A STEMpreneur showcase to be proud of

Students from Barramurra Public School in south-west Sydney shared their projects in an ABCN STEMpreneur showcase at nbn Australia in North Sydney in July and experienced nbn’s high-tech Discovery Centre.

For some students it was the first time they saw Sydney Harbour and the city skyline.

‘I had fun learning new things, helping others, and being helped by my friends. We learnt to project our voice and now I want to work here so I can show them how I do it,’ one student said.

STEMpreneur aims to equip primary school students with STEM skills such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. Students develop innovative tech solutions to local and community challenges and bring their idea to life through experimenting with technologies to create apps and other tech.

Running over four weeks, Year 5 and 6 students worked in groups to first engage with mentors about the tech industry, learn how to use new technology, such as Strikingly and Thunkable, and then craft their knowledge into a presentation that showed off their problem solution. The final session at the nbn office was the students’ first face-to-face meeting with their mentors and an opportunity to deliver their presentations.

From a tap-and-go canteen payment card to apps that solve traffic at school pick-up, students showed confidence answering questions from nbn mentors and collaborating on how to improve their prototypes such as the addition of security features and cross-app integration.

You can watch video here:

‘I’ve just been amazed, from talking about our ideas to actually seeing students come up and present them with confidence. Seeing them think through sophisticated problems was terrific and all of the students have done that really well,’ nbn mentor Mario Borrelli said.

One group, who named themselves Team Harvard, even created a mock-up website to showcase how a booking system would work online for coding and book clubs to encourage better usage of the school library. Website creation was beyond the scope of the technology initially used by students in the program and showed a huge proactivity and enthusiasm to engage.

‘Definitely the level of thinking outside the box has surprised me… just sitting back and letting them think and work as a group has been really inspiring,’ said Renee Meyers, Assistant Principal at Barramurra Public.

‘We’re a relatively new school with lots of new technology and this has shown us how we can better utilise it and upskill the rest of our students in looking at solving school and community problems.’’

Students noted the importance of maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly, and having fun as key points to take away for the future with one student excited to continue learning in hopes that one day he can create an app of his own (and ‘become a millionaire’).

At the end of the session, students explored the nbn Discovery Centre where they were able to interact with virtual reality technology and learn about the reach of the nbn network across Australia.

‘I feel it’s a really amazing experience for mentors as well because we go to them and get a really clear and innocent mindset and open thinking, so it is really rewarding for us, really helping us get a different perception,’ one nbn mentor said.

ABCN thanks nbn for generously funding this pilot program which is making a difference in the lives of many children.

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