2 November 2018
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are the most common disciplines linked to the STEM acronym within the school sector. As well as working scientifically, STEM involves students working mathematically, working digitally or technologically, and working like an engineer. STEM has come to mean the integration of these disciplines, either in any dyad, triad or ideally all four disciplines. In other words, the goal is to see students working in an integrative way.
There is general agreement about the importance of STEM education in Australia and reports cite the need for a workforce with STEM skills to drive economic prosperity and the contribution that STEM can make in solving the ‘problems’ of the world via science and technology.
Set against Australia’s desire for strong, comprehensive and equitable STEM education is evidence that our education systems are not up to the challenge. Recent results on international assessments show a continuing decline in performance by Australian students. While the curriculum is being modified in an attempt to address changes in STEM, including the introduction of a Technologies curriculum, there is concern that the Australian Curriculum is packaged in discrete disciplines and is not future-facing. In order to address this challenge, Avondale School Secondary Campus has undergone a restructure which will be implemented from the beginning of next year. From 2019, our Secondary Science, Technologies and Mathematics departments will amalgamate into a single STEM Hub. This new structure will support greater opportunities for integration of the STEM disciplines through both enquiry based learning and project based learning.
As a result of implementing the curriculum described above, we expect to see our students significantly more engaged in 21st century learning and a greater number of students selecting Stage 6 Science courses, Advanced Mathematics and Extension Mathematics courses.
Late last week our new Secondary School STEM Hub received the exciting news that we have been selected as one of the Partner Schools for the 2019 STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy program, run by Sydney University. This program will involve Avondale School partnering with the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy to further plan and develop Avondale School’s STEM program and involves our Secondary STEM teachers in research backed professional development and support from STEM Academy mentors. We are very excited about these changes and will gain input from parents and students as we embark on this new STEM initiative throughout 2019.
Secondary Mathematics Coordinator