Tuesday, 21 March 2017 15:41

Samsung enables disadvantaged schools to ramp up the STEM dial

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Samsung Electronics Australia has backed Social Ventures Australia (SVA) with a new three-year partnership to further the Bright Spots Schools Connection STEM Learning Hub, an initiative designed to kick-start STEM education for low socio-economic schools across Australia.

The SVA programme offers professional development and STEM-specific training, as well as access to STEM intervention strategies and resources to selected schools, to advance their students’ knowledge, and respond to their changing education demands, equipping them with the STEM skills needed for future prosperity.

The Bright Spots Schools Connection STEM Learning Hub schools have been selected because they demonstrate best practice in STEM education in public schools from low socio-economic communities in South Australia and Victoria.

Tess Ariotti, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Samsung, said, “Samsung cares deeply about this issue. We’re excited by the opportunity to use our technology to develop innovative learning experiences for young people and are committed to ensuring our programmes spark measurable and meaningful change.

"Further, we believe that all young Australians, regardless of socio-economic or geographic barriers, should have access to diverse, quality learning experiences, and we’d like to help enable this through our technology.”

“If by 2030 all 15-year-olds were proficient at STEM, Australia’s GDP would increase by 15% by 2050,” said Suzanne Cridge, director Education, Bright Spots Schools Connection at Social Ventures Australia, quoting the Australian Government “Australia to 2050: Future Challenges” report.

According to the TIMMS 2015 report, Australian performances in mathematics and science have stagnated over the past 20 years. During this same period, high-performing countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and Japan and the areas of Hong Kong and Taiwan made steady improvements, while places such as Canada, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US have improved and now out-perform Australia.

The report shows that Australian Year 4 students were significantly out-performed by students in 21 countries in mathematics and 17 countries in science. At Year 8, Australian students were out-performed by those in 12 countries in mathematics and 14 in science.

Bright Spots Schools Connection STEM Learning Hub schools programme

National concern around a lack of STEM skills is fuelled by gaps in resources and achievement levels between students. This is a pivotal time for STEM education in Australian schools, particularly in disadvantaged communities where by the age of 15 students can be up to five times more likely to be low performers than a student in a higher socio-economic area. In mathematics, for example, 33% of disadvantaged students were low performers compared to only 8% of advantaged students.

The 48 schools from NSW, Victoria and South Australian have been selected because they demonstrate best practice in STEM education in public schools from low socio-economic communities.

They will feed back into SVA’s wider Bright Spots Schools Connection, enabling best practice in STEM-related teaching. The programme draws upon SVA’s expertise in working with high performing schools in challenging communities, and in sharing successful teaching and learning practices with schools facing similar challenges.

Some of the new schools are Mount Burr Primary School, Prospect North Primary School and Wirreanda Secondary College from South Australia; as well as, Sunshine College, Wallarano Primary School, Lang Lang Primary School, Wonthaggi North Primary School and Wonthaggi Primary School from Victoria.

“Through our partnership with SVA, we want to provide innovative educational experiences that complement traditional classroom practices. As skills in STEM become increasingly relevant across a variety of occupations and industries, the Bright Spots Schools Connection STEM Learning Hub will be an invaluable resource for teachers. The network of support provided by the Bright Spots Schools Connection STEM Learning Hub is key to ensuring Australian students are adequately equipped with the skills they need for the workforce of the future,” said Ariotti.

iTWire attended the Spatial Environment Research Centre (SERC) Spatial Reasoning Seminar in Canberra in December that casts more light on the need for STEM training and the move from learning on paper to learning on glass.

Samsung STEM presentation

Tess Ariotti, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Samsung (centre) and Solange Cunin, co-founder, Cuberider (right) present Mount Burr Primary School with a certificate at the STEM Learning Hub launch.

 

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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