There has been a lot of talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education for a future knowledge-based economy. But the both the classroom and work and life skills needed by today’s students have changed a lot in recent decades. The Limestone Coast Regional Science Hub brought together 750 teachers and leaders from south-eastern South Australia to up-skill the STEM education workforce.
Not so long ago, teaching involved ‘chalk and talk’ in a classroom. Whiteboard markers have replaced the chalk, and blackboards have made way for interactive digital whiteboards.
Inspiring South Australia’s Limestone Coast Regional Science Hub working with the Department for Education and Child Development saw the need for continuing professional development for teachers in the region, to equip them with the knowledge, skills, inspiration, and confidence needed to incorporate new technology and science into their lesson plans.
The result was the hugely successful Limestone Coast STEM Education Summit, held in Mount Gambier in May 2016. Organisers were hoping for 500 participants; they ended up with 750, including a visit and an address from Assistant Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham.
Following keynote addresses including science show fun with the ‘Surfing Scientist’ Ruben Meerman, participants could choose from dozens of workshops and masterclasses covering topics such as outdoor education, IT skills, mathematics, science education for early childhood, problem-based learning with fossils and rocks, 3D printing in the classroom, sports science, nature play, incorporating art and humanities into science teaching, and a vision of the future from demographer Bernard Salt.
The local Hub networks and Inspiring South Australia’s state and national links helped to bring together scientists and education researchers from around the state (and beyond), working with science and research agencies, industry and business and community organisations at the regional level.
Photo credit: Limestone Coast Regional Science Hub