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Maths geek Adam Spencer a STEM star in the Hunter

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Australian comedian, media personality and former radio presenter Adam Spencer is heading to the Hunter this week.

The self-confessed maths geek will join teaching guru Eddie Woo and futurist Dr Catherine Ball as the stars of STEM 2023 for teachers at Rydges Resort, Lovedale, from Wednesday 31 August to Friday 1 September.

More than 600 educators are scheduled to attend the conference, which includes two days of keynote speeches and workshops.

All activations will be tailored to the practical teaching of the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – in primary and secondary schools.

Other speakers include internationally-recognised expert in classroom practice Professor Peter Liljedahl from Simon Fraser University, Canada; and astrophysicist and the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith.

NSW Department of Education secretary Murat Dizdar will open the conference on Wednesday.

“The speakers and workshops should be an inspiration to teachers as well helping progress their professional development,” he said.

“The level of expertise and variety of specialisms addressed at this conference are second to none.

“The passion of the keynote speakers, their knowledge and wisdom will no doubt give our teachers new insights, which they will be able to share with their peers, as well as adding to their own professional growth.”

NSW Department of Education’s STEM curriculum support advisor Dr Scott Sleap said the popularity of the gathering reflected STEM’s central place in Australia’s society and economy.

“The attraction of the conference for both presenters and participants is testimony to the importance now being placed on these subjects,” he explained.

“They are so critical to society as well as the future prospects of students studying them.”

Keynote speeches will be given in the first half of each morning, with topics such as expanding the idea of maths in students’ minds, maths as a universal language, learning inspired by space, the place of AI and how to truly engage students in their learning.

The remainder of the days will be taken up with a wide range of workshops (on Thursday) and longer, more detailed sessions (on Friday), with subjects including girls and mathematics, mathematical teaching tools, Aboriginal perspectives, robotics, maths and surveying, mechatronics, and a mission to Mars.

The event, organised by the NSW Department of Education in partnership with the Hunter School of the Performing Arts, is an initiative of the STEM Industry School Partnerships Program and the NSW Mathematics Strategy.

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