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From the Learning Leader — STEM

2021 has seen the introduction of Learning Leader roles. The main focus of these roles is to work with teachers on professional development and assist with the implementation of Unlocking Futures. Highlights of the year have included the privilege of working with individual teachers where they have shared their practices and passion for working with students, and running whole staff professional development including workshops on SEQTA and feedback practices. Teachers trialled and shared experiences of using different strategies for developing students’ skills for giving, receiving and using feedback to inform their learning. In the background our team has also established a website for teacher professional development to provide resources for strategies to help with implementing Unlocking Futures into our teaching practices. Looking forward we will continue to strengthen our mentoring role, continue to embed Unlocking Futures, and provide more opportunities for students to explore Unlocking Futures in the home environment. In 2022 we will welcome Colleen Porch to our team and farewell Daniel Wood. On behalf of our team I thank Daniel Wood for his warmth, enthusiasm and the ideas he has shared over this past year and wish him well in his new role as Senior School Leader.

STEM, viewed by many as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is more than the individual subjects. For me, STEM means using the connections and interactions between these disciplines to solve challenging problems and learn at a deeper level. Students working on real-life or make-believe problems are integrating skills and knowledge across different disciplines. This year students have had the opportunity to be involved in the BEBRAS competition which involves computational thinking and mathematical reasoning and Year 10 students entered the STEM challenge. In Semester 2, teachers from Design, Technology and Engineering and Digital Technologies, with the support of the Mathematics Faculty, introduced the “Drone Challenge”. For this extracurricular activity, students meet one or twice a week to use their programming, spatial reasoning and creative skills to solve individual or group challenges in an engaging environment. This has been an enjoyable activity that will continue to be developed in 2022. Making connections with other learning communities is an important part of developing STEM opportunities. Dialogue has started with Zhong Zheng Senior High School (ZZSHS) in Taipei. Recently, their senior students shared the launch of AI (artificial intelligence) projects. Some of our Year 9 Science students will also have an opportunity to collaborate with students from ZZSHS for an eye dissection practical.

2022 will be a year of building STEM connections within our school. We will continue to look for interdisciplinary competitions which complement the curriculum, grow the “Drone Challenge” and establish a maker space and STEM challenge in the Yangadlitya Centre - a space for the school community to come together to explore challenges. In the meantime, interested students might like to try the Wizard Challenge - click to view the riddle and have a go!

Roz Crossing
Learning Leader - STEM