Second round of 2019 ELSA STEM workshops held in Cairns
Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) is a play-based digital learning program for preschool aged children, designed to support them to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts. Educators from around Australia involved in its pilot trial recently gathered in Cairns for the second in a series of workshops to support the implementation of the program.
Currently in its pilot phase, the ELSA program is a key early childhood initiative of the Australian Government, and has been developed by the University of Canberra, using funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training under the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
Led by Professor Tom Lowrie, ELSA is built on community involvement, collaborating with early childhood education and care (ECEC) educators, preschool program providers and families.
App developers Two Moos – known for their work on apps for Disney, Sesame Street and PBS Kids apps – and Mode Games – the preferred supplier for educational games and apps for Scholastic in the US – have been involved in creating apps for children to use in the ELSA pilot.
Canberra-based app development company, Stripy Sock, have created ELSA’s Educator and Families’ apps. They are best known for their work on high profile entertainment apps such as ABC Kids iView and SBS on Demand.
ELSA has partnered with a number of collaborators to ensure that the project is informed by current research and best practice. Collaborators include:
- Dr Kevin Larkin from Griffith University – providing pedagogical advice
- The DA’s Office – creating all audio for the ELSA children’s apps
- CMD Photographics – providing images for the ELSA website and apps
- Kirrah Amosa – writing and performing songs for the ELSA children’s apps
- Cleo Rose – voicing the ELSA character Piper
- Charlie Dowling – voicing the ELSA character Elliot
- Finley Greig-Byrne – voicing the ELSA character Amy
- Oliver Sofo – voicing the ELSA character Remy.
The second round of educator workshops in support of the ELSA project was held in Cairns in June, with participants from across Australia in attendance.
When specific apps were being discussed, the cohort of 100+ educators split into two smaller groups – new educators and returning educators – to enable a more customised experience.
A spokesperson for ELSA described the occasion as a success, saying ELSA looked forward to running similar workshops in future.
For more information about ELSA, please see the website here.