iWorld Online Blog

  • littleBits is Adam Savage tested + approved

    Posted on Littlebits, May 24, 2017

    What’s a girl gotta do to get some privacy around here? Enlist some help from Tested’s Adam Savage and littleBits of course!

    Tia is like any other girl – she just wants some privacy. But unlike most other girls, Tia is currently a patient at the Stanford Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program, with doctors and nurses coming in and out of her room throughout the day and night. While this is very helpful to Tia, a girl just wants her space sometimes!

    In this episode of Tested, Adam Savage visits the SAYAC Pop-Up Innovation Center to collaborate with hospital staff members to invent a doorbell for Tia using littleBits. Through trial and error, Adam and his team figure out a way to create a doorbell that can communicate with Tia and whoever is asking to enter her room. And, most importantly, everyone had fun doing it!

    Adam Savage featured the SAYAC’s first ever Pop-Up Innovation Center to celebrate their grand opening in the Maker Tour segment of his show. The center has two main objectives. The first is to help patients feel like part of a whole community of makers and inventors throughout the hospital, even though they often can’t leave their rooms. The second is to begin researching the impact of Maker Therapy and how it betters a patient’s quality of life.

    This is a place where they can come, find problems to solve, solve them, and be part of the culture of innovation in the hospital itself.”
    –Adam Savage

    Makerspaces in hospitals are not totally new. Gokul Krishan wanted to found a hospital makerspace after an experience with a young patient named Brandon, who wanted to be an engineer. littleBits came to be a part of Project Mach – the first mobile hospital makerspace that Gokul founded. Combining donated littleBits kits and 3D printing, patients made some really amazing inventions at Vanderbilt Hospital in Tennessee. On top of that, kids were much more active – their average steps per day jumped from 300 to 1,500because of visiting the makerspace.

    Mannas Magic Bell from Project M@CH on Vimeo.

    littleBits believes in giving everyone the power to create inventions large and small, and is honored to be a part of this program as well as Adam Savage’s Tested. Watch Adam’s latest Maker Tour episode of Tested here.


    Grace Morales
    littleBits education marketing coordinator

    PS: Looking to start or supercharge your own makerspace? The littleBits STEAM Student Set brings powerful STEM/STEAM learning to your students. Another option is the new littleBits Code Kit — teach foundational coding skills while students build games in real life and code them in the desktop Code Kit app using drag-and-drop programming based on Google’s Blockly. Both Kits work great on their own, or you can expand the possibilities by using them together!

    [See original Post here]

  • Circuit Scribe: DIY Electronic Kits

    Posted on Kickstarter.com | By Electroninks Incorporated

    We love paper-based electronics & created DIY project kits using the Circuit Scribe conductive ink pen to help creativity take flight!

    CS_DIY video

    We are excited to bring the next generation Circuit Scribe products back to the Kickstarter community.  Our backers wowed us with so many creative applications of the Circuit Scribe pen, and these were the inspiration for our new DIY kits.  Welcome to the world of DIY paper electronics!

    What's Circuit Scribe?

    Circuit Scribe is the original conductive ink rollerball pen. With a non-toxic, highly conductive, silver and water based ink, you can draw your own circuits by hand. Our customers have used the pen for education, prototyping, and electronic art. The educational kits come with magnetic component modules that snap onto the circuit, allowing you to create fun electronic paper crafts using a range of basic to advanced circuit concepts.

    Apply What You Learned

    The new DIY kits are a continuation of our mission to make learning about electricity fun and engaging, but you don't need the educational kits to create with the DIY kits!

    Our original kits emphasized education by teaching basic circuitry principles, while our new kits emphasize application by allowing you to apply those concepts to DIY projects, using the classic Circuit Scribe pen to draw the connections.  The chart below shows how these fundamental concepts are applied to tangible projects that are useful (or just fun!) in your daily life.

    The Drone Kit

    This kit really flies off the page! Create a 4-propeller drone using cardboard and the Circuit Scribe conductive ink pen. The DIY Drone packaging will have perforated sections you can punch for perfectly proportioned structure, then draw the electrical connections, add the 4 propeller clamps and the motor to the body and you've made a remote control drone. This kit can be reconfigured to change the drone's size or even turn it into a flying paper airplane.

    If you're already a fan of drones or quadcopters, try your hand at creating one out of paper!

    The Calculator Kit

    We partnered with Dr. Saar Drimer of Boldport for the artful design of the DIY Calculator kit. This kit lets you design your own calculator key pad on paper. In addition to a calculator module & Circuit Scribe pen, the kit includes an easy to read guidebook that teaches you about touch sensors. Follow our outline when creating your calculator or get wild & crazy by drawing your own unique touch pads.

    Our original calculator prototype
    Our original calculator prototype

    We want our community to have endless opportunities to be creative with the kit so we're working on a new V2 prototype that will be solar powered (no pesky batteries or wires!) and have a unique paper-clip design that will allow you to move from notebook to planner to desktop!

    Our new design is a unique clip-on board
    Our new design is a unique clip-on board

    The LiteWing Kit

    Now your Circuit Scribe creations can move using the maple seed as inspiration. Your version of this "helicopter seed" spins to the ground with an LED on its wing and a coin cell battery on the weighted base. Simply connect the battery to the LED with your included Circuit Scribe pen and toss in the air.

    This kit is perfect for anyone who knows their circuit basics!

    Kit Contents

    All of our kits will come with everything you need in the box! A Circuit Scribe pen to complete the circuits, the appropriate modules & supplies, plus an instructional guidebook to ensure the project will come to life.

    Customize and Share your work

    Because your DIY creations are made out of conductive ink and paper, they are easy to customize. Get artsy with colored pencils and pens, or add your own paper engineering elements with custom folds.  You'll be able to find detailed instructions and visual aides for our brand new kits on sketch.circuitscribe.com.  Our platform also lets you upload your work and inspire other makers.

    Why We Need Kickstarter

    These brand new kits are a departure from our original color-coded magnetic modules, using a few new innovative ways to attach components to paper.  While it's exciting to introduce some new methods for attaching components to paper, we need to open brand new product tooling and create new protocols for assembly. That's why we're coming full circle and asking you, the Kickstarter community, to help make this possible!

    Drone: has a flex board based hub, plus new app for flying

    Calculator: uses a patent-pending thin PCB clip-on design

    LiteWing: components are pre-attached to the paper, and precisely weighted for peak aerodynamic action

    We also want your input to help us figure out what the final designs will look like.  All of the products that you see in our campaign are functional prototypes; we'll keep everyone up to date on our design evolution and take your feedback into account.

    Backer Rewards

    We have some great rewards for our backers!  All funding levels come with everything you need right out of the box, including instructions.  See the sidebar for details!  Our highest backing level - $1500 - comes with our maker space oriented kit, represented below.  You'll get all of our available products in one handy carrying case, plus you'll have access to some of our newest offerings such as resistor pens!

    Meet Circuit Scribe

    It all started with an idea, some conductive ink research, and the help of over 12,000 backers on Kickstarter!

    We now have a close-knit team of 5 working on the Circuit Scribe kits.  We bring together expertise in engineering, STEM education, marketing, and product manufacturing to give you the best products possible.  We're also obsessed with tinkering and having fun with electronics!

    Customer Feedback

    Since 2014, we have received some incredible feedback from our community!  We're happy to have contributed to helping kids and adults, alike, learn about the circuits that run our modern world.

    "They are so much fun and bring electronics concepts into a playful learning experience."  -Amazon review

    "My son is 8 years old and likes this pack so much...After a few days, his workbook was full of creative ideas."  -Amazon review

    Not only have our customers shown support, they have made some pretty creative projects that inspired us to design our new line of DIY kits.  Check out some of their social media posts below, and join in the fun using #circuitscribe.

     

    Risks and challenges

    While our manufacturing of the pen and magnetic modules is running smoothly, these new DIY kits are an entirely new manufacturing process. Risks are minimal, as we have fulfilled our original Kickstarter campaign and grown into a company that ships to customers across the world. Once backed, the main risk would be a delayed ship time due to unforeseen manufacturing delays.

    [See original post here]

  • Arckit - Design & Build Your Dream City

    Posted on Kickstarter.com | By Damien Murtagh

    Be your own architect and bring your dream city to life! The modelling system that lets you design, build and modify miniature worlds.

    Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.01.59 AM

    For the first time ever, Arckit Cityscape, Arckit Masterplan and Arckit Masterplan Pro give anyone complete control to build their very own dream city from scratch.

    From developing suburban neighbourhoods to downtown skyscrapers, city parks to piazzas, now designers of all ages can experience what it’s like to be a real architect or city planner. Build with incredible speed – then stand back for a real 3D perspective!

    Design, build and expand your dream city with Arckit Cityscape series
    Design, build and expand your dream city with Arckit Cityscape series
     
    Design and build your realistic city with Arckit Masterplan
    Design and build your realistic city with Arckit Masterplan

     

    Masterplan Pro with 1000+ components allows anyone to build all of these professional level models and more with just one single kit. In total, these took under 2 hours to build.
    Masterplan Pro with 1000+ components allows anyone to build all of these professional level models and more with just one single kit. In total, these took under 2 hours to build.

     

    Models possible with Masterplan Pro
    Models possible with Masterplan Pro

     

    Design and build precision models in moments with Masterplan & Masterplan Pro
    Design and build precision models in moments with Masterplan & Masterplan Pro

     

    Bring YOUR cities to life with Arckit Masterplan and Masterplan Pro
    Bring YOUR cities to life with Arckit Masterplan and Masterplan Pro

    In the past, designers and urban planners would show their concepts with traditional ‘cut and glue’ models or 3D drawings. Arckit Cityscape, Masterplan & Masterplan Pro gives you the same hands-on experience, without needing any specialist skills.

    What would have taken days and weeks now takes a matter of hours or minutes. Arckit allows users to access architecture at their experience level, with pro-level kits offering a viable alternative to traditional models, which cost a fortune, take weeks to build and can't be modified – Masterplan Pro can even be used by actual city planning departments to rapidly explore ideas.

    Now everyone can get involved in designing our cities and have real and meaningful discussions about the environments we need for the future.

    Build residential neighbourhoods, public spaces, downtown high-rises and so much more with Masterplan Pro.
    Build residential neighbourhoods, public spaces, downtown high-rises and so much more with Masterplan Pro.

     

    Build professional level models with Masterplan &  Masterplan Pro
    Build professional level models with Masterplan & Masterplan Pro

     

    Create this type of streetscape with Masterplan & Masterplan Pro
    Create this type of streetscape with Masterplan & Masterplan Pro

     

    With enough components you can build your ever expanding and colourful dream city with Arckit Cityscape components.
    With enough components you can build your ever expanding and colourful dream city with Arckit Cityscape components.

     

    Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan can be used in the classroom to teach STEAM education skills
    Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan can be used in the classroom to teach STEAM education skills

     

    How does it work?

    ARCKIT™ is completely modular and can be envisaged at different scales depending on its surroundings. The components are interchangeable, allowing you to rapidly experiment with simple or complex layouts. You can change your mind at any time and bring your ideas to life in a virtually unlimited number of ways.

    There are no rules or instructions. To start building, simply click the components together and create incredible city layouts using the foundations, building blocks, walls and tile shapes. This offers the ultimate freedom to learn as you play, without boundaries.

    Bring out your inner creativity with an advanced gender-neutral STEM toy. If you can use building blocks, you can take your skills to another level with Arckit!

    Arckit can be used by professionals and within education to spontaneously explore ideas
    Arckit can be used by professionals and within education to spontaneously explore ideas

     

    Colourful components from the Cityscape range
    Colourful components from the Cityscape range

    The finished models are a piece of design in their own right. Inspired by minimal art and design, each kit is made up of unique components including a variety of different tile shapes that represent iconic architecture from around the world.

    There’s no glue, no mess and no instructions – just the power of your imagination. It’s a whole new way of design thinking. The process is simple: design, build and modify.

    You can mix your Cityscape and Masterplan products. All Arckit sets are 100% compatible.
    You can mix your Cityscape and Masterplan products. All Arckit sets are 100% compatible.

    Cityscape, Masterplan & Masterplan Pro explained

    There are two main types of kit: Arckit Cityscape and Arckit Masterplan.

    Arckit Cityscape is designed to inspire dreamers of all ages with a variety of unique kits & components finished in a choice of 'architect's' white & soft pastel colours. The kits are easy-to-use and follows similar principles to other building toys. First you design your layout, then position your buildings before finishing them off with a choice of iconic roof shapes. Suitable for 6 years+

    Cityscape Colour 01
    Cityscape Colour 01

     

    Cityscape White 01
    Cityscape White 01

    Cityscape XL takes the same process to the next level with a greater range of components – ideal for play or display! Suitable for 6 years+

    Just one of many models you can build with CITYSCAPE XL
    Just one of many models you can build with CITYSCAPE XL

    Cityscape XXL for the ultimate fantasy city of your dreams. The XXL has enough components to build and modify to your heart's content. Suitable for 6 years+

    Delectable components and colours from the Cityscape range.
    Delectable components and colours from the Cityscape range.

    Arckit Masterplan is a more professional-level kit finished in architects' white and clear components. The system works in the same way, combining additional wall components that allow users to build taller structures such as skyscrapers and construct bridges and districts. This advanced kit also comes with illustrative graphic stickers to create realistic building facades. Suitable for 12 years+

     

    Build gleaming structures with Arckit Masterplan.
    Build gleaming structures with Arckit Masterplan.

     

    Build stunning models literally in moments with Masterplan
    Build stunning models literally in moments with Masterplan

    Arckit Masterplan Pro is the ultimate professional design tool. This mega kit comes with white and clear floor components that enable users to build stunning professional level architectural masterplan models. It also includes clear wall components and graphic facade stickers for creating realistic finishes together with iconic roof shapes. This is the perfect choice for professional level model making and those who want to create stunning, advanced cities. Suitable for 12 years+

    Build truly amazing cities with Masterplan Pro.
    Build truly amazing cities with Masterplan Pro.

     

    The sky's the limit with Masterplan Pro.
    The sky's the limit with Masterplan Pro.

    Can't decide which one to go for? All our kits are compatible with each other, so you can mix and match to build a MEGA city!

    Choose your kit

    Cityscape Colour 01-04, choose from four different coloured styles. In the box you will get a selection of 45+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.
    Cityscape Colour 01-04, choose from four different coloured styles. In the box you will get a selection of 45+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.

     

    Cityscape White 01-04, choose from four different non-coloured styles. In the box you will get a selection of 45+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.
    Cityscape White 01-04, choose from four different non-coloured styles. In the box you will get a selection of 45+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.

     

    Cityscape XL, great for building larger urban areas! In the box you will get a selection of 125+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.
    Cityscape XL, great for building larger urban areas! In the box you will get a selection of 125+ Arckit components in a ziplock bag along with an instruction leaflet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.

     

    Cityscape XXL, the ultimate colourful kit for creating your dream city. In the box you will get a selection of 220+ Arckit components in tray along with an instruction booklet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.
    Cityscape XXL, the ultimate colourful kit for creating your dream city. In the box you will get a selection of 220+ Arckit components in tray along with an instruction booklet. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.

     

    Masterplan, design your own CAPITAL CITY! In the box you will get a selection of 350+ Arckit components with a tray, a booklet, and graphic adhesives for realistic surface finishes. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.
    Masterplan, design your own CAPITAL CITY! In the box you will get a selection of 350+ Arckit components with a tray, a booklet, and graphic adhesives for realistic surface finishes. Additional content will be available online at arckit.com.

     

    Masterplan Pro, for the ultimate model maker to build fantastic structures! In the box will be a selection of 1000+ Arckit components with trays, a booklet, and graphic adhesives for realistic finishes. Additional content will be online at arckit.com.
    Masterplan Pro, for the ultimate model maker to build fantastic structures! In the box will be a selection of 1000+ Arckit components with trays, a booklet, and graphic adhesives for realistic finishes. Additional content will be online at arckit.com.

    Sample Packaging

    All Arckit products have exceptional packaging, and both Cityscape and Masterplan products will get the same special treatment. Here is what you can expect:

    Ireland's favourite architect, Dermot Bannon loves our new concepts.

    Ireland's favourite architect, Dermot Bannon, stopped by to see our new concepts. He said "I think Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan are fantastic because kids can now image cities and build their whole worlds…. They can start to think about squares, piazzas and the spaces in-between, this is architecture….Hopefully everyone at some stage will get to own a house, build a house and live in a house, not everyone will get to build a city. This is a really cool way to build a city in the morning."

    Ireland's favorite Architect and star of the hit RTÉ TV series 'Room To Improve', Dermot Bannon, discussing piazzas and vistas with Arckit founder Damien Murtagh
    Ireland's favorite Architect and star of the hit RTÉ TV series 'Room To Improve', Dermot Bannon, discussing piazzas and vistas with Arckit founder Damien Murtagh

     

    Renowned Irish architect and TV personality, Dermot Bannon gives thumbs up for Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan
    Renowned Irish architect and TV personality, Dermot Bannon gives thumbs up for Arckit Cityscape and Masterplan

    Get creative – No limits!

    Now it's time to unleash your creativity. As a modular system, you can integrate Arckit with other products and add details using tools such as 3D printers, 3Doodler pens and electronics.

    This makes it possible to explore ideas on the fly, make your own parts and even print real photos of building facades (like your own house)!

    Take Arckit into a classroom environment and the learning opportunities are immense. We have already developed an Arckit Education Programme for schools and universities to teach STEM / STEAM skills (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) using our original Arckit.

    We believe that Arckit Cityscape will open up architecture and design to an even younger audience through the perfect balance of learning and hands-on play.

    As ground-breaking design tools of professionals quality, Masterplan & Masterplan Pro  are highly affordable kits to rapidly design, build and modify truly stunning urban models.

    We can't wait to see what you create!

    The Arckit Team

    Arckit was launched in 2014 by Irishman Damien Murtagh.  While working in his architectural studio, he came up with the idea as a fast and reusable alternative to traditional 'cut and glue' model making. The concept took off and he began using it as a way to explore ideas and present designs to clients.

    Since then, ARCKIT's patented system has spread all over the world, helping to introduce architecture and model making to designers of all ages. Arckit is manufactured in 'The Garden of Ireland', Co. Wicklow, and our offices are based nearby in Dublin.

    The Garden of Ireland, Co. Wicklow, home of Arckit.
    The Garden of Ireland, Co. Wicklow, home of Arckit.

    We're a small and passionate team with experience in architecture, modelling and product design. Now we're ready to launch our very first Kickstarter. We've put all our creativity and architectural experience into making something really special that will inspire and educate the next generation of creators.

    Arckit has won multiple design awards and our original kits are stocked in retailers all over the world such as Harrods London, Brown Thomas Dublin, Barnes & Noble US, Easons Ireland, Hamleys Singapore, The Smithsonian & Guggenheim museums NY and many other toy/gift/craft stores.

    Arckit at Brown Thomas store, Dublin
    Arckit at Brown Thomas store, Dublin

    If you like our project and want to help spread the word, you can click on one or all of the following social media buttons to share this page:

     

     

     

    Visit https://arckit.com/ to learn more about Arckit.

    If you are a retailer interested in stocking Arckit you can get in touch with our team at info@arckit.com.

    Risks and challenges

    We are incredibly proud to say that Arckit is a 'Made in Ireland' product, something we worked very hard to achieve from the outset. Now everyone at Arckit is working even harder to make this new project a reality.

    Since the success of our original kits, we have overcome many logistical challenges and we understand the process ahead. We already have the manufacturing facility in place, the experience of delivering internationally and the ability to upscale our operations.

    Arckit has a proven track record with supplying to retailers globally and we are confident that we will achieve the same high quality of finish for our new kits. The prototype stage is complete and we are currently perfecting the final details including packaging and presentation. Now all we need is your help to fund this project so we can take this into production.

    Thank you for your support!

    [Click Here to see original Post] 

  • Budget 2017: STEM education in rural Australia gains AU$30m

    Posted on ZDNet | By  |  

    AU$24 million will fund STEM and health scholarships for regional students, while AU$6 million will be used to trial digital apps to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children's literacy.

    The Australian government has announced that it will provide AU$24 million to establish a Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships program targeting the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields of study.

    Beginning this year, around 1,200 scholarships worth AU$20,000 each will be gifted to students undertaking undergraduate, post-graduate, or vocational education and training qualifications in "priority fields of study", including STEM and health.

    The government added that it will provide another AU$5.9 million over four years to trial the use of digital applications to improve children's literacy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    The trial will be undertaken during 2019 and 2020 across 20 preschools throughout Australia in an effort to close the gap.

    The government similarly announced in March that it would be investing AU$4 million over four years for the "Maker Project" to enable children to learn STEM skills.

    The project will give grants of between AU$2,000 and AU$5,000 to schools and community organisations to set up designated spaces for practical STEM activities, as well as providing them with experience in design, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The grants will allow these spaces to provide tools, equipment, software, and consumables.

    Grants of between AU$5,000 and AU$20,000 will also be given to community organisations to expand their existing STEM activities.

    The Maker Projects initiative is part of the four-year, AU$29.8 million Inspiring Australia science engagement program, which falls under the federal government's AU$1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda announced in December 2015.

    At the time, the government pledged AU$48 million to improve the STEM literacy of students in Australia, along with a AU$51 million commitment to assist Australian teachers and students to embrace the digital age.

    The government then opened its AU$4 million Digital Literacy School Grants program to schools Australia-wide, with the funds to be used to deliver digital literacy programs to students in "engaging and innovative" ways.

    The AU$4 million 2016 Digital Literacy School Grants will be funded by the AU$51 million teacher commitment kitty, with other initiatives under the banner including the formation of IT summer schools for students in years 9 and 10; an annual "cracking the code" competition for those in year 4 through 12; and online computing challenges for year 5 and year 7 students.

    Last week, Australia's Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Alastair MacGibbon told ZDNet that cybersecurity and STEM education needs to be a life skill that children grow up with in classrooms.

    "For me, being a successful person in my generation was being able to read and write and do basic maths. What is going to get our kids to be successful in this world is the concept of computation, coding, and communication," MacGibbon told ZDNet.

    "If people are self selecting out of having an interest in subjects like maths and science, then we're narrowing the gene pool available to us that we need not just in government but in business to protect ourselves -- and frankly we're probably narrowing our skillset for the average citizen to be protecting themselves."

    [See original article here]

  • True appreciation of digital creates the haves

    Posted on The Australian, March 7, 2017

    When analysts talk about the digital divide, they tend to focus on the differences between the haves and have-nots. Increasingly, I see a more important division between those who understand what the digital economy holds — and how to take advantage — and those who remain stuck in the pre-digital mindset that may be increasingly irrelevant.

    This contrast was recently thrown into sharp relief for me. Just days after a tour of the Tesla car factory in the US where I saw first-hand self-driving vehicles being assembled by robots, I was party to a conversation with someone lamenting the lack of young people wanting to become truck drivers.

    If Australia is to capitalise on the opportunities of the digital age and build a prosperous digital economy, we need a different mindset — one that recognises how to leverage and harness emerging disruptive technologies to pave the way for new jobs and industries, not just perpetuate old ones.

    The key to changing mindsets is education. The challenge for Australia right now is ensuring our education system delivers forward-thinking, digital-savvy workers and entrepreneurs who can capitalise on rapidly converging technologies including automated algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, Blockchain and the internet of things.

    I’m not talking about curriculum — we already have agreement on the need for more STEM and digital technology subjects to equip our future workforce. I’m talking about making sure we invest in our ICT teachers with the appropriate skills and empower them to deliver the new digital and technology curriculum in a way that engages and inspires our young people.

    Despite the fact that demand for STEM-related jobs such as ICT and engineering is growing at a rate 50 per cent higher than other professions, there has been a marked decline in Australia’s performance and engagement levels in STEM subjects against international standards over the past decade. According to the National STEM School Education Strategy, arresting this performance shortfall will require a range of complementary measures to:

    • increase student ability, engagement, participation and aspiration

    • increase teacher capacity and STEM teaching quality

    • support STEM education opportunities within schools

    • facilitate effective partnerships with tertiary education providers, business and industry

    • build a strong evidence base.

    While various initiatives have been introduced in recent years to improve ICT school education and drive interest in STEM-related studies and careers, Australia deserves a co-ordinated program capable of delivering an integrated approach.

    The ACS looks forward to meeting with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham later this month to discuss our proposal for the introduction of a comprehensive model based on the successful British Computing at School (CaS) program. Co-ordinated and managed under the auspices of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, the CaS program has provided professional development for more than 25,000 ICT teachers at 1600 schools since 2013.

    Modelling the proven British approach, the ACS proposes an Australian ICT Educators Program to establish and co-ordinate a professional ICT teaching practice. The program would create collaborative networks between schools, universities, industry and professional bodies to facilitate the delivery of high-quality, low-cost professional development that help teachers better engage with digital technologies and quickly build their knowledge and skills.

    By gaining access to the world-class resources and proven BCS delivery models, we can effectively shortcut the work involved in implementing the program.

    This challenge is not unique to Australia. It is a global issue that nations must recognise and embrace. Those early on this curve will be first to benefit in the race for digitally savvy human capital.

    Our ASEAN neighbour Malaysia has also embarked on the race for digital skills, declaring 2017 to be the Year of the Internet Economy. I look forward to joining world-renowned speaker Don Tapscott next month to present at the first international ICT infrastructure and Digital Economy Conference Sarawak 2017.

    Anthony Wong is president of the ACS and chief executive of AGW Consulting P/L, a multidisciplinary ICT, intellectual property legal and consulting practice. 

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