Students leverage STEM skills for a brighter future
To get students excited about developing their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and combining learning with their hobbies and passions, this year, NBN Co teamed up with the Australian Business Community Network (ABCN) to offer the nbn™ STEM+X initiative.
Eight schools from across the country were selected to take part in the program, which aimed to give students real-life STEM experiences, culminating in a virtual learning competition: the nbn™ Futurists’ Fair.
Following three months of brainstorming, planning and hard work, the students have now brought their efforts to fruition, presenting their ideas to a panel of STEM advocates.
But, first, more on the initiative.
The nbn™ STEM+X initiative
Launching in February, the program saw students from eight schools across the country participate in hands-on STEM workshops designed to present an engaging introduction to the role STEM plays in many facets of everyday life.
The ‘X’ in ‘STEM+X’ stands for ‘experience’, which meant encouraging the participating students to relate their new STEM skills to their interests, hobbies and passions like fashion, music or sport.
The participating schools represented every state and territory, and included:
- Para Hills Primary School, Adelaide (SA)
- Canadian Lead Primary School, Ballarat (VIC)
- Islington Public School, Newcastle (NSW)
- Glenorchy Primary School, Hobart (TAS)
- Leanyer Primary, Darwin (NT)
- Invermay Primary School, Launceston (TAS)
- Townsville Central State School, Townsville (QLD)
- Beaconsfield Primary School, Perth (WA)
Following their STEM workshops, the students were tasked with developing an idea to help brighten the country or their community’s future by attempting to solve real-life challenges. They would then present their ideas at the nbn™ Futurists’ Fair to Kathrine Dyer, Chief Network Deployment Officer at NBN Co; Allegra Spender, Chief Executive Officer at ABCN; as well as Scott Gaunson and Brett Stanford from the YouTube channel How Ridiculous.
And on offer for the winning idea? A special school visit from How Ridiculous for a day of STEM-filled fun. (Each participating school would also score themselves a tech prize pack to help them develop their STEM education programs.)
Sharing ideas at the nbn™ Futurists’ Fair
On the day, students connected with the STEM advocates panel via videoconference to NBN Co’s Sydney headquarters.
Before the first session, Spender said, “We are so excited to see how the students are using STEM skills to pursue their passions and social issues they want to change, and hope they see the vital role it plays in addressing some of Australia’s biggest problems.”
And their problem-solving ideas didn’t disappoint.
Ideas presented by each school include an initiative to reduce the use of plastic on campus, a disaster-relief application, and equipment fundraising for underprivileged peers.
Para Hills Primary School
Canadian Lead Primary School
Islington Public School
Glenorchy Primary School
Invermay Primary School
Townsville Central State School
Beaconsfield Primary School
Now that they’ve shared their forward-thinking, STEM-based ideas with our panel of judges, the students are excitedly awaiting the final winner announcement.
“I was excited to see what the students came up with at the nbn™ Futurists’ Fair and they should all be commended for their hard work on the initiative. The students are really in tune with the issues facing their communities, and it’s great to see their passion in tackling them,” says NBN Co’s Dyer.
Stay tuned to the blog for updates on the winning idea.