Core STEM X goals are providing facilities, resources, ideas, time and assistance for science teachers to explore novel ways to innovate their classroom practice. This approach includes hands-on sessions where the teacher becomes the innovator, guided by world-class staff and state-of-the-art facilities. Questacon’s Maker Space received particular praise during the 2016 workshop, especially for its support of inquiry-based learning. The experience is relevant across the spectrum of classrooms: from primary to secondary and even tertiary classrooms producing the next generation of science teachers in urban and rural settings, as well as in classrooms with low literacy rates or behavioural issues.
“I have been trying to implement inquiry-based approaches,” said early-career teacher Matt Ward of Ararat College, Victoria. “The workshop means I can do that much more effectively and with more of a research base.”
“I work with pre-service teachers, so getting them excited about real-world science through the context of STEM X is so powerful,” said Mary Rafter of the School of Education at the University of Queensland. “I have so many new and wonderful ideas I can take back and share.”
“The workshop provided a chance to think about how I teach and provided resources to shift to more inquiry-based learning,” said primary school teacher Rachael Lehr of West Beechboro Primary School, Western Australia.
Many participants reported a lift in confidence and excitement about guiding students to explore the discovery process, especially knowing their teaching is linked to cutting-edge science.
“This experience has improved my confidence and I feel I can transfer a lot more knowledge in a more confident manner to my students and help them to embrace science subjects a lot better,” said Bridget Blackburn of Ave Maria College, Melbourne.