We were thrilled to have the Hon. Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia take time out of his busy schedule to officially launch our STEM Maker Project at the Dome in Geelong. Mr Marles showed a lot of interest in the program and actively engaged with the team members. A huge thank you Mr Marles.
The STEM Maker Project was founded on the basis that coding has become the literacy of the 21st Century, therefore Australians need to develop STEM proficiency as a priority. This does not mean that all Australians need to be proficient coders, but it means all Australians need to understand how coding works so as a country we can compete in the international markets.
To address the STEM skills shortage in underrepresented adolescents (ages 12-18) we applied for and were awarded a Federal Government grant to actively address these shortages within the Greater Geelong Region.
In essence, the program is designed to demystify STEM and show how almost anyone can participate in STEM related careers. Run across four separate but interrelated sessions, participants get exposed to design thinking and 3D printing; building & programming robots; engagement with virtual reality; learning and creating content and finishes with STEM careers advice from industry professionals from The Gordon TAFE and Deakin University.
First Nations students at the Kitjarra Centre (The Gordon TAFE, Geelong, Victoria) got the first look at the program last month. Their feedback, observations and collaboration on the project have been invaluable. For example: ‘STEM isn’t just for super brainy people. Loved it. Had fun’. ‘This has really opened my mind and I am grateful for these lessons’. ‘Made me think about other job options’. A big thank you to Cameron and his students.
For the remainder of the program, we have partnered with Geelong Regional Libraries to deliver the STEM Maker sessions whilst also upskilling the library staff to continue the program.
At the end of the 12-month program, we will be donating the technology to both Geelong Regional Libraries and the Kitjarra Centre to continue the program beyond the scope and timeline of the grant requirements.
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