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Catholic Education South Australia
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23 May 2024
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STEM Pilot launched in six Catholic schools across the state

CESA has partnered with the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) in an exciting Pilot aimed to empower teachers to teach STEM skills, increase student interest in technology-based career pathways, and support the future skilled-talent pipeline crucially needed for the South Australian resources sector and other essential industries.

Primary school students, in six Catholic schools across South Australia, will be learning new skills in automation and data science in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pilot program launched this week.

The partnership between CESA and SACOME will introduce the STEM Digital Technology Pilot to the following schools in collaboration with industry partners; BHP, Nyrstar, Hillgrove Resources, Fortescue and SIMEC Mining:

  • St Barbara’s Parish School, Roxby Downs
  • St Mark’s College, Port Pirie
  • St Francis de Sales College, Mt Barker
  • Caritas College, Port Augusta
  • Samaritan College, Whyalla
  • St Aloysius College, Adelaide

The pilot will engage students in fun, hands-on challenges demonstrating real-world application of fundamental digital technology skills in industries including the resources sector, defence, robotics, information technology and more.

It has been designed to align with the Australian Curriculum and will be rolled out to students from Reception to Year 6. The program is based on the highly successful ‘Digital Technologies Program’ implemented by The Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia (CMEWA) in over 70 schools in regional WA.

A co-designed initiative between curriculum experts GROK Academy, and industry subject matter experts from the mining and energy sector, each challenge aligns with Australian Curriculum outcomes for students. The content of the WA program has since been adapted and tailored to align with South Australian schools. The development and implementation of the STEM Digital Technology Pilot is fully funded by SACOME and industry partners and includes the provision of challenge kits and access to an online learning platform for schools and teachers.

Louise Murphy, Transition and Pathways Advisor at CESA said:

“The STEM Digital Technology Pilot is an exciting learning opportunity for students because it links STEM learning with future careers, which helps students see the relevance of the learning they do at school. Career exploration embedded within school STEM Digital Technology lessons allows students to know about a broad range of STEM careers in South Australia they can aspire to. Showing students how STEM learning at school links to real jobs in demand in South Australia will encourage more young people to pursue STEM careers.”

Rebecca Knol, CEO at SACOME said:

“SACOME is delighted to partner with Catholic Education South Australia to bring the STEM Digital Technology Pilot to schools across the State. Empowering our youth with STEM education is not just an investment in their future, it’s an investment in the future of our State – ensuring a pipeline of talent today, in industries and skills needed for tomorrow. We are looking forward to sharing feedback from educators and students with the South Australian Government, in the hope that they will join us in funding this program more broadly.”

Damian Smith, Principal, Caritas College in Port Augusta said:

“At Caritas College, we are excited to be part of the STEM Digital Technology Pilot. We recognise the importance of equipping and empowering our students with knowledge and skills in coding. By participating in the pilot, our students will benefit from lots of hands-on learning experiences that foster creativity, critical thinking, problem solving skills and build knowledge of STEM careers. Teachers are well supported through professional learning and have access to new and innovative resources to deliver high quality teaching and learning in digital technologies. The STEM Digital Technology Pilot aligns with our College’s commitment to providing a well-balanced curriculum and giving students the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in an ever changing world. We are grateful for being able to partner with SACOME, Fortescue and Catholic Education SA to engage students effectively and facilitate meaningful learning experiences that prepare them for the digital age.”

Rebecca Fahey, Principal at St Barbara’s Parish School, Roxby Downs said

“St Barbara's is excited to be participating in the STEM Digital Technology Pilot. We believe that this is a wonderful opportunity to engage students in learning that is connected to industry and will provide learning deeply connected to future career pathways. We want our students to explore careers, including the careers available in our region with employers like BHP. The Pilot provides access to high quality teaching and learning through the Grok platform which is important in supporting teachers to deliver a Digital Technologies program that engages and enhances learning opportunities for students.”

Photos: Teachers in all the pilot schools have been participating in workshops, joined by CESA Executive Director Dr Neil McGoran and SACOME CEO Rebecca Knol, and students have begun their learning journey. 

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