iThink (WA Public Sector)

STEM4Innovation - WA Students can STEM the Problems!!

Thank you for your idea

We’ve set our challenge as:  “How do we emerge from COVID-19 impacts with an education system that is responsive, adaptable, contributory, community-linked and future-focussed?” 

The solution we’ve created is 


This project was conceived by Western Australian educators from several schools across the state in conjunction with the Learning Futures Network.

The project aims to contribute to the immediate and future needs of Western Australia through the considered application of STEM learning principles to challenges that face all Western Australians.

Tim Rowberry John Curtin College of the Arts
Phil Casas Comet Bay College
Stella Jinman Cecil Andrews College
Kim Flintoff Curtin University

To generate authentic learning experiences for WA school students to apply STEM-inspired, curriculum-linked, design-thinking processes to solving real-world problems relating to the immediate and future impacts of COVID-19 and other community related needs in Western Australia. This ongoing project to address challenges facing begins with identifying an issue that affects parts of Western Australia. The issues that arise can affect people, environment, business and other social systems that exist in Western Australia. 

Our prototype website is at:

On this website we’ll present a range of challenges that can become the basis of a rich real-world learning experience. You’ll be invited to consider problems you think you can solve by bringing your combined knowledge, skill and connections together in a meaningful way.

You’ll be able to post your solutions to the site and the rest of our community will be invited to vote upon your solutions considering the qualities of Innovation, Originality, Creativity, Impact and the SMART criteria Specific, Measurable/Manageable, Attainable/Achievable, Realistic, Time-framed.

To get involved at very first stage - add your details to our Expression of Interest form:

edited on 5th May 2020, 11:05 by Kim Flintoff
Commenting is closed

The iThink Team 4 months ago

Status label added: Thank you for your idea

The iThink Team 4 months ago

Status label added: Future focus

Matteo Vinci 4 months ago

is this for all students?
ie: TAFE, University...?

Tim Rowberry 4 months ago

Hi Matteo - the concept certainly relates to the potential for ALL students as well as other members of our communities to potentially link in with design teams to assist in the problem solving process.
Our tertiary students are an incredibly valuable asset in terms of collaboration and the empathy they bring from a relatively recent secondary experience.
I have been working with STEM Masters students from Thailand as well as Curtin University students who have joined my student design teams to collaborate on industry related, challenge-based problem solving.
We're looking at ALL possible resources being able to work with our schools including parents, students, and industry members to help build a stronger more contextual learning opportunity via community focused issues.
Thank you for logging in :)
Tim Rowberry
John Curtin College of the Arts

David Gibson 4 months ago

This project offers an opportunity to involve students in real-world problem solving. Students use creative thinking skills to discover empathy for the needs of others, define insights in response, brainstorm and develop ideas that address pressing needs, and create models and solutions that can be tested in the real world. Students work on open-ended challenges as members of problem-solving teams and learn that making a difference in one’s community motivates them to learn more, while developing the skills and confidence to succeed. These are qualities much sought after by universities and workplaces. This is challenge-based learning at its best, supported by a network of innovative teachers, community organizations and universities.

Kim Flintoff 4 months ago

This came in from

Tom Haymes, Ideaspaces, Author of Discovering Digital Humanity (Atbosh Media, 2020),

"Creating opportunities for students to combine technological toolsets with mental toolsets is the key to innovation going forward. This need is particularly timely right now as we watch the human race struggle with a suddenly altered toolbox for teaching, learning and growing while at the same time requiring huge demands of the tools we are left with to solve a global pandemic.

Even before Covid there was an urgent need to develop emergent design thinkers to meet the challenges of climate change and technological change. Covid has compressed these kinds of challenges into a rapidly-moving crisis, making the need for smart, critical thinkers even more urgent.

STEM4Innovation will give its students the necessary skills to survive the current challenges and to build a better world to face the challenges yet to come."

And I believe it highlights the importance of bring young people's voice and action into play. This project is about enhancing our learners, preparing them for the future needs of work and employment, and developing their leadership capabilities for when they take over the reins from us.

Victoria Absalom-Hornby 4 months ago

Fantastic idea. Great collaboration and planning to prioritise children and young people to thrive through solving real world problems.

Norman Baker 4 months ago

STEM4Innovation is an innovative project that will provide participants with the necessary skills to thrive in a world going through unprecedented change. The multidisciplinary nature of the project and bringing toegther all facets of the secondary and tertiary landscape is a real credit to the project team.
As a senior leader within the VET space, I see first hand the benefits of industry, education and community partners willing to work together for innovative and creative solutions.
Design thinking, multidisciplinary approaches coupled with strong leadership will no doubt see us successfully tackling some wicked problems and this project is key to achieving that outcome.

Kim Flintoff 4 months ago

Norman, can I use that quote on our website? Would love to add it to our testimonials page:

The iThink Team 4 months ago

Status label added: Progressed to Health

Samantha-Kaye Johnston 4 months ago

STEM4Innovation represents a forward thinking initiative that seeks to advance the holistic experience of all students. We oftentimes ask the opinions of teachers, principals and administrators, but, too often, students are not included in the decision making process. Given my experience in this area, especially within the context of the development of online learning experiences, I am aware of and appreciate the invaluable contributions that students can and should be making to the development of their learning experience. STEM4Innovation offers this opportunity and we look forward to working along with the team to implement this quintessential initiative.

Dr. Samantha-Kaye Johnston
Research Scientist (Cognitive Psychology & Product Evolution) & Teaching Academic
Cinglevue International & Curtin University

Eileen Mckenzie 4 months ago

'Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking'. (Siemens, 2004)
Today, we have amazing students with fast tracked digital brains. As an "oldie", I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings with our STEM students at the helm. #STEM4Innovation

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Rees Barrett 4 months ago

The UN Association of Australia (WA) heartily endorses the STEM4Innovation initiative. Valuing the involvement of our youngsters in problem-solving and planning for our sustainable future is wise. Research evidence demonstrates the powerful positive impact this has on youth well-being. We would urge the government to promote the use of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as a planning and problem-solving framework in our schools, regional and community development bodies.

Linda Winter 4 months ago

Great idea to have students helping Business and Industry to solve their problems and connecting education and business together bringing the education system up to date with industry and business requirement for the future workforce

Georgina Wigley 4 months ago

Fantastic initiative. Well thought out and VERY relevant!