STEM in Primary

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

Friday, 23 February 2018

Let's Recap

Let's Recap

FIVE years ago Australia's Chief Scientist published the National STEM Strategy. Two years ago all of the Education Ministers endorsed the Australian Education Council's National School STEM Strategy. Last year the Queensland Government mandated that coding and robotics would be taught to all childrenfrom Prep to Year 10 from 2018.
The Australian government has a policy and is providing support for STEM
Yet as the article We have a national STEM strategy, but what we need is a successful one points out it is actually up to schools to embrace the opportunities that come with this. They make the point that some schools are moving ahead with innovating in the classroom while others are yet to start.
All schools need a plan for what they want to do and how they want to do it. There is no one size fits all model so planning is essential. At the top of the planning list is teacher training. There are numerous free online resourcesfunded by the Government and organisations such as Google. Teachers need to be given time or incentivised to up-skill to deliver the new Digital Technologies subject specifically and improve their skills in the other STEM subjects generally. Additionally, lesson plans need to be reviewed to provide students opportunities to develop the 4 Cs - Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication. These concerns were addressed in the article STEM education in primary schools will fall flat unless serious issues are addressed
The failure of schools to properly do this disadvantages our children as they grow up into an increasingly global, competitive and technologically advanced world. Concerned parents who have the means are turning to third party providers to bridge the gap but this means that poor kids are being left behindDoing STEM at home is an alternative and one worth pursuing.
If you are concerned about the pace of change at your school then start a dialogue and ask the school to come up with a clearly defined strategy which has SMART goals

Stuff in the News

Australian of the Year choice highlights the need to talk about STEM education- The choice of a distinguished scientist as the Australian of the Year for the second year in succession has highlighted the major contribution people versed in science and technology make to our society every day. An article from the Brisbane Times 26 January 2018
Here's the best piece of advice Sal Khan received from Bill Gates - A short video for you to reflect on the question "How does your child feel about maths?" 19 August 2016
7 skills your child needs to survive the changing world of work - Education may be the passport to the future, but for all the good teaching out there, it would seem that schools are failing to impart some of the most important life skills, according to one educational expert. An article from the World Economic Forum4 Sep 2017

Stuff to buy

Piper Raspberry Pi Computer Kit -  The Piper computer kit is a great package to build a real, general use computer and electronics programs.
*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

We have a national STEM strategy, but what we need is a successful one- Schools need to set aside substantial professional development time for their staff to properly develop confidence and competence in delivering the Digital Technologies subject. An article from the Conversation 2 February 2018.
STEM must include focus on literacy, critical thinking as much as hard skills- While much of the focus on STEM subjects has been on teaching students hard skills like coding, soft skills in areas like creative and critical thinking, communication and collaboration are much more important when it comes to producing graduates who are lifelong learners, capable of pivoting amid major changes in whatever career field they choose. An article from Education Dive22 December 2017
Top 5: tech trends in education this year - A blog post on EducationHQ Australia on what technologies could be taking centre stage in education this year. 30 January 2018

Stuff to do Australia Wide

5 Podcasts That Will Change The Way Your Kids See The World (and that you’ll enjoy too) - A list of five podcasts that will entertain your kids and they will learn something along the way!
Give a Child the Gift of Science - A great collection of activities you can do at home
CSIRO CREST Program - CREativity in Science and Technology. Engage your students with open-ended science investigations and technology projects through the CREST program.
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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
Code Club Australia - A global network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

Stuartholme STEAM Residential Program - Stuartholme School together with Clearing Skies present the STEAM Residential Program, a three day residential for gifted girls currently in Years 5 and 6. The Residential will be held from Wednesday 11 to Saturday 14 April 2018.
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STEM in a Box has ongoing coding, robotics and 3D printing activities
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
STEAMPUNX - Not to be confused with the organisation above! Offers in-school and out of school workshop programs
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane
It's Rocket Science School Incursions - Educational and fully interactive project based rocket science incursions for primary and secondary schools in a safe and empowering learning environment.

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