The STEM X Academy is a teacher professional learning experience partnered by ASTA, Questacon and the CSIRO.
Australian Science Teachers Association
The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) is a federation of eight state and territory Science Teacher Associations and strives to support science teaching through the development of innovative, contemporary and relevant programs, products and services.
Our mission is to promote the science teaching profession to the wider Australian community and to enrich science teaching through creative initiatives in partnership with government, industry and business organisations. ASTA offers a number of professional development programs, resources and opportunities for all Australian science teachers. These include publications, national science education conferences, and resources such as SPECTRA — a national science award program for Year 1–10 students, as well as international professional development opportunities.
One flagship activity of professional development for the association is CONASTA, the annual conference of ASTA. The opportunity to convene CONASTA is rotated among the STAs. The CONASTA program typically provides a diversity of lectures, workshops and excursions, plus national and international keynote addresses of interest to the general and specific science educator. CONASTA is also the occasion for the ASTA Council to meet and conduct most of its annual business.
The other flagship activity is the production of the ASTA National Science Week Resource eBook. This contributes to raising awareness of the value and relevance of science, technology, engineering and innovation in our daily lives to all schools across Australia. ASTA develops, promotes and disseminates a range of interesting information, resources and incentives to make it possible for schools from the remotest parts of Australia to the metropolitan hubs to be involved in National Science Week.
Another major program of ASTA is the Science ASSIST program, which maintains a website that provides teachers of science, and the lab technicians who support them, with assistance in the teaching of science in Australian schools at both the secondary and primary levels.
Please refer to our website for more information: www.asta.edu.au
CSIRO is Australia’s national research agency and brings multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to solving the big challenges for Australia and the World.
Through CSIRO Education & Outreach, CSIRO has over 35 years’ experience developing and delivering K–12 education programs, programs for university students (e.g. preservice teachers) as well as teacher professional learning and community engagement. The team has a proven track record in managing large-scale education programs over decadal timeframes with ongoing commitment and investment from a range of funders.
- skilled educators in all capital cities plus Townsville and Newcastle to support schools, teachers and communities across the country;
- expertise in developing and delivering curriculum linked education programs for rural, regional and metropolitan schools and communities across Australia; and
- networks throughout Australia with teachers, teacher associations, education organisations (including museums and science centres) to deliver and support education programs.
Our programs are tied to CSIRO research providing relevance, context and inspiration for teachers, students and all Australians. For example, for the STEM X program we use the CSIRO Megatrends (https://www.csiro.au/en/Do-business/Futures/Reports/Our-Future-World) as the framework and inspiration for teachers to undertake an open-inquiry project. The teachers are also supported by CSIRO researchers while working on their project.
All of our education programs are regularly evaluated and for large programs research and evaluation frameworks are developed and embedded in the programs along with staff with social science research experience.
Working with Partners
CSIRO Education and Outreach programs have support (in-kind and cash) from industry and Commonwealth and State governments – we work with over 300 organisations every year. Some of those relationships have existed for decades.
We have the capability to tailor programs to suit the needs of our partners including the development or modification of programs to address specific scientific topics and needs to clients.
Please refer to our website for more information: www.csiro.au/en/Education
Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre –— is Australia’s leading science centre, offering a range of engaging and exciting experiences for students of all ages. Questacon has two facilities in Canberra — the iconic Centre in the Parliamentary Zone, and the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre in Deakin, adjacent to the Royal Australian Mint. These two facilities offer diverse experiences founded on Questacon’s philosophy of hands-on learning.
Questacon offers interactive workshops and activities developed especially for school students, to engage them in ideas, tools and creativity. These free workshops delivered at the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre engage students in Years 6–12 with technology through interactive learning experiences delivered within a specialized workspace. These two-hour workshops support STEM education with strong links to the Australian Curriculum and provide students with an in-depth exposure to the innovation process. Workshops include: 3D design, building and programming robots, building cranes and much more.
Questacon has delivered teacher workshops since the early 1990s, but in recent years we have strengthened our teacher programs to offer highly interactive and collaborative PD workshops that lean towards inquiry-based learning and creative problem solving.
Like Questacon’s name (‘quest’ meaning ‘to discover’ and ‘con’ meaning ‘to study’), our teacher workshops encourage exploration, discussion and physically testing ideas where possible. This approach often stimulates further questions, deeper curiosity and a new appreciation of how science concepts can be applied, rather than just theoretically ‘known’. www.questacon.edu.au