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18 Dec 2018
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Spotlight on STEM Learning in Catholic schools

The inaugural CESA STEM Forum took place on Friday 30th of November at the Adelaide Convention Centre with more than 120 students, teachers, and leaders in attendance.

The thirty schools currently engaged in the 2018 – 19 CESA STEM University SA Network projects, showcased the first year of their learning journeys. The project schools shared their STEM inquires through static displays, filmed journeys and presentation workshops.

Dr Neil McGoran welcomed participants and spoke of the importance of interdisciplinary and innovative pedagogies. Masters of Ceremony, Education Changemakers, engaged all participants throughout the day in sharing their passions about education and learning. Keynote speaker, Flavia Tata Nardini, Rocket Scientist and Co-founder and CEO of Fleetspace provided an inspirational, thought-provoking presentation focused on scalable entrepreneurship and the impact of IoT (Internet of Things).

Professional Learning opportunities facilitated on the day by our CESA STEM partners were designed to extend, challenge and provoke action.

University of SA facilitated a workshop with leaders highlighting current STEM research and the need to support a whole school approach embedding Catholic pedagogical principles across the curriculum. Student survey data was reviewed, identifying patterns and trends in perceptions of engagement and career aspirations in STEM. Leaders identified future development and professional learning required for sustainability and growth of students engaging in STEM Subjects.

Education Changemakers, STEM: Getting to the root cause, led teachers through an exercise to identify and unpack problems schools are facing regarding STEM implementation. By utilising the “collective genius” of the room root causes were identified and solutions ideated.

The University of SA Connect to STEM workshop, engaged participants in a range of activities including clinical biology, electronic games, puzzling mathematics, coding and CAD. This session allowed all participants to work collaboratively as they engaged their creative and critical thinking to solve a variety of STEM problems.

Twelve schools presented their STEM learning journeys through 20 minute presentations in which they shared their project inquiries and reflected upon successes and future considerations. The presentations were highly visual in evidencing learning through photographs, video and artefacts.

The Forum also provided the platform for the launch of three CESA “What is STEM Learning?” videos with a focus on the Student, Teacher and Partnership experience and current understandings.

A highlight of the day was the interaction between participants and students as the students demonstrated the use of a variety of technology and design methodologies utilised in their learning through STEM projects. Through their demonstrations, students clearly articulated the application of the Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics disciplines and reflected on the importance of working collaboratively while using their critical and creative thinking to find solutions to real world problems.