Donna Buckley is a secondary mathematics teacher at John Curtin College of the Arts located in Fremantle, Western Australia. Donna has been employed by the Department of Education since 2000. She is a level three classroom teacher and co-ordinates the mathematics academic extension programs in the college.
John Curtin College of the Arts has been recognised for its exemplary STEM education programs by winning the Governor’s STEM Award in 2015 and 2016. The college chose not to enter in 2017, instead focusing on providing leadership to other schools. Donna is one of the initial members of the STEAM team in the college, where collaboration between learning areas to develop authentic STEAM activities has been nurtured. Increasingly more and more staff are keen to to board the STEAM train developing the school’s core values of excellence, innovation, imagination and creativity.
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.
Donna has been actively involved with the Maths Association of Western Australia throughout her career. She currently sits on the committee, and in 2017 she re-introduced Maths Talent Quest in Western Australia. This competition requires students to work on a problem in the way a mathematician would.
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 content 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.