The STEM X Academy is a five-day residential program for primary and secondary teachers developed in partnership with Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, CSIRO and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA).
The program connects teachers with expert researchers and educators from the nation’s premiere science institutions to design, develop and implement their own STEM teaching resources.
CSIRO Education Director Mary Mulcahy says the Academy is responding to the need to improve teacher capability and student outcomes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“By partnering teachers with our scientists and STEM education experts, we’re enabling them to better understand and develop teaching tools that are relevant to the world of science today, and that can equip their students with the critical skill-sets that will be needed for jobs of the future,” she says.
Questacon Senior Manager Learning Jared Wilkins says the program is strongly geared towards the practical, with a focus on building teacher capacity to create their own lessons, rather than simply providing them with resources.
“The participants are challenged to be hands-on, learn by doing and then use their new knowledge and skills to create engaging new lessons.”
With only 70 places available, participants were carefully selected from each state and territory across the country - including from rural and remote schools where teacher professional development is difficult to access.
ASTA president Geoff Quinton says the interest has been encouraging.
“The fact that the STEM X Academy received nearly 400 applications for only 70 places, to a program held right in the middle of the summer holidays, demonstrates not only the high regard for CSIRO, Questacon and ASTA programs but also the willingness of teachers to give up their time to improve their practice.”