Getting SciCEd about the Jam

Dr Kristin AlfordHow can we stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at school and university?

It’s a key question, one that’s prompted 45 responses and one that’s been posed on UniJam by Dr Kristin Alford, who’s been appointed to lead UniSA’s new Science, Creativity and Education Studio (SciCEd), due to open as part of the University’s Health Innovation Building, in 2018.

Transforming public perception and engagement with science in Australia has been flagged as the vision for SciCEd. Understanding how that can be achieved links with the topic thread on UniJam this afternoon, with some fascinating suggestions made about what can be done to make studying STEM that much more attractive.

“Mix robots with philosophy”, influence high school content (perhaps through the SACE Research Project subject), use arts as a tool for innovation and education, emphasising design, creativity and innovation as core activities, highlight the vast range of career opportunities STEM can lead to, get excited by problem solving by watching The Martian (film) – all great ideas being voiced today.

John Hill, Former SA Minister for Health & Ageing and Chair of SciCEd Program Steering Committee puts it well with his contribution to the discussion:

“Creativity, imagination, problem solving, expression, working with others should be as much a part of STEM as the arts,” John says.

Jam host Kristin describes the range of ways people have responded to the question as “really encouraging”.

“Whether it’s through creative measures; the use of gaming or having an artist-in-residence to inspire the study of STEM, or through greater connections with researchers who advocate different ways of engaging students into studying these subjects, what has been fascinating is how the community has voiced their suggestions in so many ways.”

The conversations jam-on.