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Boost digital literacy in the classroom

Digital literacy means having the skills you need to live, learn and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through internet platforms, social media and mobile devices.

For many teachers and students, it is a minefield – which is why Perth-based education provider STEMSmart, previously Fire Tech Australia, is helping teachers navigate the largely unchartered terrain through a number of programs aimed to improve student digital literacy while upskilling teachers in the latest technology.

The company’s multi-faceted approach includes school incursions, co-curricular activities, after-school clubs and professional learning opportunities.

WA students still have a “long way to go’’ when it comes to digital literacy. In WA, only 54 per cent of Year 6s achieved a “proficient” benchmark last year which, despite being one per cent above the national average, was a five per cent fall on the state’s results in 2011.

The fifth cycle of the National Assessment program – Information Communication Technology Literacy released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in December 2018 – identified “an opportunity in Australia for student ICT literacy to improve”.

STEMSmart managing director Andrea Conte says the organisation teaches people of all ages how to become confident digital citizens, having run courses in more than 100 schools since it launched in 2016.

He says teachers who have engaged STEMSmart in the classroom and for their own digital education have reported greater confidence in delivering Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Arts programs – and desire to learn more.

“Our aim is to cultivate a stimulating environment for challenging design thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration skills – while having a whole lot of fun along the way,’’ Mr Conte said.

School Incursions

STEMSmart is the leading STEM+ education provider, delivering courses to more than 2500 students and teachers in schools across metropolitan and regional WA, run by tutors fully background checked with current WWC and NPC checks.

Professional Learning
PLs focus on improving STEM+ knowledge and practice in coding, robotics and DT curriculum implementation.

After School Clubs
STEMSmart After-School STEM+ extension clubs have a ratio of eight students per tutor in all sessions to ensure all children receive the support they need to excel.

Drop us a line to find out more or call 1300 347 383.

Coding the Future – Where to Start

'Everyone Can Code!' - Bunting Flags

Hi, I’m James, I’m 11 years old and I’m STEMSmart’s. previously Fire Tech Australia, junior blogger.

I’m going to be blogging on various topics. So without further ado, here’s my first topic: Coding – and how important it is… Seriously, think about it. This blog is thanks to coding; your device is thanks to coding and the future shall be thanks to coding (move over science).

Try imagining a world without coding. Light bulbs would be the only device you could get. No Google, no documents, no computers, no speakers and no phone calls (or phones!). I hate picturing this world. So here’s how to learn to code to prevent this horrible future and unlock infinite possibilities.

Scratch:
https://scratch.mit.edu

Scratch is a free online block-coding program for all ages. The system is pretty self-explanatory, you grab a block from one of the drag and drop menus then add more. If you’re stuck, I recommend one of the videos by scratch to get to grips with the program.

Khan Academy:
https://www.khanacademy.org/signup

Khan Academy requires an account for you and a parent/guardian, but is useful not only for coding, but so many other things like Maths and English. You can even get your teacher on board. With great explanation videos on YouTube it’s easy to learn anything.

CodeCademy:
www.codecademy.com

CodeCademy is a well known website for learning to code. You can get certified if you complete the main course. You can also use your skills to get a JOB. Talk about a result! It’s also just a fun and playful platform, which I personally love. And so easy to understand and learn!

STEMSmart:
bestemsmart.com.au

How could I not mention the incredible courses at STEMSmart? With an awesome 8:1 student/tutor ratio you get all the support you need. Having gone to a number of courses I personally know how friendly the atmosphere is. You can learn how to code in Minecraft, in ROBLOX and in C#. Mobile apps to video games to drones to Unity, learn it ALL!

After doing all of these things you have the ability to make ANYTHING. Literally. We have computers that are very powerful nowadays, so there are a lot of possibilities. As we develop, more possibilities will be unlocked and who knows? Maybe YOU will be the one to make that advancement, with the power of code.

Article Written by James (Age 11)

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash