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The next generation of THINKers: an interview with RUNSTEM

Emily Kucukalic Friday, November 17, 2017 Blog

Milena Loginovskaya

At Plaut, we think with and for our clients. We think about new ways and old ways. We also think about the communities connected to our organisation. That is why we want to put the spotlight on one of our SAP consultants, Andrei Loginovskiy, his partner, Milena Loginovskaya, and the awesome work they do with their organisation, RUNSTEM.

RUNSTEM is a programming and robotics education organisation, that is focused on building a progressive generation through the education of today’s young thinkers. We reached out to Milena, the director and founder of RUNSTEM, to discover more about the program and her vision for technology in Australia.

Hi Milena, tell us a little bit about your career.

I worked in a large international software development and consulting company. I was lucky to work with great people and use the best SAP technologies and software. Able to apply my knowledge and grow quickly, I soon became an SAP BI Lead consultant. 

So modest! (Milena also holds a master’s in programming and robotics AND is a certified NLP practitioner!) What got you into teaching programming?

When I became a mum, I decided to take leave to spend time raising my first child. It was great to have a chance to play with my kid, do craft, work on his creativity, and spend time together teaching him how to draw, count, read, and explore the world. It happened naturally. Then I gave birth to my second child. While spending lots of time with my kids and teaching them, I realised how much I enjoyed it.

At some point, I started thinking that my natural love of children, passion, solid background in technology, programming, engineering and coding, and natural capability to teach, was something I could share. That was the moment when I decided to start RUNSTEM.

 

Tell us a little bit about RUNSTEM.

RUNSTEM is a programming and robotics school. RUNSTEM means RUN STEM and STEM is science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our aim is to inspire children to learn programming, technology, engineering, and mathematics, to apply their talents, develop innovative thinking, explore the world and acquire the essential, necessary skills required in the 21st century. We teach through a collaborative, flexible and gamifying learning process.

We would like to teach every child in Australia and make the journey fun – and I think we have found the way to do it. This is our secret for now, but we hope we will be able to make a huge step next year and maybe find some cool partners to speed up the process.

What have been the exciting developments/achievements at RUNSTEM?

We aren’t a big business and are a bit fragile, just as any startup is when making its way onto the market. Nevertheless, we have already managed to take part in National Science Week, and we were very proud to have been shortlisted to present our know-hows with organisations such as CSIRO, the Australian Astronomical Observatory and Northern Sydney Science Hub, as a part of Science Week Expo. We are also partnering with a number of the best robotics companies in the world, which we represent exclusively in Australia. 

We also work with a Sydney non-for-profit government youth organisation and were recently selected to teach Sydney home-based school community children. Last but not least, I am happy when I see people typing RUNSTEM in Google! It means they know about us and are starting to associate us with STEM Education in Australia.

How is the future of programming/technology looking in Australia?

I think Australia has a very good chance to step with confidence into the digital era. I can’t say everything is perfect, but this is why I have decided to start a school – to improve the current situation and bridge the gap. I want my kids to live in Australia and I want them to live in a progressive Australia – so I will be working hard to make it happen and I believe we are doing the right things. I know many talented people working hard to digitalize our farming, manufacturing, health and education industries. They are very passionate, they love what they are doing, and they do it to make Australia the best place to live and raise kids in. I am very confident in our bright technological future.

What is your vision for the future of technology education? 

We are moving to project-based, personalised, collaborative teaching. It is not teaching subjects but rather teaching or even mentoring students; guiding them on how to acquire necessary skills to solve problems. We will require more and more industry professionals to be involved in educating and mentoring primary school aged students very soon. We have parents whose kids refuse to learn at school, but they learn math and physics attending our classes and solving real problems. Children have changed, they do not want knowledge without the context. They need a context and we create it.

We also teach children many soft skills. Creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, ability to communicate ideas and collaborate effectively, are vital skills today. We should not forget that technology is the tool, not the aim. If you can’t work with people or think creatively, technology becomes useless.

 

For more information on RUNSTEM and the amazing work they do, visit the website here.

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