Samsung announced it will support researchers from the University of Canberra’s STEM Education Research Centre (SERC) as they investigate n
ew practices in spatial-reasoning education and the use of new technologies.
The project builds on SERC work which studies the extent to which spatial skills have a sustained impact on the overall STEM competence among young Australians through technology and innovative practices.
University of Canberra Centenary Professor and director of SERC,Tom Lowrie, says the project aims to inspire young students to use the latest technological devices to learn about spatial reasoning and STEM concepts in general.
SERC aims to provide evidence on how spatial skills may contribute to reducing the gap on mathematical achievement among the most socially disadvantaged students in Australia.
Professor Lowrie, who will lead the collaboration, says it will involve two programmes designed to improve mathematics and science competences – one aimed at primary school students and another one for high school students.
“The primary school project will look at developing spatial-reasoning skills in a dynamic 3D-like world on a smartphone or tablet,” said Lowrie. “The second project, the Digital Design Learning Lab, aimed at high school-aged students, will look at the use of augmented reality to represent the real world as 3D objects on tablets. By using creative activities and innovative programmes through cutting-edge technologies, such as digital sensor-based mobile platforms, augmented reality technologies, next generation digital signage and visual display solutions, we hope to complement traditional classroom learning and engage the students in these subjects.”
Professor Lowrie says an important component of the programme is to work with disadvantaged communities, including indigenous and remote communities, and connect them with “forward-thinking education”.
“We are committed to engaging students in learning opportunities that promote STEM practices (including spatial reasoning and collaborative problem solving), especially in communities where students have limited opportunities to engage with new technology innovations,” he said
The research team will also create an online community network to share relevant learnings and experiences and work with teachers across the country to test programmes and adjust them for best practice.
“This is a fantastic collaboration that will explore ways to better support STEM education to make a meaningful impact in the learning outcomes of young Australians," said Tess Ariotti, Samsung corporate social responsibility manager. “As technology embeds itself within all industries, STEM skills are becoming vital to a majority of careers. Samsung is working with SERC because we see the opportunity for our technology to contribute to the development and execution of innovative teaching practices in Australian schools. By working with organisations like UC we’re ensuring technology integration is relevant and contributes to lasting, positive change.”