Science in the 21st century does not work in isolation and STEM X believes neither should science teachers.

As scientific inquiry becomes more collaborative, multidisciplinary and engaged with pressing real-world challenges, STEM X helps science teachers to connect their classrooms both to this broader framework of research activities and to each other. The outcome is a dynamic network that is sharing ideas, resources, experience, encouragement and engagement with innovative teaching tools that are relevant to the world of science today.

At the January 2016 workshop, it did not matter if teachers had been in the classroom one year or 20. Participants universally reported seizing opportunities to create new connections.

“Meeting professionals with hugely different backgrounds has been inspiring,” said Kim Nagel of Bourke-Walgett School of Distance Education, New South Wales. “The learning provided by STEM X has been valuable, but the connections I have made are precious too.”

For many, being connected creates a new sense of excitement about teaching, a greater trust in their tools and a deeper willingness to challenge their students with more innovative approaches to how they learn.

“I have gained a willingness to let students explore ideas and experiment for themselves, the way scientists do, rather than presenting concepts and asking the questions that I want answered,” said Rosie Watkins of Yankalilla Area School, South Australia.

“The students will absolutely love it,” said Tanya Riach of Condobolin High School, New South Wales, who teaches students with special needs. “Not only were we given materials to use for practical lessons by the staff at the Australian National University, we also have everybody’s contact details to help my school into the future.”