Motivating future engineers

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has launched a new campaign to make science courses more relevant to secondary school students and to counter their lack of motivation to study science.

The Academy will launch its STELR Project (Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance) in 2008 with the intention of reversing the steadily declining participation rates in secondary school science courses.

The pprogram will be launched in four Victorian high schools in 2008, with the support of the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). It will focus on relevance, and the facilitation of teacher training and resources.

The STELR pilot program has been designed to assist the teaching of science and technology by building on the traditional teaching of chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology through the provision of a laboratory theme that allows many of the principles of each of these disciplines to be explored by secondary school students in a “real world” context.

The program will use thematic teaching to supplement discipline-based teaching and the theme for the program is renewable energy.

This highly relevant technology context will be supplemented by curriculum support materials for the teachers (based on modern pedagogical principles such as inquiry-based learning) and will be further supplemented by professional development training for the teachers.

The pilot program will cost around $300,000 to $350,000 to run.