Training students for the jobs of the future is the greatest challenge of the modern classroom. Mastering the ever-changing world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is an essential skill for students on all levels of education.
But the jobs to which students might apply these skills remain, in many cases, a mystery. The Future of Jobs report from the World Economic Forum suggests that two-thirds of young people entering primary school education will find themselves in roles and even industries that don't exist yet.
What's concerning is that less than 1 in 5 Australian students are entering higher education in STEM fields. This is because maths and science for many students can be boring and difficult, and for many, there is no clear connection between these subjects and their dream job.
This makes it even more essential that core STEM skills are clearly addressed in an engaging and inventive way to lay a solid foundation for the future. An effective STEM classroom is packed with the right tech and the right programs to help those students build a bright future.
Bright spots for a bright future
The Bright Spots Schools Connection was developed by Social Ventures Australia (SVA). It's a network that brings together highly experienced educators and emerging leaders right across Australia from 42 schools.
Back in 2017, Samsung and SVA worked together to bring a STEM Learning Hub to the Connection -- an initiative that brought STEM expertise and support to 15 schools across NSW, Victoria, and South Australia, in low-socioeconomic areas where students are particularly at risk of being left behind when it comes to STEM. Since the commencement of the STEM Learning Hub, more than 790 teachers and 8,000 students have participated in the program.
Sue Cridge works at SVA as the Director of Education for the Connection: "We want to see all children in Australia, no matter where they grow up, have access to great technology to support their learning. In partnership with Samsung we are able to create inspiring learning experiences for young people across the country."
Meet the STEM class of today
Wallarano Primary School is a large school in Victoria with a culturally rich community of 700 students with over 40 nationalities, of which 62% are from a non-English speaking background. It's also one of the schools to have benefitted from Samsung and SVA's STEM Learning Hub. Over the past two years, teachers and students from Wallarano have been experimenting with Samsung technology in the classroom.
Students at Wallarano extensively use the Galaxy Books, the 360 cameras, and Samsung phones for Virtual Reality experiences in the classroom. They run a weekly session called the Digital Sandpit where staff and students can play, experiment, and give each other small challenges with Samsung technology and equipment such as 3D printers, Laser Cutters, and Robotics.
Gail Doney is the principal at Wallarano and she says that working with Samsung and SVA have provided the school with many advantages and not just because of the access to the latest classroom technologies.
"Our involvement in the STEM Learning Hub has also connected us with like-minded professionals to share different views and perspectives on how to best implement STEM," says Doney.
She notes that teachers often face many questions around STEM; from what technologies are needed through to the best way to introduce and implement STEM so that a high-quality program can be provided at all levels in the primary school setting.
"Being involved in the STEM Learning Hub has really helped us to answer these questions by understanding how specific technologies can enrich the learning experience not only for students, but also for teachers," Doney says.
There's no technology yet that can predict the future -- we can't know the exact challenges that the next generation will face, especially in the workforce. But we can be confident that a grounding in STEM will help smooth the way, with initiatives like the STEM Learning Hub helping put them on the right path.
To learn more about how Samsung is working toward a better future for the generations to come click here.