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Australian students leverage STEM skills to brighten the nation’s future

22 May 2018

NBN Co STEM+X initiative offers virtual link from the classroom to science and tech experts

Following three months of brainstorming, students participating in the NBN Co STEM+X initiative today saw their hard work come to fruition as they virtually presented ideas to a panel of science and technology experts.

Launched in February, the NBN Co STEM+X initiative saw students from eight schools across the country tasked with developing an idea to help brighten their community’s future by attempting to solve real life challenges.

Run in collaboration with the Australian Business Community Network (ABCN), the initiative was developed to get students excited about the possibilities of learning Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills by combining it with their hobbies and passions.

Today the participating students video conferenced into NBN Co headquarters in Sydney and presented their ideas during an online ‘Futurist’s Fair’ to a judging panel which included Kathrine Dyer, Chief Network Deployment Officer at NBN Co; Allegra Spender, Chief Executive Officer at ABCN; and Scott Gaunson and Brett Stanford from the YouTube channel How Ridiculous.

Kathrine Dyer, Chief Network Deployment Officer at NBN Co said:

“The nbn™ broadband access network plays a fundamental role in providing the infrastructure needed to support educating tomorrow’s workforce to learn vital STEM skills.

“Whether it is gaining access to the internet for the first time; being able to participate in online courses and long-distance education or benefiting from the increased employment opportunities of a remote workforce; fast broadband opens up a world of learning opportunities.

“I was excited to see what the students came up with today at the Futurists’ Fair and they should all be commended for their hard work on the initiative. The students are really in tune with the issues facing their communities and it’s great to see their passion in tackling them.”

Allegra Spender, Chief Executive Officer at ABCN said:

“We have enjoyed working alongside NBN Co to deliver a program that uses the everyday passions and interests of young Australians to encourage STEM learning.

“Throughout the initiative, we’ve seen an increase in their attitudes and understanding of STEM and its importance for their future jobs.”

The participating schools in the STEM+X initiative are:

  • Para Hills Primary School, Adelaide, SA
  • Canadian Lead Primary School, Ballarat, VIC
  • Islington Public School, Newcastle, NSW
  • Glenorchy Primary School, Hobart, TAS
  • Leanyer Primary, Darwin, NT
  • Invermay Primary School, Launceston, TAS
  • Townsville Central State School, Townsville, QLD
  • Beaconsfield Primary School, Perth, WA

How Ridiculous will visit the winning school for a day of STEM-filled fun in July. In addition, the eight participating schools will receive a tech prize pack to support the development of STEM education programs.

For more information about the STEM+X initiative, check out the nbn™ blog page designed to equip parents with the tools needed to support STEM learning and give students practical experiments to try out at home.

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Notes to editors

  • STEM+X is a new term used within the education system. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, while ‘+ X’ represents the application of one’s personal interests in relation to learning these subjects. For example, a student’s interest in a career in design, may require them to study engineering and mathematics.