To make an impact in the Real World, Australia must invest in STEM education. By many indications, Australia is systematically underachieving in STEM education in a time where 75% of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills. In the near future, modelling by PWC indicates that switching just 1% of the workforce into STEM streams would add $57 billion to the economy over 20 years. Fortunately, the solution is fairly well understood and documented by national, state, tertiary and industry leaders. Nationally in the “National 2016 STEM schools Education Strategy”, and on a state level by Queensland’s software initiative “#coding counts”, and from industry thought leaders PWC in their position paper “Making STEM a Primary Priority”. On a tertiary level, QUT’s own STEM strategy sums most of these actions points by:
1. Increasing STEM engagement activities with schools,
2. Developing educational tools and resources for primary, middle and secondary level curricula,
3. Increasing pathways and offering more scholarships to widen participation of targeted groups,
4. Engaging with STEM-related professions through industry talks and projects,
5. Celebrating excellence and innovation in research.
The broad goals of this project are to equip the next generation of STEM students with the skills to interact with future platform technologies while simultaneously developing fundamental STEM skills. As 3D printing involves key disruptive innovations that will impact many areas within traditional economies, knowledge of the underlying technologies are critical for tomorrow’s citizens. As with many platform technologies, 3D printing requires broad multidisciplinary knowledge bases in all STEM domains such as materials science, computer science, mechatronics, electronics, mechanical engineering and computational mathematics.
We aim to bring 3D printers into classrooms all across Queensland to enhance STEM education and engagement by:
- Providing high schools with linkages to our partner, Core Electronics, to obtain Lulzbot TAZ 3D printers,
- Developing and sharing digital resources to train teachers and students with 3D printing and CAD skills,
- Providing cutting-edge, curriculum-linked workshop materials to incorporate 3D printing skills and techniques into classroom activities,
- Engaging with high schools in the Education Programs sector of our Herston Biofabrication Institute which will be opened in late 2017.
We are grateful for the support from our partners on this project: