Questacon Smart Skills is a free touring program developed for secondary school students to immerse them in ideas, technology and creativity. By encouraging students to play with technology and make inventive creations, the workshops engage and challenge them to find the innovator within.
Questacon Smart Skills—which is made available by Questacon’s Principal Partner The Ian Potter Foundation and Technology Partner Samsung Electronics Australia—was initially trialled in four schools in the Canberra region, with 270 students participating in nine workshops.
Following the successful trial Questacon Smart Skills hit the road, with three tours undertaken in 2015. The program toured a total of 75 schools across Tasmania (16-27 March), the NSW South Coast (9-19 June) and Central Victoria (31 August - 11 September) and engaged 5,317 students, and 118 teachers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Samsung technology was integrated into the workshops engaging participants in the process of innovation. This provided an opportunity to learn how to harness the power of smartphones and tablets to innovate, design and experiment.
A Year 7 student who took part in the NSW South Coast program said: “my favourite part of the workshop was using the tablets to design different prototypes and changing them to make it better. It showed me that I am capable of building things with limited materials and space.”
On the Victorian tour a Year 12 student enjoyed seeing how his prototype might come to life: “taking what we did digitally and constructing it in real life was very good as it helped visualise and see the practicality in real life.”
To complement the school workshops, Questacon delivered a series of Questacon Smart Skills Teacher Workshops, with 194 teachers participating in the program.
Questacon is planning for a busy Questacon Smart Skills program in 2016, with tours planned for Western NSW (29 February - 18 March), Regional South Australia (6 - 25 June) and South East Queensland (8 - 26 August).
More information about Smart Skills is available on Questacon’s website.