University of Canberra launches innovative STEM learning drive

University of Canberra launches innovative STEM learning drive
The University of Canberra in collaboration with Samsung Electronics is to embark on an innovative technology-driven learning program designed to improve STEM literacy among young Australians.
The University's STEM Education Research Centre (SERC) will devote resources to the research and development of new practices in spatial-reasoning education and the use of new technologies.
According to Tom Lowrie, University of Canberra Centenary Professor and director of SERC, said the program aims to inspire young learners to master the latest technological devices, learn more about spatial reasoning and gain a better understanding of STEM concepts. The program will build on existing SERC work looking into the degree to which spatial skills impact STEM competence for young Australians.
Among SERC's aims will be to provide evidence of how spatial skills can help in improving mathematical achievement for disadvantaged students.
Two programs will be implemented to improve maths and science performance: one for primary school students and 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," said Lowrie.
"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 tablet.
"By using creative activities and innovative programs 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."
A priority of the program will be to work with disadvantaged communities, such as Indigenous and remotely based students in order to connect them with innovative learning practices.
"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."
Researchers intend to create an online community so learners can share knowledge and experiences, and collaborate with teachers nationwide on trial programs and establishing best practice.