Monday, 05 December 2016 19:35

Samsung, University of Canberra collaborate on STEM learning research

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Samsung Australia and the University of Canberra are collaborating on the research and development of a technology-driven learning programme to improve science and mathematics literacy for young Australians.

Under the agreement, announced today, Samsung will support researchers from the University’s STEM Education Research Centre (SERC) as they investigate new practices in spatial-reasoning education and the use of new technologies.

The project builds on SERC work focused on studying the extent to which spatial skills have a sustained impact on the overall STEM competence among young Australians by using technology and innovative practices.

University of Canberra Centenary Professor and director of SERC,Tom Lowrie, says the project aims to inspire young students to use the latest technological devices to learn about spatial reasoning and STEM concepts in general.

SERC also aims to provide evidence on how spatial skills may contribute to reducing the gap on mathematical achievement among the most socially disadvantaged students in Australia.

Professor Lowrie, who will lead the collaboration, says it will involve two programmes designed to improve mathematics and science competences – one aimed at primary school students and another one for high school students.

“The primary school project will look at developing spatial-reasoning skills in a dynamic 3D-like world on a smartphone or tablet,” he said.

“The second project, the Digital Design Learning Lab, aimed at high school-aged students, will look at the use of augmented reality to represent the real world as 3D objects on tablets.

“By using creative activities and innovative programmes through cutting-edge technologies, such as digital sensor-based mobile platforms, augmented reality technologies, next generation digital signage and visual display solutions, we hope to complement traditional classroom learning and engage the students in these subjects.”

Professor Lowrie says an important component of the programme is to work with disadvantaged communities, including indigenous and remote communities, and connect them with “forward-thinking education”.

“We are committed to engaging students in learning opportunities that promote STEM practices (including spatial reasoning and collaborative problem solving), especially in communities where students have limited opportunities to engage with new technology innovations.”

The research team will also create an online community network to share relevant learnings and experiences and work with teachers across the country to test programmes and adjust them for best practice.

Tess Ariotti, Samsung corporate social responsibility manager, said, “this is a fantastic collaboration that will explore ways to better support STEM education to make a meaningful impact in the learning outcomes of young Australians”.

“As technology embeds itself within all industries, STEM skills are becoming vital to a majority of careers. Samsung is working with SERC because we see the opportunity for our technology to contribute to the development and execution of innovative teaching practices in Australian schools. By working with organisations like UC we’re ensuring technology integration is relevant and contributes to lasting, positive change.”

To learn more about the initiative by Samsung and UC to get students to take STEM subjects in higher education, and recent discussion on the subject at SERC in Canberra, click here to read an article by iTWire’s Ray Shaw.

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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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