Enhancing Diversity in STEM Education

A foundational motivation for AustSTEM is to engage with and encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines.  Engaging with the whole diversity of our young population increases the likelihood of attracting the best and the brightest.

For some years AustSTEM together with the Open Systems Education Trust (OSET) has contributed to delivering an annual STEM Camp for Girls at the University of Wollongong.  The camp is for female students in years 10 and 11.

OSET’s contribution assists economically disadvantaged students to participate, while AustSTEM provided workshop content and materials.

During the camp, the students are exposed to a large variety of STEM disciplines and activities at the university and in sponsoring industries.

Our workshop provided an intense training session in using KookaBlockly, a graphical programming language for our STEM microcomputer, the Kookaberry.  Follow the link to view the content of the KookaBlocky Workshop.

Within a very short time the students had grasped KookaBlockly concepts, were able to display messages, to send messages wirelessly to each other, to control another Kookaberry remotely, and to read a variety of environmental sensors and display the readings.

The workshop validated the ease by which, with the right techniques and tools, meaningful coding tasks can be accomplished by students.  We are confident that we assisted the students’ progress to careers in STEM.

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