In our first couple of years, Slam pioneered some of the most exciting and educational STEM after-school and holiday sessions for kids of all ages with the SLAM Academy. We collaborated with schools in the Hunter Valley and partnered with the University of Newcastle, Cisco and various local organisations to elevate STEM skills in the region and provide engaging events for students.
Slam's Next Level Professional Learning packages were run in schools, including an end-to-end hybrid PL package to support STEM uplift in schools.
As NSW Education launched STEMShare, our directors transitioned into pivotal roles, honing their skills. Rob worked with the NSW Department of Education to build out the STEMShare project for public schools across the state. He went on to design and deliver some of the most innovative and impactful digital solutions seen in the Department of Education for online professional learning, device ordering, statewide cloud migrations and education event management.
John, as director of the AustSTEM Foundation, co-led the development of the Kookaberry, an innovative board to revolutionise Australian STEM education. He also championed the transformation of Engineering teaching in Australian curricula, including shepherding Engineers Australia and ATSE to lobby successfully for greater inclusion of Engineering in the new Technology Mandatory 7-8 Syllabus.
Ton went on to lead the charge for the Western Sydney fresh food precinct. He was a Strategy and Innovation leader for a major engineering firm. Later, he assumed the role of Director of Industry 4, IoT, and Sustainability at a global technology firm, overseeing complex and innovative projects.
Today, Slam's directors redirect their efforts to new learning challenges, focused on helping schools to become hubs of lifelong learning—for students, teachers, and all staff.
John Phillips, CEO of SLAM Education, is a distinguished systems engineer with a wealth of experience in international telecommunications projects and employee relations. With a lifelong commitment to engineering, he gained his Electrical Engineering degree at King’s College, London in 1966. His career includes managing projects in telecommunications, from satellites to the internet, and even a pivotal role as a General Manager in Employee Relations at Telstra before 'retirement' in 2000.
Since then, John has been a relentless advocate for STEM education. He's the founding CEO of Sydney University's Jacaranda Flame Consulting program, simulating an engineering consultancy for students. In 2017, he co-founded Slam Education, which is evolving from STEM activities to a comprehensive education consultancy, including AI and STEM education.
Additionally, John co-founded the AustSTEM Foundation in 2018, aiming to raise engineering awareness among students and teachers in years 5-8, especially in rural schools. He is a longstanding member of the Technologies Working Group, advising ACARA on the National Technologies Curriculum. He also played a vital role in assisting the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and Engineers Australia (EA) in addressing barriers in the education supply line during their 2023 Symposium on Engineering Education: Can a crisis be averted?
In summary, John Phillips is the driving force at SLAM Education, where he's reshaping education with his engineering expertise and dedication to STEM.
Director Business Development & StrategyTon Dijkgraaf
From exploring the possible with open data in 2000, to the paperless office, developing early IoT solutions, leading global transformation programs, early adopter of ML/AI for just-in-time supply chain, smart cities, buildings & ports, manufacturing, and operations – all of which were industries that had to adapt due to technological advancement in some way.
As humans, we are often driven to change only when urgency compels us, when the metaphorical flames lick at our feet. We seek immediate solutions and gratification, a sign that we have conquered the challenges before us. Yet, genuine transformation is a marathon, not a sprint. In my experience, it takes a minimum of three years to effect lasting change, and more often than not, it takes even longer. Change will not endure unless the system it exists within has evolved to accommodate it, ensuring it doesn't recoil like an overstretched rubber band.
Now, technology is making its mark on the educational system with an immediate impact, influencing every facet from learning and teaching to administration. What I've learned from my proposal for the Western Sydney agribusiness precinct is that achieving the correct future vision hinges on an accurate comprehension of our current standing. Without this foundation of reality, any roadmap we chart is likely to lead us away from our intended outcome.
Director Teaching & LearningRob McTaggart
Leading education, business and government projects through product design, software development and educational strategy, Rob is the developer of multiple award-winning platforms and resources for teachers and students including professional learning platforms, multimodal magazines, education events, apps, websites, augmented reality experiences and design challenges.
With over 15 years in education and technology, Rob's best work exists at the nexus of education, technology, innovation and design. He has filled many roles including teacher, learning experience developer, director of teaching and learning, innovations lead and solutions consultant.