Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Environmental Education Research Group

Re-imagining futures in STEME

The International Dialogue on STEM Education

Posted by Prof. Coral Campbell on January 7, 2020

On 5 and 6 December, I attended IDoS in Berlin, Germany, joining a group of 100 invited scientists, decision-makers in politics, economy, civil society and culture, and representatives of leading STEM education initiatives worldwide with a focus on “STEM Education for Sustainable Development“.  We gathered to discuss and debate the question “How do we empower children, through STEM education, to contribute to creating sustainable societies?” Recognising that with a rapidly changing world, global developments (digitization, climate change, increasing social inequality and migration) impact the lives of all people, including those still in pre-school, the discussion focussed on how education could and should help children become self-determined adults who can shape change to global challenges. We considered how STEM education could contribute to the fulfilment of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The conference included a number of key note presentations on broad themes:

  • Professor Dr Ilan Chabay“Launching children on pathways to sustainable futures with curiosity and STEM learning”.
  • Dr Ha Vinh Tho –“Educating towards sustainability: Connecting to Self, Others and Nature”

Open dialogue continued through the presentation of key international initiatives, workshops and other forums.  Australia’s Primary Connections Program was represented with Claudette Bateup (AAS) developing the conference theme. ( )

At the conclusion of IDoS, a Position Paper, developed at IDoS in 2017 and reviewed at IDoS 2019, was ratified. It provides a set of guiding principles based on discussions around the following points.

  • The Global Challenge: The Need for Sustainable Development
  • The Need for a Future-Oriented STEM Education
  • Value of STEM & Research in an Enlightened Society
  • Inquiry-Based STEM Education
  • Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
  • An Integrated Approach: STEM Education for Sustainable Development (STEM4SD Education)
  • How to Make it Work? A Framework and Examples of Practical Approaches

Overall, I found that the conference stimulated, but also challenged my thinking about how I view science and STEM in the context of our global world and how I relate this to local learning.

Coral Campbell

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