For a second year, the STEM unitED school program lead by innovative education provider Fire Tech Australia will continue to educate thousands of Western Australian students on the world of STEM.
STEM unitED focuses on introducing Year 9 students to STEM by bridging the gap between educational STEM and real-world disciplines through the use of robotics and drones.
The program is designed to promote careers in STEM and engage students through hands-on STEM learning. It has been created in collaboration with founding partners RUC, WA Mining Club and Platform Communications.
After successfully hitting its targets in 2019, the STEM unitED program is looking to introduce new tools for 2020 sessions. The DJI Robomaster Education Robot will be launched later this year and will be used as an alternative to drones.
The Robomaster will provide additional challenges for students as they learn how to code robots to navigate through mazes.
In its first year, STEM unitED ran sessions with thousands of WA students in 25 schools, with more than 200 sessions, and a female participation rate of 50 per cent.
The program aims to reach as many regions as many education districts as possible, with sessions being conducted from Immaculate Heart College, Lower Chittering, to Warnbro Community School and Roleystone Community College.
This year, STEM unitED is aiming to reach 7000 students across 250 sessions in 45 schools. Making the program reach more regional areas is also a priority for 2020.
The STEM unitED program survey found that only 30 percent of students are interested in studies in mining or METS, but 75 percent of future jobs will involve STEM.
The survey revealed that after the first session, 29 percent of students would like a job that involves science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
After the second session, 41 percent of students said they would like a career that involves STEM and 50 percent of students believed that STEM learning is good for the future of Australia.
Daniel Alkvoski Head of Science at Ballajura Community College thanked STEM unitED for the opportunity to join the program. “The students loved it and it has kicked off a great conversation about STEM and real-world applications,” he said.
Another coordinator said STEM unitED was “a far better, more relevant and educational experience for Year 9 students than any of the Scitech engagements in the past” and a third said “the students absolutely loved it”.
STEM UnitED will continue to strive toward greater regional involvement and will examine the potential for national growth. The aim is to reach 20,000 students across 50 schools and run 800 classroom sessions by 2021.
Companies and business leaders trying to ease the talent shortage in the mining industry should support the program. Expressions of interest can be made via the WA Mining Club’s website.