STEM Hub for girls receives funding boost

An innovative online hub that encourages girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities has received $1.2 million in funding from The Invergowrie Foundation.

Swinburne University of Technology, together with Deakin University, and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in partnership with Science Gallery Melbourne will work to develop the STEM hub that will provide teachers, carers and students with compelling STEM engagement opportunities. Dr Victoria Millar and Professor Jan van Driel from MGSE will contribute to this project. In recent years, they have conducted projects on participation of girls in STEM that were funded by The Invergowrie Foundation.

The Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Professor Jim Watterston welcomed the opportunity to collaborate on consolidating opportunities for girls in STEM.

“The STEM Hub will provide engaging, relevant and contemporary content and activities from the early years of education and throughout their school years with the aim of keeping careers in STEM a viable and attractive option for girls  as they move into higher education and beyond,” he said.

Project leader, Swinburne’s Associate Professor Therese Keane, has been a champion for empowering girls in STEM for more than 25 years and is an expert in the use of technology and computers in schools for teaching and learning purposes.

She says the project will focus across the education continuum: preschool, primary school and secondary school, with a particular focus on building STEM identity in early childhood education.

“The STEM Hub will be an exciting virtual laboratory – we will continuously evaluate and research the platform, its content and interactivity, and learning impact with students, carers and teachers. We will ensure the hub’s offering is continually improved and refreshed quarterly by frequently aggregating, curating, and creating content that is engaging,” says Associate Professor Keane.

“This collaborative project is a wonderful example of bringing together the combined academic talent of these three universities, in the STEM field, to build a contemporary and innovative hub that will drive STEM literacy not just for girls but for the broader community,” says Chair of the Invergowrie Foundation Wendy Lewis OAM.

“This project is an opportunity for the Foundation to build on our focus on STEM education for girls at the primary and secondary level. The Foundation aims to expand their career opportunities with a view to building the economic security of women in the future.”

The STEM Hub project team will work collaboratively across three themes: STEM Experience, STEM Awareness and STEM Practices and Resources.

They will curate the ‘best of’ existing STEM website activities and links, as well as create content and resources that focus on the needs of girls and diversity, ensuring not excluding boys in the process.

The Hub will also address unconscious bias and stereotyping, the role of career education, the need to include carers in STEM education and the requirement for targeted professional learning for teachers and career educators.

More Information

Genevieve Costigan

gco@unimelb.edu.au

0421 956 036