STEM MAD National Showcase in Melbourne
Year 10 students Emily, Tilda and Sophie and Year 11 student Imogen were invited to attend the STEM MAD National Showcase in Melbourne to demonstrate their award-winning apps from the recent state finals. The students set up a display and communicated their STEM projects with an audience of Catholic Education staff and students across Australia. The experience affected students in different ways.
For Sophie, it was in relation to her public speaking. She reflects:
“Public speaking was a worry of mine, even before the trip as I was scared that I’d say the wrong thing. Then, when we were setting up in the showcase room my worries became worse. At first, I was a bit hesitant about speaking to people about our project, but as the day progressed, I became more confident. I found myself speaking naturally. Ms Villis had told me that this would happen, and it did”.
For Emily, she liked the connection she felt with people. She reflects:
“It was exciting to meet people who were passionate about our topic. There was one lady who came back to us several times, to ask more questions. She showed a genuine interest in our concept, and she spoke to us about the possibility of taking our ideas further, outside of this project. At times it was sad when people shared their own experiences with family members who live with Alzheimer’s, but their connection and desire to help loved ones came through clearly”.
For Tilda, it was about pride. Tilda reflects:
“One of the main things about this whole experience was how much pride I felt. In Mr Cotton’s class, we learnt about the design thinking process and developed our idea. We got an A, which was good, but what I hadn’t experienced before was my work being shared and showcased with people outside of the school. Not only were we proud to be recognised at a state level, but we never thought we’d get to a national level”.
For Imogen, the experience has helped her to develop as a person. She reflects:
“This project has helped me to develop as a person, I guess. I used to be a very shut-in person, so when I started this task last year as a Year 10 student, I was nervous about the possibility of my thoughts and work going outside the classroom. I didn’t finish my project in time to submit it last year, but Ms Villis asked my permission to share a video with a lady from Catholic Education SA. In my video I had recorded about my own experiences and how anxiety might affect students. I said yes, the video was shared and when I got the feedback that I did, I was really excited! It was the first time that I had had so much pride in my schoolwork.
Then this year I worked more on my anxiety app, entered into the comp, and being selected at a state level was like a peak! Life was getting better! Then me at a national level, awesome. I have become more of a confident person, and I now speak more to others, it is just great”.
Thank you to Mr Thomas Cotton for taking this project on this year with his Digital Technologies class, the students’ reflections speak of the power and value of the STEM MAD project.
Ms Joanne Villis
Digital Technologies Coordinator (R-12)