stem.T4L Learning Library
NSW Department of Education
The STEM Learning Library (or learning library) was developed by the stem.T4L team and SharePoint Gurus as a digital platform to support the objectives of the stem.T4L project. As well as providing an entry point for schools, teachers, principals and other stakeholders to the project, the learning library was developed to be a digital platform for the building of a sustainable STEM community of practice across NSW public schools. The learning library meets this need by providing teachers with
- A place to book STEM kits (e.g. robotics, virtual reality and 3D printing kits)
- Access to professional learning (PL) including local and online workshops and events
- Information on stem.T4L community leaders (12 across NSW) and other PL support
- Support for each kit
- Technical details on how to use the kits
- Learning challenges (project-based learning units of work) to support the kits
- Research related to STEM and opportunities to provide evaluation and feedback
- Guidance on packing and sending kits to the next school
- Advice on teaching students using the STEM kits
- Links to relevant online resources
- Integration with online social media communities that support teachers in STEM
- Support and reporting for damaged or lost equipment
- Advice on buying equipment after kits have gone to the next school
- Case studies of quality teaching and learning within STEM
- News on the project.
Additionally, for the learning library to function as a platform for the
building of a STEM community of practice, the development focused on
supporting teachers in creating, curating and sharing quality teaching
and learning resources in a visual and intuitive way with other teachers
and students across the state.
This unique online space is innovative in its approach for encouraging teachers to share their own resources with a bottom-up community approach instead of the traditional top-down curation and moderation that is so often a go-to for education departments and government bodies everywhere. Teachers are encouraged to use, share, remix and curate resources in a continuum towards creating and sharing their own resources for the benefit of other teachers and students. This unique environment supports teachers to build confidence and expertise in the futures focused approach to learning.
SharePoint Gurus with the stem.T4L education team have led the project from simple whiteboard wireframes to a functioning large-scale solution, using agile project methods and ever changing, incremental requirements as we all started to understand more what the solution could be and could cater for.Leveraging SharePoint Online and Valo Intranet as a base platform, the focus wasn’t on infrastructure or base functionality, but on the application layer architecture, conceptualisation and realisation as the base technology is already proven to be enterprise class.Cloud based agile project management software was used to provide visibility into project updates, tasks and issues. This provided a single source of truth where the design, technical, and client stakeholders had a holistic, real-time view on project progress, outstanding actions and sprints.Wikis in the cloud were utilised to finalise requirements and allow all teams to comment on requirements and wireframes. This approach allowed NSW Department of Education to steer requirements and functionality on a task-based level, by commenting and conceptualising the vision per feature or task.A large portion of time has been allocated during this project to focus on user experience, WCAG 2.0 compliance and making the design of the site fun, user friendly, approachable and easy to use.