STEM Proud Robotics

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The next generation of programmers, mechanical engineers and scientists is being assembled this week, as North Queensland schools host a series of Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy’s (QMEA) robotics workshops (24 and 25 May), thanks to support from Thiess.

The QMEA, which is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), has travelled to the Whitsunday region where over 60 students from Collinsville and Scottville State Schools and St Johns Bosco Catholic College will use their science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills to program their way through workshop activities.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said primary school students, some as young as Grade Two, will work with an exciting array of new technologies, from programming miniature Lego robots to 3D printing during the STEM Proud Robotics workshops.

“We are thrilled these workshops will feature noted STEM educator Dr Damien Kee, who is an expert at introducing new technology skills to students and teachers alike,” Ms Jones said.

“Students and teachers will benefit from having a world class instructor explain technical concepts like using MIT’s programming language ‘Scratch’, in an engaging and easy to understand format.

“Other workshop activities range from learning to control tiny robots called ‘Spheros’, to interacting with a range of augmented and virtual reality experiences.”

Group Manager, Community, Diversity and Inclusion, Anthea Craig said it’s never too early to inspire a student to pursue studies in an exciting discipline like digital technologies.

“Technology is a driving force of innovation in all stages of life and throughout all industries – especially the resource sector, where remote operations, autonomous systems, data analytics, optimisation and machine learning play a significant role,” Anthea said.

“This workshop allows the next generation to see the impact technology can have in the resource sector and provides a skills development opportunity for students who wish to participate in our STEM Proud Robotics Competition later this year.”

Scottville State School Principal, Ms Naomi Robinson said the QMEA has undertaken a technology audit of each participating school in advance, to tailor the sessions appropriately for the different classrooms and groups.

“Technology has the capacity to heavily influence these students’ futures, and we want to give them confidence in the fields of robotics and programming, to provide them with a wide range of opportunities later in their education journey.

“These skills are vital for both students and teachers, who will each have their own customised session with Dr Kee.

“The teachers will get just as much benefit from these workshops as the students, and this makes us stronger as a school and a community,” Ms Robinson said.

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.

The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with over 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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