STARportal is a free database that connects students, teachers and parents to local activities promoting participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This new, easy-to-use tool is designed to help students extend their learning beyond the classroom.
With over 400 scientific activities already listed on the portal, the online platform features various STEM programs delivered by providers across the country, from “Code it Yourself” camps and computer game making courses to astronomy nights, to science writing workshops and forensic science workshops.
How it works
STARportal is designed to make it easier to find STEM programs. Event providers create a free account on the website and can then showcase their events and programs while connecting with teachers, parents, and students. Users are then able to scroll through hundreds of immersive events at their fingertips.
“Science doesn’t start and stop at the classroom door – it’s everywhere,” said Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr. Alan Finkel when launching the portal during National Science Week at Parliament House in Canberra.
“If families and teachers don’t know about these programs, students miss out.”
Organisations that offer STEM activities can now post their events on the portal and share them with the community.
Why it matters
The STARportal’s goal is to spark students’ curiosity through offering them a wide range of activities that give them the competitive edge they need in a technology-driven future. With computers both replacing and creating jobs, STEM skills in the workplace are becoming increasingly essential.
Technology changes so quickly that students need to prepare for careers that have not yet come into existence. Being technologically savvy is no longer an option—it’s a necessity.
Moreover, STEM activities challenge students to think outside-the-box and work together to solve problems. In this way, engaging with STEM disciplines teaches students vital life skills, such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.
No matter the student’s career interest, these skills extend far beyond the workplace. But the purpose of STARportal is to encourage students to fall in love with science, and see how important it is.
Dr. Finkel invited everyone to try STARportal, claiming that, “taking an interest in science is signing up to the future. And the future needs YOU. Why not see what opportunities are there for you?”