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 computers

There 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.

The Digital Technologies in Focus program supports school leaders to facilitate the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, in selected schools in disadvantaged areas. This program is being delivered by the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority and provides support by assisting school leaders to plan for implementing the Digital Technologies curriculum and providing professional learning for teachers in these schools.

Upskilling our students

The Government is funding the Australian Digital Technologies Challenges for Year 5 and 7 students. The University of Sydney is developing an online series of 18 free, structured, progressive teaching and learning activities and challenges for all year 5 and 7 students, aligned to the Australian Curriculum. The initiative includes lesson plans, professional learning and online support for teachers and is funded to 2020. The first four challenges are now available on the Australian Computing Academy.

To engage students across Years 4 to 12 in digital technologies activities, Cracking the Code week will be held for the first time in the second half of 2017. During this week a suite of fun and engaging coding activities and challenges will be available for all Year 4 – 12 students.

DigIT, a computer science summer school for up to 60 Year 9 and 10 students was held for the first time in 2017. This annual program, focusing on students who are underrepresented in STEM subjects such as girls, provides intensive camps and mentoring to engage students in digital technologies and related careers.

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

The second round of Digital Literacy School Grants has now closed.

Schools and other organisations were invited to apply for modest grants to facilitate implementation of the new Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate genuine innovation, sustainability and positive educational outcomes.

There are two grant rounds funded over two consecutive years. The selection process for the first round of Digital Literacy School Grants has been finalised and announced by the Australian Government. There are 54 successful projects from around Australia.

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.