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Robots, VR to be introduced in New South Wales schools

The New South Wales government is well aware of the importance of technology today and in the future. That is why, it announced that it will invest $23 million in a new program named STEMShare Community that provides every public school with access to emerging technology, thus adding value to the state’s syllabus and the ICT general capability for the Australian curriculum.

As the name denotes, STEMShare Community program is dedicated to help students develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, including coding, virtual and augmented reality, and 3D printing.

Reforms are being made to many of the state-based technology syllabi from K-10 to 11 and 12 learning areas. A new "technology mandatory" syllabus for K-7 and 8, in addition to a science and technology syllabus for K-6 will also be integrated from next year.

Thanks to the new digital package, both primary and secondary schools will receive 660 kits containing programmable robots, 360-degree cameras and virtual reality viewers, as well as iPads and laptops, from October this year. Training sessions to teachers will also be organized to ensure that they are capable of teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills using emerging technologies.

During the launch of education week at Parramatta Public School, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the funding of this program.

"We live in a digital age. Our students need new knowledge and skills to succeed in their studies, both today and throughout their lives," Berejiklian said. "Mathematical and scientific literacy is a passport to the future and these school kits will unlock student creativity and show them how these disciplines can be applied to real-world learning."

Last year, a similar program was introduced by the Victorian government, however, it was only funded with a value of $1.6 million and focused solely on secondary schools.