Donna Buckley is a secondary mathematics teacher at  John Curtin College of the Arts located in Fremantle, Western Australia. Employed by the WA Department of Education since 2000, she is a level three classroom teacher and co-ordinates the mathematics academic extension program. John Curtin is a Teacher Development School (TDS) for STEM education in WA and she is the Mathematics Outreach contact for this TDS STEM school.

The college’s core values of excellence, innovation, imagination and creativity are the drivers behind the college’s excellent achievements and recognition in STEM education. The privilege of working with such creative and imaginative students, the teachers at the college have the platform to be equally inspiring and creative in their daily practice.

Donna believes that digital literacy is a core competency, and students need to develop this alongside their numeracy and literacy. She uses the Python language to develop computational thinking in her students and runs a lunch time club that teaches students to program and problem solve, in training for the Australian Informatics Competition. For any teachers trying to find a source for teaching the Digital Technologies Curriculum, she recommends that you look at the resources on GROK learning.

As a committee member of the Maths Association of Western Australia she has re-introduced Maths Talent Quest to WA, is a teacher advisor for the Day of STEM committee and for the GameChanger Awards.

Though the Day of STEM platform she has completed the Cyber Teacher training and is currently exploring how an Introduction to Cybersecurity course could be implemented at the college.

As an author of the Essential Mathematics textbooks for Year 11 and 12 students she brings a unique perspective on what real life every day mathematics looks like for students. The Essential Mathematics is a course for students who are not looking at studying at university. They learn to use the mathematical thinking processes to solve real world problems. Utilising her students mobile phone use she has created MzB MATHS ESSENTIAL on SNAPCHAT. This enables students to follow her mathematical story,  learning some of the IMG_20170919_070017content skills they require in a platform that they are familiar with.

We all need a little inspiration, and the activities being developed at JCCA do inspire. The blogs  have been written to inspire classroom teachers at the grass roots level to lift the quality of STEAM education in their own school. With a little inspiration from the arts, we can increase the participation, engagement and aspiration of students in the STEM learning areas.