Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM

Australian Government National Innovation and Science AgendaUnder the National Innovation and Science Agenda’s Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM measure, a variety of initiatives will be introduced to increase the participation of all students and the wider community in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to improve their digital literacy.

photo of students working on computersThere will be a focus on tackling the digital divide by ensuring that students most at risk of falling behind in the digital age are given opportunities to participate and engage.

Upskilling our teachers

The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies provides teachers with a world class curriculum to prepare students for the challenges of the digital economy. The Government will roll out a nationally available, free online course – with dedicated support and some start up equipment for primary and early secondary teachers to help develop fundamental teaching skills and knowledge relating to the new digital technologies curriculum. For more information, visit the CSER Digital Technologies Education website.

Upskilling our students

The Government is funding national computing challenges for all Year 5 and 7 students as well as a national competition “Cracking the Code” which will set various types of computing/coding challenges for Year 4 - 12 students.  A computer science summer school for up to 60 Year 9 and 10 students will be held annually, focusing on students who are underrepresented in STEM subjects such as girls.

Facilitating partnerships with industry

The Australian Government will provide support for flexible partnerships between STEM professionals and schools, helping students and teachers understand how STEM is applied in the real world.  They will be introduced to emerging STEM innovations and potential career paths, student mentoring opportunities, and a better understanding of industry expectations. There will be a focus on brokering partnerships with women currently working in STEM.

For more information, please visit the Scientists in Schools website

Digital Literacy School Grants

Schools and other organisations will be able to apply for modest grants to facilitate implementation of the new Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. There will be two grant rounds funded over two consecutive years. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis with priority given to those projects that demonstrate genuine innovation, sustainability and positive educational outcomes. Schools may also choose to partner together and share a grant. Apps will also be developed for educators and families.

For more information, please visit the Digital Literacy School Grants page.

NISA early learning initiatives

As a part of a suite of initiatives, the Australian Government will invest $14 million over four years in the foundation of STEM skills to promote positive learning experiences for children aged three to five years. This will include the development of early learning STEM resources and training for educators, as well as more opportunities for families and children to engage with fun and exciting STEM activities. Through the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program a new series of apps will be designed and developed by the University of Canberra for preschool children to promote curiosity and learning about STEM education. Apps will also be developed for educators and families.

For more information please visit the NISA early learning initiatives page.

Funding

Total funding for Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM is $112.2 million. The Department of Education and Training’s initiatives total $64.6 million. These initiatives will be provided from 2016-17.

Request for Tender

The tender process to engage a provider for ‘Computing Challenges for Years 5 and 7 students’ and ‘Cracking the Code’ opened on 15 March 2016 and closed on 14 April 2016 (Request for Tender for National Digital Technologies Challenges to support the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies). The successful provider will be announced in due course.