About the AustSTEM Foundation
What we are
The AustSTEM Foundation is a not-for-profit charity established in Australia in 2017. Our registered ABN is 36 622 569 626.
Our purpose is to promote education in Australia.
We are initially concentrating on primary students in Years 4 to 6 to foster an increased awareness in Science, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects prior to them entering Year 7 studies.
Our principal strategy is to fund the Kookaberry, and we will support other mediums that align with our objectives.
How we intend to achieve our purpose
Our long term intention is to raise the funding required to distribute and support the free distribution of Kookaberries to teachers in every Year 5 classroom across Australia over at least a two year period. This is similar to the strategy used by the BBC in the UK, where they distributed nearly a million micro:bits to every year 7 student free of charge.
The Kookaberry is now a mature product which needs to be trialled in a range of schools across Australia to both ensure it is fit for purpose, and to gather the data necessary to support the fund raising activity for general distribution.
We are therefore about to embark on a local production run which will deliver a limited number of classroom kits of Kookaberries to participating schools in time for Term3 in 2019.
Julian Dinsdale has a solid background in operating technology companies and raised significant funds for investments in the private and public equity markets in Australia, UK, Europe and USA.
He was also a founder of the Australian Institute of Advanced Learning that has provided advanced learning techniques into schools, institutions, police, insurance industry, armed forces and company boards.
Julian, like John, wants to raise average STEM literacy across Australia - not just improve it in areas of high relative social advantage. For both Julian and John, this means concentrating on the Primary sector.
John Phillips is a systems engineer with extensive international telecommunications project and employee relations experience. He manages education projects for The Warren Centre, and co-founded SLAM Education in Newcastle.
John was promoting STEM well before it entered mainstream consciousness, and is now actively supporting only those projects and initiatives which are sustainable over the long term, and have the potential to raise the level of STEM literacy.
Tony Strasser. Tony's 42 year domestic and international consultancy career spans manufacturing, engineering and information technology. Now retired to being a busy grandparent, he maintains an active interest in promoting learning, growth and excellence in engineering, computing and education.
Damien George is an Australian, living in Melbourne, who created MicroPython , a lean and fast implementation of the Python scripting language that is optimized to run on a microcontroller. It is the language used on the BBC micro:bit. Damien has implemented, and is currently optimising, MicroPython on the Kookaberry.
Rob McTaggart is an education consultant and K-6 teacher specialising in digital technologies. He has developed flasgship design challenges including the Digital Sparks Technology Design Challenge for NSW public schools and the NRMA Future of Transport Challenge. Rob designed and is maintaining this website, and provides face-to-face Kookaberry professional learning.
Evan Bonser coordinates STEM learning activities at the Junior School at Tara Anglican School for Girls in Sydney, with previous experience teaching at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, and as a game design facilitator and ICT integrator with the MacICT team at Macquarie University. Evan trials apps and prepares Kookaberry video tutorials.
The University of Sydney
The Engineering & IT Faculty at the University of Sydney and Grok Learning provided invaluable programme advice critical to the implementation of the Kookaberry's internal software, and recommendations on the layout of the Kookaberry and its on-board functionality.
The Warren Centre
The Warren Centre (TWC) brings industry, government and academia together to create thought leadership in engineering, technology, and innovation. TWC is assisting AustSTEM through the provision of advice and meeting facilities
SLAM Education is a NESA endorsed Category 2 professional learning provider. SLAM is assisting AustSTEM with the provision of professional learning for teachers using the Kookaberry.