The National Schools Poster Competition is keeping kids connected
28 May 2020
Staying connected has never been more important. It has been confronting for our kids, and teachers, to switch their minds from a group setting in the classroom, to several weeks of learning in relative isolation and without the stimulation of peers.
As our students transition back to the classroom setting over the next few months, at different times, creative projects that promote collaboration wherever students are located will hold a great deal of value to them. The capacity to access exciting resources through technology is more important in this context as both students and teachers look for inspirational projects that can be achieved successfully in classroom and remote learning settings.
The National Schools Poster Competition is in its sixth year and is open to students from Stages 2-6. The competition has gained increasing popularity for fostering critical thinking, collaboration and creative use and communication of statistics supporting national curriculum learning outcomes. These features make it an easy selling point for teachers and their students relishing the opportunity for more autonomous learning beyond traditional bookwork.
A 2017 survey showed that taking part in the competition increased students’ enjoyment of statistics and data by 90 per cent.
“The National Schools Poster Competition is a fun, project-based learning activity that encourages primary and secondary students to develop, implement and creatively report on an investigation on any topic of interest to them,” said Competition Coordinator, Professor Peter Howley from The University of Newcastle.
“The value from enabling students to lead small-scale industry-style projects and develop multidisciplinary analytical, quantitative and communication skills cannot be overstated. Students enjoy engaging with statistics as a natural consequence of their investigation – invaluable in this Data Age. Teachers report increased confidence and capacity to engage their students in statistics through this activity and its associated resources,” he said.
Here’s what some students and teachers have to say about the National Schools Poster Competition.
The National Schools Poster Competition is backed by the STEM Industry Schools Partnership (SISP) for its shared focus on providing school-aged learners with an avenue to develop their passion and build skills that will be relevant for their future workforce.
SISP Program Manager, Dr Scott Sleap believes the growth and popularity of the Poster Competition is a testament to the opportunity kids get to showcase their learning journey to multiple audiences such as their peers, school and community, and also leaders in statistics and STEM professions.
“Students undertake small-scale investigations on real-world topics during the poster competition,” Dr Sleap said.
“Their work is presented to and assessed by data-centric industry professionals from various sectors across Australia. This added real-world component allows students to make a mental connection from the project phase to future opportunities – this is authentic learning at its best,” he said.
More than 1,000 students take part in the competition each year and Professor Howley hasn’t let physical distancing hold the contest back.
“We’ve ensured the poster competition can go on just as strong across technology learning platforms; ensuring student development of another critical workforce skill.”
“Whether children are all back in the classroom or some are still learning from home, the Competition is designed for flexible group participation, using all of the technologies we have become so used to, to workshop a poster submission together,” said Professor Howley
Competition organisers are so keen to enable inclusion for all communities, that they have made a grant submission to the Inspiring Australia program: if successful, the team will have resources to establish a “Household” project division, connecting families in STEM. More to come.
Registrations are open (for free) until 1 September annually. Poster submissions due any time before 10 November. For more information visit https://ssapostercomp.info/
STEM Industry School Partnerships
c/o Cessnock High School