Grade five and six pupils at Invermay Primary School believe they can make Australia a better place with an app that turns picking up rubbish into an immersive game.
The budding entrepreneurs entered the dragons’ den on Tuesday to pitch their bright idea to a panel of expert judges for the NBN Co’s STEM+X initiative.
The competition pitted eight schools around the country against each other to come up with a piece of technology they believed would make their community a better place.
The presentations took place in their respective classrooms, but were beamed to the company’s Sydney headquarters via video conferencing.
“Our idea is circling around pollution and a recycle dash app is what we’ve chosen,” grade five pupil Edie Burns said.
The school’s STEM teacher Kristy Tidey described the app as a bit like Pokemon Go, but for picking up rubbish.
“They see rubbish on the ground, they pick it up and they scan it and it gives little rewards,” she said. “If they take the rubbish to a recycling centre they will get cash back as well, so there’s two incentives for people to look after the environment.”
The program is a part of NBN Co’s efforts to increase students’ enthusiasm for STEM subjects, according to its Tasmanian corporate affairs manager Russell Kelly.
I think what’s happening is that all businesses and jobs are digital, so having the skills to work through computer-based skills in science is very common.NBN Co Tasmanian corporate affairs manager Russell Kelly
He said it was vital for future generations of students to feel that STEM opportunities were available to them.
“The whole point of it is to try and encourage interest in STEM subjects and to try and show schools and students that STEM is a very big part of future jobs and future education,” he said.
“I think what’s happening is that all businesses and jobs are digital, so having the skills to work through computer-based skills in science is very common.”
Ms Tidey said the Australian curriculum had grown to ensure pupils had greater access to technology.
“They’re learning things that feel relevant to them and important, so it increases the engagement of the students,” she said.
“They take it places I wouldn’t even think of, so its amazing.”