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Monday, 02 Nov 2015

Technology and Engineering Education


STEM is an acronym used to refer to the discipline studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, as well as the interdisciplinary pedagogy where technological/engineering design-based learning approaches are integrated with concepts of science and/or mathematics education.

STEM in the school classroom context refers to the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to make real-world connections and solve problems collaboratively. Sound knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary STEM are predicated on student participation and achievement in core STEM disciplines.

When coined in 2000, STEM was conceived as Science and Mathematics being the “bookends for technology and engineering” (Ramaley, J. National Science Foundation USA).

NSW has the broadest technology and engineering curriculum in the world and is seen as a world leader in STEM education.

In addition to the breadth of options within Science and Mathematics, the Technology and Engineering curriculum options for students from Kindergarten to Year 12 are broad and meet the highest expectations.

Key facts

  • NSW was the first in the world to introduce a pre-degree engineering course for high school students in 1967.
  • Engineering Studies continues to be studied at the NSW HSC and is a pre degree level engineering program.
  • NSW was first in the world to introduce Engineering as a course of study in years 9 and 10.
  • Industrial Technology – Engineering is one of the fastest growing electives in NSW schools. It includes structures, mechanisms, control technology and alternative energy.
  • NSW integrates technology with Science from Kindergarten to year 6.
  • This was a recommendation of the recent review into the Australian Curriculum to reduce clutter. NSW already do this.
  • NSW has had a mandatory study of technology since the 1980s.
  • The original Design and Technology course was mandated for years 7 and 8 and included 25% computing. Technology (mandatory) the current course has ICT in each unit of work.
  • Design and innovative thinking have been at the core of technology study in NSW since the 1980’s when Industrial Arts years 9 and 10 syllabus was introduced.
  • Design and Technology is now a course available from year 9 through to year 12. The exhibition of outstanding innovation is held each year at Sydney’s Powerhouse museum. Projects range from innovative ‘apps’ to 3D printed solutions and embedded systems.
  • Coding opportunities have existed in the NSW curriculum since Computing Studies years 9, 10, 11 and 12 in the early 90’s.
  • 10000 students studied Computing at 2 unit level for the HSC in 1992. In 2015 the much broader range of subjects where computing is used as a tool to create products engage over 20000 students.
  • NSW had the first 3D printer schools in Australia over a decade ago
  • BOSTES has endorsed a world leading school initiative called iSTEM. Integrative Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing.
  • This course, developed in liaison with BOSTES staff, includes high level physics, mathematics, robotics and advanced manufacturing. It is now taught in over 50 schools in NSW.

Subjects where coding can currently be taught include:

  • Industrial Technology – Engineering Stage 5 syllabus (Control Technology module)
  • Information and Software Technology Stage 5 syllabus (Robotics and Automated Systems option; Software Development and Programming option)
  • Software Design and Development HSC syllabus.
    In addition, the following syllabuses provide opportunities to study coding:
  • Information Processes and Technology HSC syllabus
  • Computing Applications Content Endorsed Course HSC syllabus
  • Information and Digital Technologies VET HSC syllabus
  • Industrial Technology Stage 5 and HSC syllabuses (Multimedia and Electronics focus areas)

There is more opportunity to study the application of coding to real world problem solving in NSW than in many other jurisdictions. Updated figures can be found on the BOSTES website.

NSW will take a balanced approach to the implementation of the Australian curriculum. English, Mathematics, Science and History have been implemented for years K – 10, and the review of these subjects for the NSW HSC has recently started.

Further development of Technology and Engineering education, and the inclusion of mandatory coding remains a decision for BOSTES and the Minister, based on the syllabus development process, when it commences for these subjects.

For more information, contact:
Peter Thompson
Inspector, Technology Education
(02) 9367 8454