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Neil

Neil Bramsen

Year of Award: 2013 Award State: New South Wales Education > Primary
Education > Secondary
Science > General
To study programs that successfully engage and enthuse primary and middle school students in MES (Maths, Engineering and Science) learning - USA, UK
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With the move in Australia to a new national curriculum from 2014 on and new syllabuses for key learning areas including maths and science, an exploration of schools and institutions effectively delivering MES (Maths, Engineering, Science) orSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) programs is opportune.

Increasingly we see inquiry or project-based learning identified as a key to student engagement and differentiated learning opportunities along with 21st century teaching and learning strategies such as communication, collaboration, and creativity. STEM programs provide an ideal entry point for schools and educators seeking to incorporate these skills and processes using an engaging subject matter. 1:1 devices, BYOD and integration of the right ICT tool at the right time are essential enablers for student success.

My own school, Mt Ousley Public School in Wollongong, NSW values all of the above and as such these big ideas for student success are reflected in our School Plan where Equity and Excellence and 21st Century Teaching and Learning are two of our strategic directions. 

The third, Leadership and Management is exemplified through the encouragement of staff such as myself to venture out into the global education world seeking to learn from, and share with fellow educators programs and strategies that not only benefit students but importantly build teacher capacity and professional learning in schools and their systems.

The nature of this report will be to provide an overview of projects and programs of interest at those institutions that generously hosted a visit, and provide some thoughts and comments on the structures, programs and philosophies that underpin the teaching and learning of STEM in them.

The acronyms in this area abound; STEM, MES, SEM, STEAM even a STREAM school in the US that focused on the R for religion! The importance is not so much the acronym or branding that a school identifies with but how are these essential learning areas valued, considered and the teaching and learning planned.

Look around the room you are in and imagine taking out every object that has some facet of science, technology, engineering or maths involved in its creation. There is little or nothing left….

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