Article Illustrations Technical Subjects

In Australia, STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) present a unique set of challenges to students and teachers. But it is possible to make content heavy subjects illuminating within the confines of the classroom.

In 2018, the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) reported that student engagement and performance in STEM was declining, the STEM curriculum unbalanced and fragmented with a dwindling supply of qualified teachers.

While this would be a damning school report for any student, it presents an excellent opportunity to consider all the ways virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology is helping Australian teachers to bring STEM subjects to life.

“Ensuring all Australians can be engaged in STEM is a key priority” for the Australian Government. As one of its strategies for the future, the government highlights the importance of being able to applying STEM knowledge and skills.

The government wholeheartedly believes that “action on STEM is critical to: Australia’s ability to compete in international markets, creating new opportunities for industries and supporting high living standards.”

So there’s no better time to think differently about how we teach the STEM disciplines. At TFE Solutions we’ve every confidence that STEM subjects can be brought to life in the classroom because we see this every day.

While Google Expeditions Kits allows students to travel anywhere in place or time, additional AR software now makes it possible for students to explore the human body, walk through our solar system or create an interactive chemistry lab.

It’s technology like this that’s encouraging more students to pursue STEM pathways and their teachers the opportunity to draw on external resources, like free lesson plans and professional learning development from TFE Solutions.

Our STEM Innovation Lab program has been designed to make VR and AR technology accessible for teachers and students, so they can take their experiences back to the classroom and build on their learning.

When students visit our lab, they’re invited to solve real world STEM-related problems, using their critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills, all while immersed in a VR and AR surrounding environment.

Our STEM Innovation Lab program has been designed to make VR and AR technology accessible for teachers and students, so they can take their experiences back to the classroom and build on their learning.

When students visit our lab, they’re invited to solve real world STEM-related problems, using their critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills, all while immersed in a VR and AR surrounding environment.

The experience is profound, for teachers and students alike.

“At first I didn’t really know how much I could move or walk around, but when I got used to it I was looking at everything and it was really exciting,” reported a student from Mercedes College. “It makes it so much easier to learn.”

Fergus Grant, Digital Learning Coordinator at Mercedes College observed: “They were able to go further than a textbook or website could take them, talk about what they were learning with each other and get guidance from the stimuli provided.”

“At first I didn’t really know how much I could move or walk around, but when I got used to it I was looking at everything and it was really exciting,” reported a student from Mercedes College. “It makes it so much easier to learn.”

Fergus Grant, Digital Learning Coordinator at Mercedes College observed: “They were able to go further than a textbook or website could take them, talk about what they were learning with each other and get guidance from the stimuli provided.”

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I’ve worked quite a lot with VR technology before and just to see this, well it’s not something we can give our kids every day at our school.”


Our STEM Innovation Lab program also offers incursions where we share the latest VR and AR technology with schools throughout New South Wales and Victoria, with 10% of all proceeds from the program going towards supporting Girls in STEM.

By Dr. Marissa Bond

15 Apr. 2020

Marissa develops exciting and innovative educational experiences for students and supports teachers in embracing cutting-edge technology in their classrooms. Marissa is an experienced STEM communicator and qualified teacher with a love of tech, tinkering and coding. In 2017 she completed her PhD which focused on developing and evaluating software using virtual people to help children with autism improve their social skills.

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