STEM in Primary

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

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Gonski 2.0

Gonski 2.0

The recent release of David Gonski's second report into education notes that Australian student's performance in reading, science and maths has been declining for years. Many of the recommendations were particularly interesting from a STEM perspective as they called for many things that STEM proponents have been saying for some time.
For example one recommendation is to strengthen the development of the "General Capabilities" which is directly related to the STEM proponent's call to improve student's ability to use the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and Creativity.
Two other standout recommendations were for more individualised learning and use of technology to help children achieve their full potential. Flipped Learningand Project Based Learning are two approaches that could help meet these objectives. 
The report noted that there were too many "cruising schools" which weren't being innovative in their teaching practices nor in the way they delivered the curriculum. School's have to be nimble in what they teach children about technology as this is a rapidly changing field. This is one of the Gonski report's priorities "Equip every child to be a creative, connected and engaged learner in a rapidly changing world". Clearly a pre-requisite for this is comprehensive and ongoing teacher training and this was called for when the "Innovation committee recommends teachers get schooled on STEM"..
Articles such as "STEM needs all the help it can get" and "STEM education in primary schools will fall flat unless serious issues are addressed" have previously highlighted issues with the education system that hopefully will get some attention as a result of this landmark report, Sir Ken Robinson in the followup to his fabled 2006 talk called for us to Bring on the Learning Revolution! We simply must move away from the way we have always done things and get creative. Make learning real world and integrate the subjects instead of teaching in a siloed manner. All of these ideas were covered in this video from 2014 "STEM Education Overview"
This isn't new stuff yet traction is anaemic. David Gonski said in an interview "There is never time to waste and I think it would be wonderful if we could get cracking with it straight away." I think so too.

Stuff in the News

Science-nonfiction: Robotics author says AI will affect all children - It is important for young children to be familiar about big changes that may occur during their lives. An article from the Brisbane Times 14 May 2018
Re-envisioning NAPLAN: use technology to make the tests more authentic and relevant -  Experts look at options for removing, replacing, rethinking or resuming NAPLAN. An article from The Conversation 14 May 2018

Stuff to buy

STEM Story Books - Queensland University Professor and father Michael Milford has been producing a number of story books for children with different STEM themes. Great for presents!
*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

Gonski review attacks Australian schooling quality and urges individualised teaching approach - The Gonski review into the quality of Australian schooling has highlighted declining academic performance and recommended school education be radically reformed to tailor teaching and assessment to individual students. An article from The Conversation 30 April 2018
How Victorian principals responded to the Gonski 2.0 report - Critical thinking and STEM skills are vital for survival in the future workforce and can not simply be tacked onto the existing education system. An article from the Sydney Morning Herald 30 April 2018
Two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald highlighting schools which are embracing STEM:

Stuff to do Australia Wide

2018 Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is completely free to enter. This year’s competition will run from Tuesday 20 Feb – Friday 3 August 2018
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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Fizzics Education - Mobile workshops & shows by dedicated science educators NSW, VIC & QLD & ACT
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

RoboGals Brisbane Robotics Days - Robogals has various workshops programmed throughout the year.
QLD Premier's Coding Competition - Students need to create a digital solution that meets the theme of ‘stand up to cyberbullies’ using Anti-Bully Girl - one of the Cyber Heroes. Closes 19 June 2018
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Street Science - Street Science provides captivating and curriculum aligned school Incursions and community entertainment, to excite and engage Australia's youth!
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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