14 February 2019
Seven schools in Sydney’s west will become the first in NSW to benefit from a STEM initiative being backed by Google and education charity Schools Plus.
Google Australia will invest $45,000 to provide support to significantly expand students’ access to digital technologies and STEM learning activities, including help to create a ‘makerspace’ at Doonside Technology High.
The project is being rolled out across a cluster of schools called the Colebee Learning Community and will reach approximately 4000 students.
With STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) as its core focus, the Colebee Learning Community is creating a middle school hub to share resources, improve transitions from primary to high school and reverse declining student enrolments and performance.
The seven schools involved are Crawford Public School, Doonside Public School, Doonside Technology High School, Evans High School, Marayong South Public School, Plumpton High School and Walters Road Public School.
Funding will be used to purchase makerspace equipment and furniture as well as robotics and coding technology such as Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits and Thinkershield Arduino kits. It will also support the cost of training for teachers from all schools, allowing them to upskill, collaborate and effectively roll out a consistent STEM curriculum across all schools.
Google is also committing additional resources to the initiative, including making engineers available for mentoring students and facilitating professional development opportunities for teachers.
In addition to Google’s support, Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic, is donating $5000 from his electorate allowance to support Plumpton High’s involvement in the Learning Community.
Schools Plus CEO Rosemary Conn said: “We’re delighted to connect these seven Western Sydney schools with Google. Creating opportunities young people need to thrive in our tech-driven world is one of our aims at Schools Plus, so we’re excited to see how this partnership – our third with Google Australia – opens the minds of hundreds of students to the possibilities that await them.”
Google Australia’s Engineering Community and Outreach Manager Sally-Ann Williams said: “Computer science and robotics can lead to a world of opportunities, so we’re thrilled to be able to help develop this initiative of the Colebee Learning Community. We’re grateful to Schools Plus for bringing this exciting opportunity to us and we can’t wait to work with the kids and teachers to do great things with technology.”
Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic said: “Developing these skills will be hugely important in getting and holding onto work in the future. I wanted to support this program because I want Western Sydney students to be in line for these jobs, and be in a position to make a contribution to the nation’s growing digital economy.”