In the 21st century, learning has become more accessible for students, with new programs and technologies schools are adopting aiming to make learning easy for students.
In the changing scenario, the education system has been focusing on students’ overall growth by making the learning process fun and exciting. Moreover, with the use of various technologies, the rote learning system has been taking its last breath. And various technologies like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, STEM programs, and others are assisting the schools in employing innovative teaching methods.
Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality use various communication means like audio, visual, audio-visual and a few real-time case studies to ease conceptual learning. Whereas the STEM program has grown popular in recent years, it provides a curriculum that aims to indulge various skills in the students and provide them with a cohesive learning platform where the students learn real-world applications.
Moreover, as one of the most advanced programs in the education system, many schools still lack in providing the same to their students. Catering to this need of the emerging education system, Damien Aldridge is influencing and collaborating with various schools to adopt the new program in their curriculum.
After teaching primary students for a considerable amount of time, he realized the need for a STEM and Problem-Based Learning program to complete the learning arc of students. And then, he met with his business partners in the school and came up with an idea to fill the gap in the education system and Founded the Ed-Tech platform STEM Punks.
He started his startup with a primary mission of ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Innovators.’ Damien Aldridge believes in equity and equality in providing education with several projects and programs worldwide students can access.
Read ahead for more detailed information about Damien Aldridge and his venture.
Please let us know about the saga story of your career since its beginning.
I was a primary school teacher in Brisbane, Queensland, and for years I was frustrated with the lack of STEM, fun and Problem Based Learning that was being taught in schools. I met my business partners by chance at a school; they had the same visions and concerns; STEM Punks grew from there.
Tell us about your future success’s mission, vision, and core values.
The mission is simple, Inspiring tomorrow’s innovators. At STEM Punks, we believe in equity and equality within education; we aim to ensure that we have projects and programs that students worldwide can access.
Being a prominent leader, how do you manage to influence others?
Influencing is an interesting term; I believe in our products, platforms, and methods. If our processes are naturally successful, others will notice and like to follow or collaborate. Being an influencer, I will also suggest leading from the front, having unique ideas and being bold enough to embrace failures and successes.
During your journey, what challenges you came across, and how did you overcome them? I am sure everyone in the world would agree with that.
Being an Ed-Tech entrepreneur can sometimes be overwhelming, with a workload that includes deadlines and travel commitments while simultaneously developing new programs. I try to break the workload into manageable chunks, listen to my mind/body on when to rest or push, and exercise every day to help with feeling overloaded.
I still overcome challenges daily, such as learning to use new technology, developing teaching techniques or designing a new program. There are still many areas with limited access to technology and equipment, so we use a creative mindset to build STEM programs that can be adapted to any school, even if they only have chalkboards, paper and pencils. While this can be challenging for an Ed-Tech company, we believe that it is essential for all students and schools to have access to world-class STEM education.
Do you provide any global exposure in your institute?
Oh, for sure! We currently focus on the big three projects: Space, Sustainability and Innovation Sports.
Space missions are five full days being booked worldwide; these missions have students attending five full days with STEM Punks, Astronauts and Space industry experts. The mission teaches Project Based Learning, Problem Based Learning and transitions to Work Based Learning (within the space industry) – all whilst learning from some of the world’s best educators. We have teams travelling across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the USA with this program.
Innovation Sports is a new sport that STEM Punks created and developed over the past year. I could see that esports was becoming popular; however, many programs or platforms had no educational benefit or aligned with STEM Punks philosophies.
Innovation Sports started as an idea to make Design Thinking fun, fast and interesting. The event uses a blend of Design Thinking, STEM and esports. We do face-to-face tournaments, online competitions, and brand-new hybrid competitions; this is very exciting, as students from across the world can compete against each other in Design competitions in real-time.
Sustainability programs are currently running across Australia. We focus on the SDG goals and incorporate Problem Based Learning to allow students to understand sustainability, environmental challenges, STEM, Entrepreneurship, and prototyping.
What major factors keep motivating you towards your goal, and how do you inspire students to select an interesting career for their bright future?
I choose projects that are interesting to me – this keeps the energy high and eyes firmly on the goals of ‘inspiring tomorrow’s innovators.‘ I am also lucky enough to travel the world helping students and communities. There is always excitement about seeing a new country, helping out a new school or providing assistance to teachers that need it.
I would always ask students to be exposed to different industries and see the world, find the passions that interest them and embrace creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Which activities do you conduct in your institute to maintain maximum student Engagement?
For Innovation Sports online competition rounds, the numbers can be limitless as it will all be online; for in-person events, Innovation Sports events can have up to 1000 by incorporating the hybrid method of having students all around the world competing together. The Space mission programs typically cater to an average of 500 students per event, depending on the venue or convection centre’s capacity; these events are always sold out and often require waitlists. Our corporate sponsors are the conduit that links industry to education, and we are currently seeking more large companies for events in 2023.
STEM Punks TV (App) has streamed to countless homes, teachers and students from across the globe, which is a humbling feeling; the App has a lot of STEM lessons, activities and other videos to inspire students to get into the STEM industry in a fun tv-show style format.
How do you feel when you know that others are following in your footsteps, and what else do you do so that people keep following you?
It is a great feeling, as I know I am doing something right. When someone follows me, I hope they laugh, get motivated, be educated, and feel inspired.
As an inspiring leader, what would be your message to students worldwide?
To enjoy your time, know that your grades as a student will not define you as an adult. Make a habit of being creative and honest and have a good work ethic.
What is your envision for your institute/organization and you also?
For me, being able to see new countries and help new communities with STEM Punks teaching methods and ensuring long-term changes in those schools is to ensure the legacy of STEM Punks techniques.
STEM Punks will open more dates for our Space and Sustainability events (currently all booked out) and introduce the world series of Innovation Sports in 2023!
Read More : theeducationview.com