Wednesday, 19 June 2019 21:36

Riverina championships to test programming, STEM skills of school students

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Riverina championships to test programming, STEM skills of school students Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Charles Sturt University AgriTech Incubator is conducting a Riverina Inter-School Programming Championship aimed at improving the computer programming and science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills of school students in the Riverina region.

The University announced on Wednesday that it had joined with the Riverina Anglican College to co-host the championship for Years 9 and 10 school students in Wagga Wagga on 21 June.

The championship will be staged at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, starting at 9.30am.

AgriTech Incubator project officer Siobhain Howard said, “The competition highlights the importance of programming and STEM skills as students prepare to move into the workforce.

“For the past eight months the AgriTech Incubator, the Charles Sturt School of Computing and Mathematics, and The Riverina Anglican College (TRAC) have been developing a programming competition for the Riverina.

“We are thrilled to join with the college to help develop Riverina students’ skills sets in order to think differently and innovatively and to solve problems.”

Howard said, “STEM and digital literacy skills are so important, not only for now but for jobs of the future, so we hope that the program will build aspiration for students to continue to develop their skills in this area as nearly every occupation involves some interaction with digital technology.”

A five-week learning resource for school students had been developed with Code Club Australia using the Python Programming language.

Howard said use of the resource commenced in early May and was delivered by teachers in their classrooms to prepare students for the championship competition.

“The competition is aimed at Years 9 and 10 Riverina students who have any level of programming experience.

“The five-week learning course aims to bring all students, be they novice or advanced, up to speed to be ready for competition day,” Howard concluded.Senior lecturer in the Charles Sturt School of Computing and Mathematics Dr Quazi Mamun said, “Programs like the Riverina’s Inaugural Inter-School Programming Championship teach our students important computer coding skills that will allow them to design their own futures.”

The championship competition aims to:

  • Improve programming and STEM skills of students in the Riverina;
  • Connect schools to Charles Sturt, and schools to each other; and
  • Connect the computing and STEM teachers in the region and increase collaboration.

STEM teacher Isaac Mannion said, “The championship represents the accumulation of learning and training by a number of Riverina school students who will compete for the title and be awarded the shield to be displayed at their school.

“I am excited to be a part of STEM initiatives in regional Australia, and the championship is one way in which we are developing our regional capacity and engaging students to consider their future in STEM-related fields”.

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