Home Strategy Students promote their ideas as part of NBN Co STEM skills initiative
Students promote their ideas as part of NBN Co STEM skills initiative Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Students participating in a STEM skills initiative by national broadband network company NBN Co have presented their ideas during an online "Futurist’s Fair" after completing a three-month period of brainstorming.

The participating students video conferenced into NBN Co headquarters in Sydney on Tuesday and presented their ideas to a judging panel which included Kathrine Dyer, chief network deployment officer at NBN Co; Allegra Spender, chief executive at ABCN; and Scott Gaunson and Brett Stanford from the YouTube channel How Ridiculous.

Launched in February, the NBN Co STEM+X initiative saw students from eight schools across the country tasked with developing an idea to help brighten their community’s future by attempting to solve real life challenges.

Run in collaboration with the Australian Business Community Network, the initiative was developed to get students excited about the possibilities of learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills by combining it with their hobbies and passions.

“The NBN broadband access network plays a fundamental role in providing the infrastructure needed to support educating tomorrow’s workforce to learn vital STEM skills,” Dyer said.

“Whether it is gaining access to the Internet for the first time; being able to participate in online courses and long-distance education or benefiting from the increased employment opportunities of a remote workforce; fast broadband opens up a world of learning opportunities.

“I was excited to see what the students came up with today at the Futurists’ Fair and they should all be commended for their hard work on the initiative. The students are really in tune with the issues facing their communities and it’s great to see their passion in tackling them.”

Spender said, “Throughout the initiative, we’ve seen an increase in their attitudes and understanding of STEM and its importance for their future jobs.

“We have enjoyed working alongside NBN Co to deliver a program that uses the everyday passions and interests of young Australians to encourage STEM learning.”

The participating schools in the STEM+X initiative are:

  • Para Hills Primary School, Adelaide, SA
  • Canadian Lead Primary School, Ballarat, VIC
  • Islington Public School, Newcastle, NSW
  • Glenorchy Primary School, Hobart, TAS
  • Leanyer Primary, Darwin, NT
  • Invermay Primary School, Launceston, TAS
  • Townsville Central State School, Townsville, QLD
  • Beaconsfield Primary School, Perth, WA

How Ridiculous will visit the winning school for a day of STEM-filled fun in July and, in addition, the eight participating schools will receive a tech prize pack to support the development of STEM education programs.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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