Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) hosted the 2022 Tasmanian “It Takes a Spark” STEM Conference at St Brendan Shaw College on Friday, 2 September. The conference was a unique opportunity to bring together students (Years 4 – 10) and their teachers to co-learn and co-lead STEM activities and workshops. Organised by Mr Chris Bracken (CET STEM Coordinator) and Dr Adrian Bertolini (EDU Conferences), the event created the environment for both students and teachers to be inspired by the possibilities of STEM. The conference was officially opened by Dr Gerard Gaskin, Executive Director of Catholic Education Tasmania via Zoom, and all delegates were warmly welcomed by St Brendan Shaw Principal, Mr Frank Pisano. 

The conference had 4 types of sessions: 

#1 – Digi-design: 40-minute hands-on workshops for students (Years 4 – 10) and teachers. 

#2 – Problem Solver Sessions: 80-minute design challenges that lead students and teachers through the design process. 

#3 – STEAM Expo: Hands-on activities of 10-15 minutes during a 45-minute rotation where teachers and students moved around the Expo. 

#4 – Teacher Mini-Masterclass: 40-minute hands-on masterclass on a topic essential for teachers.                                                                                                                                                                          

Marist Regional College was represented by Mr Mark Spurr and a team of student delegates from across Years 7-10. The College also provided a Teacher Mini Masterclass titled “Setting up effective STEM learning in your school”. This was a collaborative presentation by STEM teachers Ms Ann Burke and Mr Darren Cox, alongside STEM student leader, Miss Kate Deane, and was very well received by a group of STEM educators who teach at primary, secondary or tertiary teacher-education college. A lot of STEM learning was done, but most of all, students and teachers enjoyed the fun of discovery, in the company of like-minded learners and the welcome return of hands-on activities, after the long COVID – driven absence of such events. 

Ms Ann Burke 

STEM Coordinator