(Duration: 1 minutes 39 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM 2022 on demand’.

[Adam Spencer is standing inside a classroom. Behind him are tote trays, a pinboard and a poster showing the STEM process. Text on the screen reads, ‘Adam Spencer. TV and Radio Personality, Author and Math Geek’.]

Adam Spencer:

Hello, everyone. Adam Spencer here coming to you from the Centre of Innovation and Excellence, that is Porters Creek Public School on the Central Coast.

[Screen shows the front of a school with a gate sign that reads, ‘Welcome to Porter’s Creek Public School. This is followed by a series of shots inside the school grounds showing colourful buildings and Aboriginal artwork of a platypus on a green exterior wall.]

I am so excited to be your virtual master of ceremonies for STEM 2022 On Demand – education for a rapidly changing world. Now many of you would know that STEM 2022 On Demand is an initiative of the New South Wales Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships Program and brings together some of Australia's and indeed the world’s foremost experts on creativity, innovation, education and STEM.

[Screen reads, ‘https://sispprogram.schools.nsw.gov.au/’.]

During this online on demand event, you will have a front row seat for our series of awesome ed-talks and STEM inspired practical workshops on a range of exciting topics, including space exploration and education, quantum computing, cyber security, environmental education, surveying and geo-spatial engineering, agri-tech, food science, computing science, and much more.

Video content will be released progressively from today, July 18, on the New South Wales Department of Education's website to coincide with important events on the STEM calendar, such as National Science Week and World Space Week. But best of all, the resources can be accessed at any time from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

So, what are you waiting for? Manipulate your mouse, tickle your trackpad and get your geek on with STEM 2022 On Demand.

[End of Transcript]

STEM 2022 – International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Saturday 11 February, we bring you two presentations by leading women in Science. Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith introduces the Future You program to inspire an interest in STEM careers. Scientific Futurist Dr Catherine Ball explores emerging careers in STEM, in space and the metaverse.

New videos will be released here on important dates in the STEM calendar.

Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith

Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia's Women in STEM Ambassador, is inspiring careers in STEM through the Future You online program for students. (17:43)

Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith

(Duration: 17 minutes 43 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM On demand’.]

[Screen reads ‘Future You’. Screen shows a series of shots of Renee Wootton checking the engine of a small aircraft and using a pump to fill it with fuel.]

Renee Wootton:
[Screen reads ‘Renee: highflyer’. Screen shows a series of shots of Renee inspecting the aircraft.]

It kind of started with this question around how do you get something so big up into the sky? How many systems have to come together or people or designs and creativity to make that possible? So for me, it's just I'm genuinely wowed every time I see an aircraft fly because I just think they're beautiful, but equally, they're so loud and just amazing and complex and it's really amazing to understand all of that.

[Screen shows Renee.]

Yeah, I never thought I'd be able to fly. So to have the skillset to just rock up at an airport now hire out a plane and say, "See you later, I'm going to fly over here."

[Screen shows a plane moving across a runway.]

It's a very cool feeling.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

[Screen shows Lisa. Screen reads ‘Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith’. Behind Lisa is a banner with the Australian government logo reading ‘Women in STEM Ambassador’.]

Hello everyone, I'm Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australia's women in STEM Ambassador, and you've just been watching Renee Wootton, a proud, thorough woman, aerospace engineer and qualified pilot who now leads First Nation engagement at Qantas. Now the extract is from the High Flyer, one of four shorts documentary films featuring extraordinary Australian women who work in the STEM sector. And this makes up the Pathfinder series. Now, these films have been produced for the Future You Program, an Australian government initiative exploring the world of STEM careers, which I'm leading, and I'm here to talk to you about today.

[Screen reads ‘futureyouaustralia.com’.]

Now you can find out more about the program at futureyouaustralia.com.

[Screen shows the landing page of futureyouaustralia.com with illustrated versions of 4 women dressed in a rang of outfits representing STEM careers. Below this image it reads ‘See you in the future’. The screen shows a scroll down the page to reveal more of the website.]

The aim of Future You is to ask Australian kids to imagine themselves in the future and to find their Future You in the STEM sector. And we're doing this by presenting the stories of the Pathfinders,

[Screen shows Renee flying an aircraft.]

our high flyer Renee,

[Screen shows Phoebe holding an echidna.]

protector Phoebe,

[Screen shows Louise in a workshop.]

fixer Louise

[Screen shows Mikaela wearing animal skins and jewellery.]

and storyteller Mikaela,

[Screen stops scrolling through the webpage to zoom into a section titled ‘Imagining the future’ with a photograph of 5 people. Screen continues to scroll down the page.]

and also through our thrilling STEM drama podcast, Imagining the Future, five STEM inspired short stories written by Australia's leading writers for young people and read by some of the country's most exciting emerging actors. Here's a clip from episode one of Imagining the Future. To give you an idea.

Speaker 3:

[Screen reads ‘Far out! By Lili Wilkinson’. The following text is superimposed onto the screen as the speaker reads it. Screen shows an image of a nebula.]

I've heard about this part and I've watched heaps of videos and done VR Sims of it. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, and I've been on high speed planes before. I know that swooping sensation when a plane takes off where your stomach kind of feels like it's been left behind and your bum goes all tingly, this feels nothing like that. An olden days' astronaut once said that lift-off was essentially the same as getting strapped to an exploding bomb. He wasn't wrong. I feel like I've been punched by a giant fist and we're shooting up and up and up into the sky. The engines are so loud I can't hear anything else except for the very faint strains of galaxy vibes coming from Hatfield. The space plane is shaking and shuddering. I'm afraid it's going to break apart, and we're all going to plummet back down to the ground in bits. I glance over at Cosmo who has his eyes screwed shut. I feel so heavy like I'm being buried alive under wet sand. I can barely breathe.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

[Screen shows Lisa.]

Okay, you can breathe again now. Now the Pathfinder films and the Imagining the Future stories have been developed together with some fantastic graphic arts jokes, competitions, music, and even dance to spark kids' curiosity, their excitement, engagement, and creativity in this exploration of STEM. By using the different media and art forms, we're inviting kids of all intelligence backgrounds and interests entry into this vital STEM conversation.

[Screen shows the futureyouaustralia.com website ‘Teachers’ section, showing a variety of learning resources available.]

At the same time, Future You has been devised specifically to support teachers, parents and families in helping children understand the wide range of careers available in the STEM sector and the many varied pathways there are to reach that goal. A suite of classroom and careers resources accompany the films and stories to make the job of inspiring kids with a dream of a STEM career all the easier.

[Screen shows Lisa.]

I come from a long family line of educators, so I know the crucial role that you play in shaping young people's lives and through them the future of Australia.

Now every day you support the understanding of the world and guide their aspirations, and I know how packed those days can be. But your role in nurturing children's interest in STEM has never ever been more important than it is today. Because our world is at a crossroads with conflicts, the COVID pandemic and Climate Change, we're creating a perfect storm with events like fires, floods, droughts, refugee crises, food, power and water shortages. All of this stuff's having a huge impact on our world.

So before we look at Future You in detail, let's reflect for a moment on the importance of STEM in addressing these global challenges. Now, during the pandemic, STEM has already saved an estimated 20 million lives each and every year through the COVID vaccine program, a staggering achievement for humanity. And it's people with STEM skills who are going to create the technologies that provide clean renewable energy and efficient electrical storage to take us to net zero.

It'll be people with STEM skills who will create the systems to capture and store carbon to prevent the acceleration of global heating. And it will definitely be people with STEM skills who provide accurate modelling of our global environment to guide future government policies. Now, young people in our schools are very much aware of these challenges and they're highly motivated to be part of the solutions. So how do we guide them towards careers that enable them to contribute to these world changing solutions? It's really important that we show them role models to inspire them to make a difference and provide great STEM learning experiences that are cross curricular, collaborative, and most importantly, relevant to young people's lives. There is a huge world of opportunity for every child in Australia, and it's vital that our children understand this now so that our future workforce is ready for the very serious challenges ahead.

As Australia's women in STEM Ambassador, I talk a lot about the importance of encouraging girls to consider STEM fields.

[Screen shows a photograph of a group of young women.]

Now women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce in Australia currently. And although we are increasing the numbers of women working in STEM year on year, this change has been very gradual. And at the current rate, it will take us many decades to reach parity, and that's not good enough. It's so important for us to consider the other barriers experienced by people with a disability, gender diverse children, and those with socioeconomic or language barriers.

[Screen shows a series of shots of women in high-vis vests and hard-hats reading ‘Western Sydney Airport’ and ‘Multiplex’, on a large construction site.]

Engineering, for example, is a field that's incredibly important to our society, but only 11% of engineers working in Australia are women. Engineers create new technologies, systems and infrastructure that shape our world. They secure our online banking systems, create transport and communication networks, and maintain our water services, dams and flood levies.

[Screen shows groups of people in protective clothing working on machinery. Screen then shows a series of shots of Louise repairing large engine parts.]

They're now creating the renewable power infrastructure that will help us to combat climate change. So why does Australia import more than 50% of our engineers from overseas? And why are young people in Australia not choosing a path in engineering, especially women? Recent research by Engineers Australia found that most young people have never considered engineering as a career because they're simply not familiar with it. Students don't understand the options available to them, nor are they familiar with the different types of engineering. Girls perceive engineering as male dominated and challenging and believe that they don't just have to be good at science and maths, but to excel in these subjects to succeed.

[Screen shows Lisa.]

But it's not just girls who feel that STEM is not the place for them. Damaging stereotypes, negative perceptions and other obstacles are holding many children back from following a career pathway into STEM. So what can schools do to support student understanding of relevant STEM pathways?

Well, we can help children to develop a growth mindset when learning STEM and motivate them with projects that produce clear benefits to society so they can see why STEM is important. School visits by STEM professionals from a range of backgrounds and experiences have a positive effect on a child's impression of STEM as a future career. And equally, the presentation of role models both real life and importantly through fiction, can have a significant positive impact on perceptions of the STEM sector and who has a place in it. And this is where Future You, the pathfinders and the stars of our Imagining the Future short stories come in. Now might be a good time to hit pause and jump onto our website at futureyouaustralia.com to get a feel for the project.

Renee Wootton:

[Screen reads ‘Pathfinders’. Screen shows Renee and reads ‘Renee Wootton, Aerospace Engineer’.]

When I was 15, I didn't really have much direction, and then I moved to a new town and I saw an advertisement to join the local Air Force Cadets program where you could go off and learn to become an aircraft mechanic or go and speak with and network with fighter pilots and engineers.

[Screen shows Renee operating an aircraft.]

And so all of a sudden I just got these incredible opportunities like meeting people that I really looked up to. It was exciting, it was rewarding. I learned a lot, and I just wanted to keep learning more.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

[Screen shows Lisa.]

Pathfinders is an ongoing series of film portraits of people working in STEM, and we not only profile fascinating women working in STEM, but we also learn about the path they took to arrive at where they are today. The aim is to present relatable role models and provide practical advice to kids, families, and educators about how to nurture their interests. Now in each film you'll be finding out about how the pathfinders began their career journey, how they developed interests that led them to what they're doing today and how they found their passion. Then we provide advice on the practical steps you can take to develop and encourage that interest.

[Screen shows Mikaela wearing a VR headset and playing with a simulated bird. Screen then shows Mikaela in the bush.]

In Series one, along with Renee, you'll be meeting Mikaela who uses digital technology to tell traditional stories and whose CEO of her own company.

[Screen shows Phoebe in the zoo with a Bilby and looking out onto the surf at the beach. Screen shows a shark underwater.]

Phoebe, who works in conservation at Taronga Zoo and is one of the country's leading experts on sharks.

[Screen shows Louise opening the bonnet of a large truck. Screen shows two people on motorbikes. Screen also shows Mikaela walking amongst trees, Renee inside a cockpit, and Phoebe underwater in a diving suit.]

And you'll be meeting Louise, who's a heavy vehicle mechanic and trainer, but you'll also discover much more about them too. Like the fact that Louise loves to ride motorbikes and that Mikaela's love and understanding of country began with the planting of a tree. You'll find out what Renee can and can't do, and that Phoebe loves nothing better than swimming with sharks.

[Screen shows Lisa.]

So how can you use these films?

[Screen shows the futureyouaustralia.com ‘watch’ section. Screen then reads ‘Pathfinders’ and shows a series of shots of someone driving a car and walking on a beach.]

Well, the films come in two versions, which you can find on our website and YouTube channel, and it's really up to you which format you go for. Firstly, there's what we call the core film. This is just the film. Now, this can be watched or enjoyed for itself,

[Screen shows the website again but focuses on the teacher resources.]

but we've also produced a range of resources and activities to help you support the understanding of the film and to extend the conversation around its themes.

[Screen reads ‘Pathfinders, in depth’ and shows a split screen with the 4 women in STEM mentioned in the video. Screen also shows other videos available on the website and then shows 2 people with Future You shirts on, reading ‘Gen Papadopolous’ and ‘Callan Colley’.]

There's also the in-depth version, which is for individual learners, but also for teachers who may not have as much time in the school day for the range of activities the core film can involve. In the in-depth approach, the films are presented by our hosts, Gen Papadopoulos and Callan Colley, who introduce the subject and the STEM area and discuss some of the ideas the film will explore.

Gen Papadopoulos:

[Screen shows Gen and then cuts to Mikaela walking in the bush.]

We have an expert guide to help us along the way because today's Pathfinder, Mikaela, started her working life as a park ranger.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

They then come back after the film to discuss the content and to present some questions for students to consider whilst also encouraging them to find out more.

[Screen shows Lisa.]

Then there are the Pathfinders challenges. This is a way to engage with Future You directly by responding to a range of creative challenges we set inspired by the content of the films.

[Screen shows a section on the website titled ‘Fixer Challenge’. Screen then cuts to a satellite image of the Earth and screen reads ‘Highflyer challenge.’]

These challenges can either be presented to the class using the film prompts featuring Gen and Callan on the site, or you can download the script and present the challenge yourself.

Callan Colley:

[Screen shows Callan.]

So imagine you are in the future and you are an engineer and you need to design a spacecraft, but this is a very special spacecraft because it's a spacecraft to tidy up space.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

[Screen shows posters of jokes available on the website. Screen shows Gen and Callan.]

Finally, linked to the STEM sectors featured in the films are the Pathfinders funnies, downloadable posters featuring the best and the worst STEM jokes we can think of. And we're also happy to get more suggestions. And again, there are prizes to be won. Can you or your students do better than this?

Gen Papadopoulos:

What do you say if you want to start a fight in space? Come at me, bro.

Callan Colley:

Okay. Why wasn't the astronaut hungry as they left earth atmosphere? Because they'd already had a big launch.

Lisa Harvey-Smith:

Oh. So that's the pathfinders, and we are currently working on series two with our subjects, including an expert on edible bugs and one of Google's top IT architects who loves skateboarding.

[Screen reads ‘Imagining the future’.]

Imagining the Future is our new STEM fiction strand, which will take children into the future and out to the farthest reaches of space.

[Screen shows a photograph of 5 people who are transformed into an illustration, sitting inside an aircraft in space. Screen then shows these same people sitting at a table with laptops, talking with eachother.]

Lili Wilkinson, Rebecca Lim, Gary Lonesborough, Melissa Keel, and Alison Evans are five of Australia's leading writers of fiction for young people. And we are thrilled to have worked with them to develop Imagining the Future, a series of interlinked STEM inspired stories set in the future, which chart the development of humanity's first deep space outpost on Callisto, the second largest moon of Jupiter.

[Screen shows illustrations of people in space.]

The stories feature diverse young protagonists, grappling with future technological, ecological, and societal problems, and who use STEM thinking to come up with solutions. A rocket ship hit by space debris, a failing life support system, a crucial mineral shortage, an outbreak of sickness in a remote settlement, and a mysterious signal. These are the challenges that our fantastic young characters wrestle with and save the day through quick thinking, friendship and family ties. And with the help of a dancing robotic frog whose theme song is destined to echo through your school corridors and in your dreams.

[Screen shows resources on the website.]

These stories are available to download as texts, but also as podcasts read by brilliant young Australian actors with an incredible soundscape and a beautiful soundtrack with the irresistible galaxy vibes as part of that. And there's even a downloadable guide on how to dance it.

Again, just like Pathfinders, Imagining the Future is an accompanied by a range of downloadable resources which explore both the story and the STEM sector that features in the episode, be it space travel, robotics, mineral resources, recycling or communications.

[Screen shows Lisa.]

Imagining the Future shows how Future You takes cross-curricular approach to STEM with stories to appeal to multiple intelligences, whilst also allowing teachers to plan activities across subject areas and over semesters. We'd encourage you to talk to your literacy colleagues, your school principals and librarians about how these activities can be integrated to get your whole school imagining the future.

So that's Future You. We really hope you find these resources useful and that children everywhere are inspired by the role models and the stories we are introducing them to.

[Screen reads ‘futureyouaustralia.com’ and ‘See you in the future’.]

We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, so do get in touch via the Future You website and let us know how it's working for you. We can't wait to hear what you think of them and how your students respond, and I can't wait to see you in the future.

[Screen reads ‘Future you’, ‘An Australian Government Initiative’, ‘Women in STEM Ambassador’.]

[Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]   

[End of transcript.]

Catherine Ball – The Scientific Futurist

In this talk, Dr Catherine Ball reveals the growing opportunities for Gen Alpha in geospatial surveying of the Moon, Mars and the Metaverse. (25:39)

Catherine Ball – The Scientific Futurist

(Duration: 25 minutes 39 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM 2021 on demand. Educating for a rapidly changing world’

Screen reads, ‘Keynote speaker. Dr Catherine Ball. Education for a rapidly changing world’ with accompanying head shot. This image fades and Dr Catherine Ball appears on screen in front of a rich blue background.]

Dr Catherine Ball:

Hi there. My name is Dr Catherine Ball, and today I am going to take you on a journey into the future, which can seem a scary place, but all right, keep your arms inside the car at all times, we're going to have some fun.

Now, one of the things we know about the future is that it's going to be fuelled by purpose. In Australia, the idea of the fifth industrial revolution is going to mean that everything that we've learned about technology so far is going to have purpose built into the business models that allow that technology to thrive. And so if we reverse engineer the future and get back to where we are now and the kids that we're teaching about STEM, science, technology, engineering, and maths, what would they need to learn at school in order for them to be able to thrive in this future that is powered by purpose and supported by technology and dealing with ethical questions that we probably haven't even conceived of fully yet? And I guess the answer to that is, it takes grit and tenacity. It takes ingenuity and perseverance.

My name is Dr Catherine Ball, and some people call me the scientific futurist, but I know that the future isn't just on planet earth, but I also know that the future of planet earth really depends upon the decisions that we make in the next 10 years. So when we look at Ingenuity and Perseverance, they're two words that I always loved anyway and then a few weeks ago they landed Perseverance and Ingenuity on Mars.

[Screen reads. Ingenuity and Perseverance’. Screen shows an image of the Mars Rover. On the body of the Mars Rover are the words, ‘Mars 2020’ and ‘Perseverance’. Screen returns to Dr Catherine Ball in front of a rich blue background.]

And so these kinds of project-led learning examples are great ways to show kids why they should care about maths, why they should care about technology, why they should care about how to engineer the present and the future, and also why they need to understand how to think scientifically.

And so the Perseverance Rover, in all its glory, is pretty fabulous, but I'm a drone person. So let's just put that to one side, the Ingenuity drone, which has been lovingly nicknamed Ginny by the Jet Propulsion Lab at NASA, is there purely as a tech demonstration. So these aircraft have flown, this aircraft rather, has flown all the way to Mars and it's there to do just five missions. And those five missions are all about tech demonstration. How to fly in a Martian atmosphere that no human being has ever experienced. What a great conversation to have, not only in the classroom, but also at home around the dinner table. How do you even start to think about designing a drone that would fly in a Martian atmosphere? Well, the answer to a lot of really great drone technology is actually to look to inspiration from mother nature. Bio-inspired engineering is pushing the envelope on how we find these convergent technologies working in ways that we could have only dared hope they might work.

So the thing about Ginny, or Ingenuity, is that she has a coaxial-contra rotating set of rotor systems. That means the rotor on the top goes one way and the rotor on the bottom goes the other way. And I don't quite think I can quite do that, it's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. But the reason why she has that as her rotor system is because we know from mother nature that the ways bees and birds flap their wings work in a four-dimensional model. And it was only about 10 or 15 years ago that DARPA designed hummingbird drones that could fly in four dimensions to get through little windows and little spaces as surveillance drones. So there are hummingbird drones. I am yet to see, and I really want to see some butterfly drones, but we're not there yet. And maybe that's a project you could use in the classroom.

But the beauty of actually having these tech pieces on a different planet allow us to inspire kids through real-world examples, that you can reach for other planets. And so some people sometimes say to me, ‘Well, what about planet earth? We're in trouble here. We've got things that are going wrong. Really, should we be spending all this money looking at another planet when this is the only one we know we can live on and we need to protect it? ‘ And my answer to that always is, ‘If we didn't have people looking to the stars and looking to other planets trying to understand the fundamentals of our universe and how we can grow and thrive in other places as humans, then all of the technology that gets created along that pipeline, all of the ideas that happen when you think big and how they can be used on planet earth, well we wouldn't have them. ‘

And so it's one of the quotes from Einstein that I'm sure I misquote all the time, but he once said that, ‘Education is not just the learning of repetition of facts, but it's actually about training the mind to think. ‘ And this is where, as a board director, I sit here as one of 3% of Australians that are on boards that have STEM skills. Only 3% of Australian company directors have STEM skills. And this is a massive problem because we need to have people in our businesses and on our boards that can think like a scientist, that can formulate arguments, counter arguments can pull their own arguments and ideas apart, that can be unafraid to ask stupid questions, that can change how they believe things might be based on the evidence in front of them. Those are the kinds of trainings of the mind that something like a PhD will give you, certainly something like a STEM degree qualification will give you. The ability to take apart the system that you're operating in to try and improve it is key and fundamental to how engineers and scientists think.

So when we look at training the mind to think, we think about human minds, we think about the minds of the children in the classroom that you might be teaching, or maybe the family that you're raising. But here's where I'd like to throw something at you and here's a little exercise that you can do at home, or maybe if you're bored one day around the Christmas dinner table, it's a bit boring and you want to start an interesting conversation, I'm going to throw this one at you. So here it is, an alien, a friendly alien, you don't need to be worried, an alien lands in your living room and the alien only wants you to do one thing to help it with this one issue that it needs help with. It needs you to describe a cat. It needs to understand what a cat is.

Now, how do you even start to describe what a cat is to an alien? Maybe a bit of interpretive dance. Maybe you make sounds like a cat. Maybe you try and behave like cat if you're a bit of a thespian, get into the art of it. Maybe you draw it, get into the art of it. Maybe you look at CAD designing it. Maybe you look at describing it. Maybe you use poetry. Maybe you sing a song about cats. Maybe you go to the best resource on cats that exists on planet earth, which is YouTube and you find some cat videos to explain to the alien what a cat is.

But if I changed the word alien and use the expression artificial intelligence, then you would be sitting at the forefront of some of the hardest work that we're having to do as humans around how we train artificial intelligence and how we enable machine learning and deep, deep intelligence inside some of these systems.

[Screen reads, ‘Whose mind are you training’. Screen shows an image of a human face with shoulders, neck and cranium made of metal chains and mesh, making the person appear non-human. Screen returns to Dr Catherine Ball in front of a rich blue background.]

The way we train these systems is not about limitations around its technology, it's sometimes limitations around our communication skills.

Someone said to me the other day is we need to put the A into STEAM, we need to get the arts. Now, why would that be important? Now, coding is great. Coding is something I think all kids should learn to do, but, and it might be a bit controversial here, for me coding is like teaching a language. Coding should be taught in a language classroom. It's all about lexicon. It's all about grammar. It's all about the systems that you're trying to describe or disclose or work with. And so I speak a number of languages and I also code and I found coding came very easily to me, because I had a good language background.

So this is one of the things that we've got kids that might have English as a second language, or might speak a number of different languages at home, they are the kids that are actually going to be really good at coding. And so there's something you can say to them that then obviously will have potentially an innate capability of doing is picking up another language if they already speak more than one. I find that quite exciting. So instead of creating coders, we need to create Shakespeare's. We need to create people who can maybe use interpretive dance to train AI as to what a cat is. The AI going forwards will be writing our code for us, but how do we tell AI what we want it to do?

Now there's a fundamental aspect around the business of artificial intelligence at the moment and it might be something I'd like you to take away from this talk today, other than the idea of interpretive dance around what a cat is, but explainable AI is becoming a legal phenomenon that's already hitting a number of business sectors across the US. So if you have any kind of health insurance in the US and there's an algorithm, there's a computer that's programming what kinds of things you'll get cover for, what your premiums should be, what your pay outs would be, what limitations they might want on your policies, they are all created by a computer program which is effectively run on artificial intelligence. And so how does someone make a decision about whether or not you're insurable or whether or not you're not?

And so people are saying, ‘I want to see, why did the computer say no. Tell me, how did this come to this conclusion? I need to understand this because I don't agree with what it is that you've done. ‘And henceforth, we have this thing called explainable AI. So it takes that black box of the algorithms, the machine learning, the artificial intelligence that is creating this computer says yes or computer says no, and it has to break it up in a way that we as laypeople or non-coding people could actually read the decisions and the gateways that are being made, which are either letting you through or stopping you from being insured by their medical insurance.

Now, this is a snowball that has started to roll down the hill and it's only going to get bigger and bigger. So being able to understand, articulate, disagree, and challenge with artificial intelligence based algorithms and computer saying yes or computer saying no is a key skill set that we will need as humans as we go forwards. There's everything in here, not only health insurance, but think about it around civil liberties, thinking around privacy, thinking around data, and then what we hand over to some of these big tech companies. But artificial intelligence is fundamental. If we can't get AI right, we might as well go home now because the data tsunamis and the data oceans that we're going to be dealing with in this big data society, they need artificial intelligence to be able to understand, to get the information from the data so that we are not drowning in data and starving for information.

AI will be our friends or our foes depending upon how we use it, what we allow it to do, and how much we actually understand how it is working. This is all about cybernetics. This is all about systems. This is all about seeing that the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts. Now this might seem overwhelming, but this is key to Australia's economic future. And as I stand here in front of you as a board director with STEM skills and STEM training, I am one of only 3% of board directors in Australia that have some kind of STEM background.

Now, one of the messages that I don't hear very often in the STEM world is that when you have STEM skills or STEM qualifications, you can get a job that is actually incredibly well-paid. Now, I don't know if, and I think there probably is a difference broadly across how girls and boys might differ in how they accept the idea of a job and money coming in because of the way women have been typically underpaid, the way we have a gender pay gap and our values of why we care about why we do things, there's a skew that goes wrong somewhere which means this isn't an equal conversation, but I think it's a necessary one that we should recognize that STEM economics is key to the success, not only of Australia's economy, but our personal economies too.

[Screen reads, ‘STEM economics’. Screen shows an image of Elon Musk standing in front of a futuristic car with a cracked windscreen. Screen returns to Dr Catherine Ball in front of a rich blue background.]

So you might find a kid in the classroom is completely disenfranchised and has no interest in STEM, but if you could show them what it is that Mark Zuckerberg makes in a year, and he was a STEM dude on campus creating software to connect up with single ladies on campus, and now look at him, look where he is now. If you look at the large tech companies and how some of these, we haven't even really grasped the capabilities of some of these technologies. In order to have a really exciting career, STEM subjects are a great place to go. In order to get really well paid, STEM subjects are a place to go.

There's currently a gap, and it bothers me, I call it the gaping jaw of defeat gap. And what it means is when we go into PhD level, we're pretty much 50/50 in terms of the gender representation at different levels. So PhD students tend to be around 50/50. By the time you get to senior professorial, you're fewer than 15% women. Now, that means that all those really high paid positions are not being held by women. They're being held by men. And there's an economic disparity around this that I feel like maybe I'm not explaining it particularly perfectly, but it's an interesting conversation, I'd love to engage with you further about this.

How do we use the economic value of STEM jobs and the capability to earn a really great salary and have a really great career and not to be afraid about making money? Because money gives you choice and allows you to make decisions about where you live and how you live and what you've experienced in your lifetime. And I think that that's something that we should be okay to be aspiring towards and it's something that we should recognize that STEM subjects actually do help us get to, especially as women.

Now, I'll take a pause on that there, because I feel like this is a conversation that is only just really starting. And like I said, I'd love to engage with you about what you think that might mean, but STEM economics, the idea of a degree program like a STEM MBA, these are conversations that we're only really just seeing data and information around. And so I'd really love to, yeah, get your thoughts on that.

But I'm going to take you now a little bit into the future. And so if we look at the idea that diversity and inclusion are the same side of a coin to innovation and the more we go up through the global innovation ranks, the more we go up through our diversity and inclusion ranks, there's a relationship between how diverse a company is as to how successful that company is and how much money that company makes. These are undeniable, irrefutable case studies and pieces of research that have been done over decades. And so if I said to you, here's a number of companies. What is the one metric that you might want to use to choose that company over another? Well, for me, what that company is trying to do ethically, morally of course, is one thing, but the other thing I look for then is the culture and that diversity of thought.

And so it's companies that have a really diverse perspective around the table that are ones that are more likely to weather the storm. They're more likely to create new technologies. They're more likely to have a more diverse application to their technologies. And when we look at orphan technologies and orphan drugs and ways in which start-ups have failed, 95% of start-ups fail because they have no valid business model. It's like, we need to understand the capability of technology, maybe that piece of technology needs to meet that piece of technology and it becomes a convergent technology. And that is where the future lies. The deep silos and the deep tech is really important, but it's when you cross-pollinate innovation, when you actually take, for example, who'd have thought it on your smartphone, you've got a calendar, a calculator, an address book, a photo album, and the ability to see somebody's face through that screen in ways that our parents' generation would never have even believed that that was possible.

And so over the horizon is convergent technology, is systems, whole systems-led thinking. It's looking at engineering the future. It's looking at cybernetics. It's looking at human bionics.

[Screen reads, ‘Over the horizon’. Screen shows half of a world globe in the bottom half of the screen. The globe and sky are coloured dark blue with light blue lights dotting the continents and stretching to form lines, travelling upwards into the sky amongst light blue dots. Screen returns to Dr Catherine Ball in front of a rich blue background.]

Robots are not something that will be sat over in the corner, robots will be inside us. We'll have smart braces for seeing dogs. We'll have smart apartments that we live in that if we fall over and we don't get off the floor for five minutes, an alarm will go off to get someone to come and help you get up off the floor. We'll have artificial intelligence that works out whether you're happy or not, or whether you're a terrorist or not.

And with all of that comes legal and ethical and moral and societal issues. I don't want to use the word problems. I was just grasping for another word then. I don't want to use the word problems, opportunities. Okay. They give us opportunities to work out what we want in society. So there's this thing called Industry 5.0, and I talk about it quite a bit, but Industry 5.0, isn't new. RB Economics in Japan from a few years ago created Society 5.0. And the idea of that is that you take all of these technologies that we have, all of the ones that we can see coming over the horizon, and we put purpose in the middle of why they exist. And they are the reasons why technologies will make money is because they are purpose led and values driven, and they perform a social good.

Now, thinking about how we get enthused about this. I mean, I obviously imbibe geek chic. I have it with my espresso for breakfast. How do we bring people on the journey? When we talk about STEM subjects, how do we get kids enthused? How do we get their parents enthused? How do we get their grandparents enthused? How do we stay enthused when it's such a busy space? And I think culturally as Australians, we're very good at celebrating the wins when it comes to sports.

I suppose my closing thoughts on today is that we need to maybe start looking at society and how our culture celebrates sports and turning that into how we celebrate science and celebrate technology and celebrate engineering and celebrate maths and physics and Mars and Ingenuity and fighting cancer and saving the Great Barrier Reef and looking at ways to make sure that we live on a healthier, happier planet where there's nobody living in extreme poverty, where everyone has choice about how they might want to live their lives, where people are respected, where women's rights, trans rights, humans' rights, we all work in a place where we're given the opportunity to be ourselves and be our best selves.

[Screen reads, ‘Celebrating STEM like sports’. Screen shows a gold Nobel Prize medal on the left-hand side and an Olympic gold medal on the right-hand side. Screen returns to Dr Catherine Ball in front of a rich blue background.]

And so for me, I'm not sure that we're there yet, but there's an opportunity here, even in this conversation today, to start that, even if it's a conversation with yourself, how do we take some of the great scientific achievements that Australia has made and how do we turn them into the fabric of our society?

Not a lot of people outside of Australia actually know that it was Australian research that created wifi. Not a lot of people know that Australia pioneered the use of antibiotics in humans. Not a lot of people know people like Elizabeth Blackburn, who's one of our best scientists with a Nobel Prize and her work on telomeres might be a solution to aging and cancer. And the fact that telomeres are now so well known and understood in science, but they weren't at one point. And it's like, people in Australia might know who Kim Kardashian is, but do they know who Elizabeth Blackburn is? Because out of those two people, there's one, that's actually achieved something that's going to increase the longevity of good quality human life through her work. And that wasn't Kim Kardashian in my humble opinion.

And so I'm going to round up today by hopefully having dragged you to the future to bring you gently back into the arms of the present. And so how do we deal with education in a rapidly changing world?

[Screen reads, ‘Keynote speaker. Dr Catherine Ball. Education for a rapidly changing world’ with accompanying head shot. This image fades and Dr Catherine Ball appears on screen in front of a rich blue background.]

Well, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The thing that I wish for all of you as teachers and educators is to feel supported by industry and to feel supported by academia, to feel the geek chic love around how we want to support you with examples, how we want to support you with real life people, how we want to support you by taking part in events like this online where you're able to dip in and out of this information, reimbibe it whenever you need some refreshed thought around how you're going to deal with a classroom environment teaching robotics, about landing on Mars, but also looking after ourselves and looking after each other.

The next few years coming out of the pandemic are going to be tumultuous and they're going to be important and they're going to set the stage for how Australia is going to grow. One thing that I hope will be true is after every slow down, there's a bounce and it looks like the bounce is going to come fast and the bounce is going to be with us within the next 12 months. And when that happens, you'll see the lights flick back on in terms of our economy, and the lights flick back on in terms of some of the programs that have been halted and the research that's been halted because of the current coronavirus pandemic.

But I don't want to stop on the pandemic. I feel like no one really wants to stop on the pandemic. And so maybe I'll tell you this. One of my most endearing memories from when I was a young child was learning about famine in Africa. And you say, ‘Well, hang on a second. How is that an endearing memory? ‘But stay with me here. I remember watching the famine in Ethiopia unfold in the early 1980s. I was born in 1979. And I remember saying to my mum, ‘How on earth? Why? Why? How on earth could this happen? ‘And I couldn't grasp it as a kid. I really couldn't grasp the fact that we all had food and other people didn't. I didn't know what it was to be hungry like that.

And I think the big thing that happened to me around that time was that my mum then said to me, ‘Always look for the people who are helping. ‘So we then had the Live Aid concerts. We then had the Antipoverty Drives. And when we reached the year 2000 when I was at university, we had the Jubilee Campaign in the UK to wipe all debt from developing nations that was owed to all of the European banks and the big, large international banking systems, just wipe the debt, wipe it off, clear it off. And we did, in many ways.

And removing the risk of extreme starvation and extreme poverty has remained a fire in me. It's the idea that we are still not balanced. We are still not in a society where everyone has enough food to eat. These are things that are still shocking, but I still see the people that are helping. And I guess the key for me is getting involved in science, getting involved in environmental science, nearly getting into medicine was driven for this idea that you can't vaccinate against famine, that we need to work out how we can protect mother earth, how we can have harvests well into the future, how we can mitigate climate change, how we can reduce the risks to the poorest people on the planet from climate change, because they will be affected worse than those of us that live in wealthier societies.

And the moral compass that I have from some of those early memories to me, I hold them dear to my heart because I think they're part of the fabric of why I chose science as a pathway that I wanted to go down, because I saw the problem and I didn't like it. And therefore, something innately in me as a child wanted to do something about it. And I'm sure as teachers and educators, you see this reality in the kids that you teach in the classroom, you see this when people ask why. Why are these situations like this? And I guess if you don't like it, change it. And so get the skills that are required so you can get into a position where you can be sat around a board table, making decisions about how we operate our economy and how we work as a society. You get a job in academia and how you can push the edges of research. You become a teacher and you inspire those young minds to greatness. It really is a calling.

And my dearest aunt who passed away last March was a head teacher for many years. Teaching was in my blood. I almost fell into it, but I always had the utmost respect for my aunt because she cared so deeply about the children that she worked with. And I think there are thousands of kids across Coventry, where she was from where she made a huge difference in their lives, and they probably never got a chance to say thank you or recognize really what she did for them.

So from my heart and my memory of my Auntie Arlene, I want to say thank you all for the work that you do in raising the next generations of Australians. And if you would like to connect with me about anything I've talked about today, you can find me on LinkedIn and I'm sure Scott will share my details if you'd like to connect with me too. So thanks so much, enjoy the rest of this program, and I look forward to seeing you all in the flesh at some point in a post-pandemic future. Thanks so much.

[Screen reads, ‘SISP. An initiative of the NSW Department of Education’. Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]

[End of transcript.]

Computer Science Education week

Image: Kimberley Hall and Steve Smith

Google – adaptive learning, AI for everyone

Join us for a group lab session exploring Google’s adaptive learning technologies that are built for personalisation and collaboration. Explore Practice Sets, an AI driven feedback system and Screencast, our powerful Chromebook screencasting app with inbuilt text-to-video editing and automatic translation. We will give you space to get hands-on with our suite of tools that work together to transform teaching and learning, so that every student and educator can pursue their personal potential.

Watch 'Google – adaptive learning, AI for everyone' (44:54)

National Agriculture Day

Full STEAM ahead – Exploring STEM through agriculture

Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) is a national not for profit company, that assists teachers and schools with support for students to know more about where their food and fibre comes from and about the vast range of careers in agriculture. Agriculture encompasses food and fibre industries and is an excellent vehicle for teaching STEM. PIEFA has a number of programs and resources that support STEM in agriculture which are showcased in this video.

Watch 'Full STEAM ahead – Exploring STEM through agriculture' (7:54)

Image: Luciano Mesiti, Primary Industries Education Foundation

National STEM Day USA

Image: Kristine Luszczynski

The NRMA Future of Transport Challenge

The NRMA is proud to offer all high schools the opportunity to participate in the NRMA Future of Transport Challenge each year. The challenge is based around students developing design thinking principles to create a transport solution and presentation. The Challenge asks the leaders of tomorrow to imagine a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable future. Our curriculum-mapped STEM initiative invites students in years 7-10 to solve a real-world transport issue using design-thinking and pitch the idea to industry experts. It offers students a unique opportunity to explore problems, design solutions and learn entrepreneurial skills. This video gives teachers and school leaders an overview of the Challenge.

Watch 'The NRMA Future of Transport Challenge' (10:36)

Sydney Quantum Academy

The future of quantum technology is bright. In this video, the Sydney Quantum Academy shows teachers how to light a path to a career in quantum technologies for their students.

The era of the quantum computer is fast approaching, with approximately 3 times the positions available in quantum technology than university graduates. As the demand for quantum technologies grows, so does the need for people in the field. While many quantum experts come from the field of quantum physics, the need for quantum technologies means there are many jobs available across industries. There are hardware engineers building and operating the physical quantum bits, known as qubits. There are electronics engineers who are working on the electronics that interfaces with these qubits, along with mechanical engineers, and software engineers who are writing code for controlling the quantum computer.

Watch 'The Quantum Future' (19:57)

Image: Sydney Quantum Academy

National Design and Technology week

Image: Core Electronics

Core Electronics

In this case study, Core Electronics demonstrate the use of the NSW Department of Education’s iSTEM engineering design process that was used in the development of an interactive game incorporated into a conference badge. This video is a perfect resource to be used for the iSTEM Department Approved Elective or any course in which students are expected to solve complex problems. The accompanying iSTEM engineering design process poster shows the 8 phases also known as ‘the cogs’ that make up the process and is a great resource to hang up in a Technology classroom. On the departments iSTEM website you can also download the handy guide which breaks down the different phases into key questions and possible activities.

Watch 'STEM 2022 – Core Electronics' (10:07)

International Day of the Girl

Academy for Enterprising Girls

Academy for Enterprising Girls offer free resources that help teachers develop the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

One of these resources is Online Classroom – a one-stop-shop for teachers leading online entrepreneurial education in Australia. Teachers create virtual classrooms where they can view students’ progress through the Academy eLearning modules and give real-time feedback to students.

The system also provides educators with Teacher Tips and easy access to curriculum-aligned documentation. Developed by experienced STEM and Enterprise educators, all resources make it easy to deliver entrepreneurship education – in person or virtually. Sign up and get started today at Academy for Enterprising Girls

Watch 'Discover – The Academy for Enterprising Girls' (7:07)

Image: Laura Dawson

Space week

Image: Dr Christyl Johnson

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In her talk, Dr Christyl Johnson showcases the way NASAs space technologies are being used in consumer goods, to care for the environment, for public safety, in transportation, and across health and medicine. She also outlines NASAs plans for a future beyond Earth.
As NASA Goddard's Deputy Center Director for Technology and Research Investments, Dr. Johnson manages the Center's research and development portfolio, and is responsible for formulating the Center's future science and technology goals and leading an integrated program of investments aligned to meet those goals.

Watch 'Addressing the challenges of the future' (11:32)

To hear more about the exciting possibilities at Goddard Space Flight Center watch 'STEM 2021 - keynote address and Q&A session' (58:07)

Biodiversity month

Southern Cross University: a world beyond the classroom

Southern Cross University are engaging young minds through an education with real world applications and authentic experiences that link to industry, as they step into their future after school. Hear from Simone Blom, who is Associate Lecturer, Faculty of Education. She is joined by Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement), Southern Cross University along with Zane van den Berg, STEM Project Officer, Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence. Together they highlight the importance of building sustainable futures by delivering learning experiences, at school and university, that go beyond the classroom.

Watch 'Southern Cross University: a world beyond the classroom' (12:58)

Image: Simone Blom

Antarctic Week

Image: Dr Hannah Power

Australia's eastern edge: marine landslides and canyons

Did you know that the sea floor isn’t just flat and featureless? The landscape of the sea floor is amazing and is filled with canyons, mountains and all sorts of other interesting things. On the southeast Australian continental margin (SEACM) scientists have discovered giant underwater landslide scars. Dr Hannah Power has gone to sea to examine sediments and identify exactly how old these scars are!

Watch 'Australia's eastern edge: marine landslides and canyons' (03:30)


The Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911 was the world's first truly scientific expedition to the white continent, led by Douglas Mawson. The fragile wooden huts that Mawson's expedition constructed and used for two years as their main base are just one of six surviving huts from the heroic era of Antarctic exploration of 1898 to 1922. They are the birthplace of Australia's Antarctic heritage. The Mawson's Huts Foundation, established in 1997 to conserve these fragile buildings, has since undertaken 16 conservation expeditions to save them from being blown into the Southern Ocean.

Watch 'Antarctica' (15:01)

Image: Antarctica

Science week

Image: Future Space Program

Powerhouse Museum's Future Space program

As part of the Lang Walker Family Academy In-Schools Program, Powerhouse and Magnitude.i.o team up to take students on a mission to the International Space Station.
This innovative partnership delivers a world-class STEM program to students across Western Sydney. Students use NASA-inspired design thinking strategies to grow alfalfa seeds and monitor them in an ExoLab, in preparation for a real-life space mission on the international space station. Students will conduct ground trials, compare their seedlings and think about how we can one day take plants to Mars. Students will be connected to local and international experts to inspire them and further develop their thinking.

Watch 'Powerhouse Future Space' (08:09)

Blitzing biodiversity

Student citizen scientists and BioBlitzes are helping the environment by gathering Australia's biodiversity data.
Dr Judy Friedlander explains how schools can contribute to biodiversity data using a smart device, shine the spotlight on threatened species and build STEM knowledge. Showcased through National Biodiversity month and the B&B BioBlitz.

Watch 'Blitzing Biodiversity' (08:14)

Image: Blitzing biodiversity

Education week

Image: Emily Calandrelli

Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal

Emily Calandrelli is the host and co-executive producer of the hit Netflix series Emily’s Wonder Lab. She is also an accomplished writer and speaker on the topics of space exploration, scientific literacy, and equality. Her chapter book series, The Ada Lace Adventures, centers around an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology. Emily is an MIT engineer who frequently gives talks about the importance of science literacy, the benefits of space exploration, and the challenges for women in STEM careers. Through her work, she wants to make science relatable, easy to understand and more exciting today than ever before in history.

Watch 'Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal' (21:03)

Learn how to creatively communicate content using infographics with Adobe Express

Having the ability to create infographics is a great way for teachers to communicate important curriculum content and also a creative way for students to consolidate and display what they have learned. An easy and effective way to create infographics is with the new Adobe Express, a free program for all K-12 schools around the world.

Watch 'Making simple infographics with the new Adobe Express' (39:58)

Image: Dr Tim Kitchen

Launch week

Image: Joel Connolly – Blackbird

Unleash creativity in students

During this keynote Joel will share how and why Australia's leading VC firm, Blackbird, valued at $10b, is preparing to develop entrepreneurship and creativity in students nationally and how your students can get involved.

Watch 'Unleash creativity in students' (22:01)

Careers with STEM

Through CareerswithSTEM.com website and magazine, discover STEM + X, where ‘X’ is your students’ interest. Whatever a student's goals, there’s a STEM + X to match.
Heather Catchpole and Karen Taylor-Brown are co-founders of Refraction Media, a media company specialising in STEM. Refraction Media provides students and teachers with the popular magazine, Careers with STEM.

Watch 'Careers with STEM' (04:49)

Image: Heather Catchpole and Karen Taylor-Brown

More information

This web page will be progressively updated as the event continues.

Contact STEM@det.nsw.edu.au

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