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New online portal lets students discover STEM

Written by Mary Rowland, AWA Water Education and Research Network Committee member.

In July 2017, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel launched a national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) portal to enable schools, teachers, students and their families to search for STEM-related activities in their local area.

“STARportal aims to spark the curiosity of students and encourage deeper engagement with skills that are so vital to give humans a competitive edge in a technology-driven world,” Finkel said in a media release.

The STARportal was developed by Engineers Australia with funding from the Australian Chief Scientist and industry sponsors. It is completely free and can be searched by area of interest, age and location, customising the response and ensuring relevance and engagement with the audience.

“STARportal is an example of successful collaboration between government and non-government organisations to the benefit of all Australian students,” Engineers Australia CEO Peter McIntyre said in the same media release.

The list of STEM education activities in the portal includes incursions and excursions, competitions, events, training and online learning for teachers and students. Online learning covers webinar training but also includes online curriculum resources.

It is relatively easy to register and update activity information via the Provider Portal on the STARportal website. Water organisations or water educators can register as STEM education service providers and can also register their curriculum resources, excursions, teacher professional development or teacher/student/community events in their region.

National Water Week will make a splash across Australia from 15-21 October this year. If you’re hosting a water-related event, why not register it on STARportal and then let us know so we can promote it too.