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STEM kits bring a new level of ‘cool’ to schools

Students and teachers got a preview of the exciting new digital learning resources that will be available to NSW public schools from next term as part of the STEMShare Community program.

Gladys Berejiklian, Rob Stokes and Geoff Lee with school students

Parramatta Public School students show the Premier the new STEM kits.

Parramatta Public School students had a taste of the future today when Premier Gladys Berejiklian chose their school to launch a $23 million package of digital learning resources.

Virtual tours of ancient Egypt, robotics, coding and green screens were on offer with students Neil, Sunedha and Vaibhav showing off their coding skills to the Premier as they tested out the robotics kit.

Under the STEMShare Community program, 660 kits that include robotics, 3D printing, coding, film-making and virtual reality equipment will be available for schools to borrow for a term.

Ms Berejiklian said the new program would start in Term 4, ensuring every public school student had access to the latest learning resources.

“It is so inspiring to see young people learning to code, because we know the jobs of the future will require students to have those skills,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian said the STEM kits had the potential to unlock new pathways for students.

By example she said if they used the virtual reality kits to visit the International Space Station, it might inspire them into a career in the space industry.

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the STEMShare program included the technology kits, teacher training, expert support, curriculum-linked learning and online tools to ensure schools could make the most of the new resources.

“Our students will need to think critically, solve problems creatively, work in teams, communicate clearly in a range of media and continue to learn to engage with new and ever-evolving technologies,” he said.

“We are supporting our students to develop future skills for work and study.”

The new STEM kits were given the green light by Neil, Sunedha and Vaibhav.

The Year 3 students, who used iPads to code robots, said the technology made school more interesting.

“They are really cool and they are helping us learn in a modern way using things like coding,” Vaibhav said.

Former Gymea Bay Public School teacher Darren Avery is one of the new team of STEMShare Leaders advising schools and teachers on using the new kits.

Mr Avery said lessons for the kits covered a range of curriculum content and inspired students to think creatively and develop problem-solving skills.

“One of the things I’ve seen in my area as a teacher is that students are good at doing tests, but give them a problem and they really struggle to work through it,” he said.

“With these kits, a teacher can start students off with a simple challenge and the next thing they are giving you ideas and driving the lesson.”

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