Learning Technology Coordinator and Science/STEM teacher at St Mary’s High School, Gateshead, Newcastle. St Mary’s is a Year 7 -10 Catholic School that will be expanding to Stage 6 in 2018. He has been teaching at the school since 1994 and recently initiated iSTEM classes as a Stage 5 elective course. The implementation of this course has been extremely well supported by the Hunter ME Program. The aim of the course is to increase real-life problem solving, creativity, innovation and collaborative skills with a focus on increasing the uptake of higher order Science/Mathematics based subjects in later studies. The program has proven to be extremely popular and he is extremely proud of the outcomes being achieved. Inspired by the ‘Maker Guru’, Gary Stager, it has transformed his pedagogical approach to teaching. As a keen advocate for STEM education he has been fortunate to present at Dioceses throughout NSW and workshop how MaKey MaKey can transform learning in the classroom at the ELH ‘Changerous Ideas’ conference in Melbourne.
STEM concepts shape the world we live in. From the smartphones kids can’t put down, to the houses we live in, the cars we drive every day, the building blocks of STEM fuel our modern lives.
It can be tough for kids to learn the basics of programming, engineering and physics. Often these concepts are seen as scary and intimidating, it is important to find new tools/resources to get kids interested in a fun, exciting way.
STEM teacher’s cupboards are filling up with ‘toys’ that teach kids the basics, encouraging them to learn while they play; from simple vibrating Bristle Bots to fully programmable LEGO EV3 robots. These toys are so cool, kids don’t even realize they are learning- something often referred to as “stealth learning.”
To maximize the learning potential of toys, the best approach is to first teach the fundamental subject matter that is necessary in order to play, second, have the learner play and then third, extend the learner by reflecting upon the learning. But most importantly connecting the learning to the real world, making the outcomes explicit.