Kickstarter so make sure you know how that works before you commit!)
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

Leadership Perspectives On STEM In Australian Primary Schools - An article from Education Technology Solutions Magazine. 13 February 2017.

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
Edutech 2017 - EduTECH is the LARGEST education event in Asia-Pac and the Southern Hemisphere. 7-9 June 2017 in Sydney.
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club

Stuff to do in Brisbane

SPARQ-ed Upper Primary and Junior Secondary School Immersions and Experience Days - Schools can now lodge an expression of interest for SPARQ-ed Cell and Molecular Biology Immersions and Experience Days. These are hands-on experiences which focus on skills used by biomedical scientists in a range of situations, including DNA extraction and profiling, the use of microscopes, forensic investigations (fingerprints, fibre analysis, ink analysis and DNA analysis), microbiology and hygiene and cell biology.
STEMies - This event is open to all girls in years 4 to 6, offering the opportunity to participate in a series of workshops with STEM topics. To register visit the flexischools website and search for St Aidan's then select GUEST in the top right class list. LIMITED PLACES LEFT.
Stuartholme STEAM Residential - A STEAM Residential program for gifted girls in Years 5 – 6, which will be held from the 2nd – 5th April during the school holidays. FULLY BOOKED.
Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017 
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Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane

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