The University of Newcastle, Australia

SMART Sees over 10,000 people in 2016 so far!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

The SMART Program (Science, Maths and Real Technology) has had a big year already in 2016, reaching over 10,000 people at 55 school events, 7 teacher professional development courses and 9 holiday workshops. A brand new SMARTbots Science Show was rolled out earlier in the year for a hugely successful Coal & Allied Tour, which travelled the Upper Hunter for a second year in a row. The SMARTbots Science Show focuses on programming, algorithms, robotics and AI and features Lego EV3 robots, a bioloid robot and a drone.

SMART has developed and delivered its first holiday workshop “SMART Code”. The two-day computer science workshop was so successful that a second sold out event has just run again in the September school holidays. SMART is excited to announce that they have seen a 10% increase in female enrolments! The workshop will continue to run in future school holidays to ensure Hunter kids have the opportunity to extend their coding skills.

2016-17 has seen SMART focusing on professional development, seeing a number educators, particularly from preschools. Early in 2016 SMART became the Newcastle Network partner for the Little Scientists Program and has been delivering professional development to preschool educators across the region. In total, 24 local centres are now on board with the program and a further two centres are applying to become a ‘Little Scientist House’ in 2016. The development of two ‘Hands-on’ workshops also saw smart working with further preschool educators throughout the year to date. A robotics PD is now also available to primary and secondary teachers thanks to our partnership with Google who have supplied a kit of EV3 Lego Robots for the sessions. Collaboration with the Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle is also allowing the program to run BOSTES accredited sessions for teachers.

A Research and Development Scholarship is now on offer for an enthusiastic and crafty young mind to kick start the development of next year’s new Science Show. The show will be based around the 2017 National Science Week theme, “Future Earth and Australian Sustainability Science”. Current students can apply for the February scholarship via the university website with applications closing at the end of October.

If you are interested in organising a SMARTbots Science Show for your school or would like more information about a coding workshop or teacher professional development course please contact Sarah Pilgrim at smart@newcastle.edu.au.

The SMART Program works in conjunction with the Science and Engineering Challenge at the University of Newcastle and is a member of the Hunter Innovation and Science Hub in Newcastle.


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