The Challenges in STEM Teaching Facing Australia

In today’s Financial Review (7 July, 2014) Tim Dodd has written about the challenges in STEM teaching facing Australia (Why the next Zuckerberg won’t be Australian). Quoting Dr Nick Cerneaz, executive director of the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, the article has picked up on the future growth of our economy and how a poor STEM capability will inevitably crimp that growth.

Nick Cerneaz has said that it all begins in primary school, where teachers are often ill-equipped to breath life into the teaching of mathematics. As Nick says, unless you show mathematics solving and engaging with interesting real-work issues it is like “teaching them to spell without teaching them to write prose”. Never a truer word spoken! As out children grow up in the thrall of intelligent devices and complex machinery they will, without STEM knowledge, be the drones, not the drivers.

The FDA has just cleared a chair imbedded with life sign sensors. The age of the imbedded medical device and “wearable” sensors is upon us and about to change everything!

There is no doubt that the next wave of device development will feature apparently commonplace items, such as your iPhone, delivering rich data sets for a variety of purposes and medical devices and sensors are amongst those that will be connected in this way. Clothing, furniture, wearable electronics and remote sensors will all start to assemble a hitherto unavailable richness of our personal and environmental monitoring. It is up to us what we make of this.


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