The Kookaberry Project
The Kookaberry Project is an initiative of the AustSTEM Foundation, whose aim is to raise the average level of STEM Literacy in Australian schools - starting in Primary.
The Foundation's Directors recognised that a major impediment to the use of existing technology education tools such as the micro:bit, Arduino, or Raspberry Pi, across all STEM subjects is the time taken to programme (code) them, and their reliance on an internet connection that can be unreliable in rural and regional Australia.
They also recognised that many teachers are uncomfortable with coding and technology, and would welcome focused and sustained professional development to help them apply the new Technologies curriculum effectively.
AustSTEM created a Design Brief for the Kookaberry technology platform that overcame these issues, and developed the following Road Map to take both teachers and their students on a STEM Experiential Learning Journey through their school years commencing in Stage 3.
The AustSTEM Foundation, as a not-for-profit charity seeking Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status to fund its initiatives, is acting as a one-stop-shop for the ordering and delivery of all the components, including the Kookaberry platform, of the STEM Experiential Learning Journey. Should there be a technology platform better suited than the Kookaberry to underpin the Journey - AustSTEM will have no hesitation in recommending its purchase.
AustSTEM Delivery and Support Roadmap
Trials Commencing Term 1, 2021
Subject to a minimum number of orders received by September 2020, AustSTEM aims to commence trials of the STEM Experiential Learning Journey in schools from Term 1, 2021.
Click the button below to discover how your school or institution can participate in these trials.
The Kookaberry Platform
The Kookaberry platform at the heart of the STEM Experiential Learning Journey is the result of pro bono work by Australian engineers working to the Design Brief in collaboration with industry. It is an open source design and is currently being made by GPC Electronics in Penrith, Australia.
Physically, it is a little computer (a microcontroller) with a screen; battery; handle; and a menu of pre-coded applications and accompanying peripherals (sensors and control elements).
It is built around the popular and Australian designed MicroPython programming language (the same as is used by the micro:bit) , which can be edited by its custom designed graphical and text based editors (KookaBlockly and KookaIDE).
Along the Journey, teachers and their students will learn how to use the Kookaberry to capture, display, analyse and manipulate data to enhance the content of lesson plans and units of work across the whole curriculum - not just Technologies.
It works straight out of the box, is simple to use, requires no coding experience, Internet, or WiFi; and brings the Internet of Things and real-world data into project-based and experiential learning throughout the curriculum.
It makes data accessible......
The STEM Experiential Learning Journey
The STEM Experiential Learning Journey is a service offered by the AustSTEM Foundation to equip teachers and their students from Stage 3 to Stage 6 with the necessary skills to recognise, organise, evaluate, and use the data that is increasingly part of our everyday life.
Students can customise the existing code, or create new code, using the KookaSuite code editors. They can start with the KookaBlockly graphical MicroPython code editor before moving to the KookaIDE text based MicroPython editor.
Teacher Induction and Professional Learning
The first step on the Journey is to introduce teachers to the Kookaberry and improve their Digital Technologies (DT) and Design and Technologies D&T) skills at scale.
AustSTEM is therefore developing a self-paced online induction course leading to their accreditation as Kookaberry teachers.
The course will be built around small videos using the Kookaberry and its peripherals to illustrate fundamental principles in a STEM subject. The course will deliver at least 4 hours of professional learning to teachers from Stage 3 onward. Teachers enrolling in the course will be able to access at least 1 hour of on-line mentoring and support.
To gain accreditation teachers will be required to submit at least one lesson plan on completion of their course.
Learning plans include everything that can contribute to the use of a Kookaberry for teaching and learning. Contributions by users will be both welcome and helpful to others.
They can be lesson plans; units of work; tutorials; experiments; workshops; projects or anything else considered useful by a contributor.
They will be mapped to curriculum outcomes and can be searched by Type, Learning Area and Year.
Pre-programmed applications (apps) ensure that relevant data, measurements, or specific activities such as servo or pump controls, are available as soon as an app is selected; peripherals are connected; and the app is run.
They are mapped to both Learning Plans and Peripherals, and can be searched by Category (Energy; Motion; Fun/Games; etc).
Contributions by users will be both welcome and helpful to others.
Plug-and-play peripherals include input devices such as sensors, keyboards, push buttons, potentiometers, and switches; and output devices such as loudspeakers, buzzers, servos, pumps, heaters, and relays.
They are mapped against Apps and can be searched by Output Type (analogue or digital); Type (Climate; Motion; Temperature; etc); Voltage; and Brand.
Software & Editing Tools
The software needed to run the apps can be downloaded directly from the specific app pages, or from the Software Downloads page which also contains the latest App and File register.
A KookaSuite folder containing two code editors (one graphical and one text based), and a Teacher's Window which mirrors the screen of a tethered Kookaberry, is now available.
Unlike most current editors, KookaSuite is resident on a PC or laptop and does not require an internet connection to operate.
Use across the curriculum
Current technology education tools are difficult to use outside of the technology classroom or maker spaces due to the time to set up; complicated connections; and the need to code them to achieve their intended purpose.
The Kookaberry overcomes these issues. and demonstrates how easy it is to understand the underlying technology and coding involved.
Current lesson plans and apps have been gathered into Tutorials relevant to a given subject. The first such Tutorial is for Music
It's all about data
The Kookaberry can measure, display, and store continuously changing real world data both inside and outside the classroom.
Instant data that will make Science, Mathematics and many other subjects exciting and relevant to the real world
Data can be transmitted from multiple Kookaberries using different sensors to a teacher's Kookaberry over their packet radios for analysis and display as a single Excel file.
Living in the digital world
The Kookaberry is a digital system like the digital systems that send a signal to the driver if their car is too close to the car in front; or a burglar alarm.....
When used in combination with its lesson plans, apps, peripherals, and projects, the Kookaberry brings the Internet of Things and real world of data alive in the classroom.
ACARA Technologies Curriculum
Supporting the curriculum
The Kookaberry supports teachers in delivering national and state science and technologies education outcomes.
NSW Science & Technology Syllabus
Digital systems are now a part of everyday life, and every subject that is taught can benefit from using at least some of the technology that we take for granted outside of the classroom.
The Kookaberry' ability to quickly turn itself into many different tools makes it easy to use in subjects across the curriculum.
STEM progression and mentoring
The Kookaberry learning platform can be seen as a bridge seamlessly connecting primary and secondary STEM teaching and learning.
Students in Stage 5 (years 9 and 10), can give purpose to their practical technology studies by designing Kookaberry apps and projects for students in Stages 2 and 3 (years 3 to 6) and then mentoring them in their use.
Made in Australia to support the Australian Curriculum
The Kookaberry has been designed, developed, and is being made in Australia
The Kookaberry is an educational tool intended to shape the culture surrounding the implementation and use of technology across the curriculum.
Professional learning modules similar in structure to the Induction course will be developed to allow teachers to fully realise the potential of the Kookaberry platform to enhance content across the curriculum.
The Kookaberry is inexpensive and independent of WiFi and the internet
Classrooms in very remote, remote, and outer regional Australia will have access to the same technology and support that inner regional and major cities currently enjoy.
The AustSTEM Foundation
The AustSTEM Foundation is a not-for-profit charity whose long term aim is to increase the number of students electing to study higher level STEM subjects from Year 9 onwards.
AustSTEM is funding the development of the Kookaberry digital learning platform.