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Stephanie commented on Perspective from a post-secondary student and educator

Hi Kate,

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you found it useful. I'm really passionate in this area and I'm so happy that this is an IDEO challenge :)

I think Australia- and specifically Perth is slowly creating these types of initiatives. At the moment they are focused more on the tech field, rather than the more "pure" science field. However, I believe the University of Western Australia (UWA) is partnering/ has partnered with Standford program SPARK Co-lab that looks at innovation in medical devices. A start-up lab I started in is the Bloom Lab (http://www.bloom.org.au/), they provide for youth start-up/businesses. They have just partnered with UWA to run a unit that allows students to start a business regardless of their field of study. The UWA faculty of science has also just trialled a program where science students do "internships/project work" as part of their second-year course. So they are starting to address these issues.

Re: are our best teachers rewarded

I think this resonates with me. In Australia, I find that many of the actual hands-on teaching staff (tutorial/ labs etc- not lectures) are by casual contractors. This unfortunately, means we have very little rights in the system. I have also taught in a range of disciplines, and in some courses, I have great bosses that foster our innovation and include us in designing better courses. But I have also worked with bosses that ignore all suggestions and even when mistakes are pointed out in the lab book. I love teaching and that's why I have stayed as a casual contractor for the last few years. But I'm at the stage where I feel that despite the good work I know I do (from student and staff feedback) I know I'm not valued in my school or university. I know we're shifted towards more of a business model where the aim is to get as many students in as possible and worry about the teaching quality later. It makes me sad because I want to help each and every one of my students, and I can't do that when the system treats me like a replaceable cog in their giant wheel.

Re: advanced openness

I agree with more open and collaborative learning. And when you get students to do it, oh my gosh it yielded fantastic results! This year I took the approach to mix up my class and make sure students didn't sit with their cliques and I made sure they worked together and shared answers etc. They really enjoyed the process, the whole classes has a better vibe- students were more likely to participate and engage with me and others and I believe it allowed students to learn content in a variety of ways without putting the onus on me. It encouraged students to be more independent learners.

In Australia the start up scene has really been growing! We've got a bunch of start up co working places such as Bloom lab (for uni students), Spacecubed and Flux as well a whole heap more. The government and these co working spaces have started to run more and more hackathons addressing various local social issues. I know over east in Melbourne I think these are the Education Change Makers that is perhaps an accelerator program for those who work in the education field. There is also Enkel which I'm a director of- we're creating a network as well as programs graduates can tap into to learn about their purpose and why, as well as how to repurpose the skills they've learnt into something they want to do.