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Extending reality: Penrhos College and UWA bringing STEM innovation to the classroom


1 September 2022

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Penrhos College

Penrhos College is proud to be partnering with UWA to pilot a locally-developed STEM education technology, STEM XR, in College classrooms.

STEM XR aims to immerse students in the practical applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum content by guiding students through virtual learning experiences that enhance classroom activities and engagement.

Piloting STEM XR at Penrhos College provides an exciting opportunity for our girls to get hands-on with this game-changing education technology.

What is STEM XR?

STEM XR is an immersive reality learning platform developed at UWA using Extended Reality (XR) technology.

Program founder, Karina Price, said the platform addresses the demand from educators to provide tangible links between the STEM curriculum and real-world applications.

“STEM XR is providing an education solution by offering immersive reality content built from real STEM research stories and applications,” Ms Price said.

Head of Library and Digital Literacy at Penrhos, Will Horwood, said the technology’s pilot content is effective in visualising concepts that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

“The opportunity for learners to virtually experience real-world applications, and see them tied back to authentic STEM and research projects is game-changing,” Mr Horwood said.

In its pilot phase, STEM XR includes content for biology and physics, including immersive tours inside a cell and a replicated laboratory that students can explore.

“By allowing students to immerse themselves in this without leaving the classroom, we create incredible potential for the forward development of both the learning environment and the STEM curriculum.”

Penrhos College: Pioneering STEM education for girls

Penrhos College is proud to pioneer STEM education for girls, including growing our VR capabilities in the last four years.

“It is clear that it helps promote class engagement and enthusiasm, enabling students to retain information better,” Mr Horwood said.

Our students have unbeatable opportunities to get hands-on with STEM initiatives, from our state-of-the-art Science Innovation Centre to participating in the Girls in Engineering Outreach Program.

The result is a dynamic network that encourages sharing ideas, fosters innovation and encourages girls to recognise their potential.

STEM XR represents the next phase of the College’s commitment to bringing more digital technologies into the classroom.

It is an exciting addition to our comprehensive STEM program and one that we are eager to see develop with feedback from our passionate students.

See STEM XR in action

This video from UWA demonstrates the exciting potential of STEM XR when it rolls out to Perth classrooms.

The program’s founder, Karina Price, shares insights on how the pilot program came to be and where the technology is headed.

Why STEM for girls is more important than ever

Less than one in five Australian STEM workers (16%) are female, whereas the workforce has close to 50% female participation.

This alarming statistic represents an underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM at all levels of education and training.

Approximately 75% of Australia’s fastest-growing industries will soon require STEM proficiency.

It will take a combined effort by governments, educators and the private sector, but the benefits to Australian society will ensure a vibrant future for today’s students.

Penrhos College is Perth’s leader in STEM education for girls, offering pioneering programs from Junior School right through Secondary School classrooms.

Our vision for STEM is to help students develop their potential to thrive in an uncertain future.


Media contacts

Will Horwood (Head of Library and Digital Literacy at Penrhos) horwow@penrhos.wa.edu.au or (08) 9368 9541

Jarryd Gardner (Digital Media Officer)  0434 852 852

Karina Price (STEM XR Manager) +61 8 6488 1372