Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) is a play-based digital learning program. It encourages preschool children to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Practices via an Experience, Represent, Apply (ERA) learning loop.
ELSA apps go beyond the screen to encourage active play that supports STEM Practices, such as generating ideas, questioning and teamwork. The apps comprise one third of the program and are a springboard for children to explore the natural world.
The ELSA Pilot commenced in 2018 and will continue in 2019. Over 100 preschool services across Australia will engage in the program, which includes professional learning for educators and real-world play for children to complement the apps. There’s also a Families’ app for parents.
ELSA PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The ESLA Pilot program features six apps: four apps for children, one app for educators and one app for families. The four children's apps include 16 on-app activities, while the educator app features over 100 off-app activities for educators to engage children in at their centre. The Families' app includes 30 STEM-based activities that can be played at home or while out and about. The ELSA Pilot apps are play-based, encourage active learning, and inspire children to explore and interact with their natural world. The pilot is grounded in a revolutionary ERA model (experience, represent, apply), with two-thirds of the program being off-app. And instead of focussing on discreet STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the ELSA apps promote STEM Practices: these are the ideas, methods and values that underpin STEM.
Find out about the latest news and happenings with ELSA
Pictured (L to R): Professor Margaret Gardner AO (Universities Australia Chair), Dr Kevin Larkin, and Professor Kerri-Lee Krause (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, La Trobe University). We are overjoyed to congratulate ELSA academic, Dr Kevin Larkin, on winning the 2018 Australian University Teacher of the Year award. The award was announced at the annual Universities Australia
-> Continue reading ELSA academic Kevin Larkin wins teacher of the year award
Pictured (L to R): Natalie Howson (Director-General), Professor Lynn Liben (USA), Centenary Professor Tom Lowrie (UC), and Meg Brighton (Deputy Director-General). This week the ELSA team welcomed ACT Education Directorate senior staff members Natalie Howson (Director-General) and Meg Brighton (Deputy Director-General) as they stopped by our office for a chat. ELSA team leader, Centenary Professor
-> Continue reading Visit from ACT Education Directorate senior staff
The ELSA team was privileged (and just a little bit excited!) to welcome two world-leading academics in cognitive psychology to our office this week. Professor David Uttal from Northwestern University (USA) and Professor Lynn Liben from Penn State University (USA) are experts in many fields, including spatial reasoning and cognitive and social development. David and
-> Continue reading World-leading academics visit ELSA
The Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Pilot has been officially extended for 2019 by the Australian Government’s Department of Education and Training. The success and widespread appeal of the 2018 pilot among early learning educators and families led to its continuation in 2019. The 2019 ELSA Pilot will see more than 100 preschool services from
-> Continue reading ELSA Pilot officially extended for 2019!
Find out what ELSA Pilot educators had to say about their experiences implementing the program. Louise Brennan from Livingston Kindergarten and Angela Lau from Minifie Park Early Childhood Centre talk about the highlights of ELSA, how it links to the EYLF and what has surprised them most about the program.
The ELSA characters – Remy, Amy, Elliot and Piper – lead children through activities on the four apps. So children in all ELSA Pilot centres are familiar with these characters and their interests. As a thank you to our 100 pilot centres, ELSA had a set of these plushies (or ‘budsies’ as these are called)
-> Continue reading ELSA character plushies (‘budsies’)
The Early Learning STEM Australia Symposium was held at the Inspire Centre, University of Canberra, on 26 October 2018. Eighty stakeholders attended the symposium, including representatives from federal and state government, industry, the education sector and key academics. The program on early learning STEM policy and practice in Australia included speakers from The Australian Curriculum,
-> Continue reading ELSA Symposium
The second round of ELSA Pilot educator workshops took place in August 2018. Workshops were help in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Eighty-seven educators from across Australia – ACT, NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, TAS and NT – attended a two-day workshop led by the ELSA team. Melbourne Dates: Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 August Venue:
-> Continue reading 2018 ELSA educator workshops
The ELSA team were very excited to welcome the University of Canberra’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Deep Saini, to our work space on 18 July 2018. Centenary Professor and Project Lead, Tom Lowrie, spoke to Professor Saini about the ELSA Pilot program. In particular, how the ELSA apps and off-app activities were helping engage children
-> Continue reading UC Vice-Chancellor visits ELSA
ELSA Update The ELSA Pilot is off to a busy start this year! The first children’s app, Patterns and Relationships, has been launched, along with the Educator app. As part of this, pilot educators have been working in their preschools to implement off-app activities that support children to explore and engage further in their understanding of
-> Continue reading ELSA Newsletter May 2018
WIN TV Canberra dropped by The ELSA office at the University of Canberra to interview Centenary Professor Tom Lowrie about his work on the pilot in the lead up to the launch. Watch the segment that aired on WIN NEWS TV on 27 March 2018 below.
ELSA Project Lead, Centenary Professor Tom Lowrie, was invited into the ABC studios to talk about the launch of the ELSA Pilot. Tom was interviewed by ABC Radio host Laura Tchilinguirian on her Drive program. Listen to a segment of the radio interview in the sound file below.