Switching students on to science: science teachers gather at UWS Campbelltown campus

Date: 23/09/2009

Engaging students in science will be the topic of discussion when over 100 of the state's science teachers gather at the University of Western Sydney for the Science Teachers' Association of NSW (STANSW) annual conference, being held at UWS Campbelltown campus, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September.

Nine UWS academics will speak at the conference and present workshops, including:

* Dr Hilary Bambrick, population health researcher from the UWS School of Medicine, who will discuss what began her interest in science and why science is critical to Australia's future. She will deliver the keynote speech, 'Who is Your Hero? Engaging and Challenging students in Science'.

* Professor John Bartlett, Head of the UWS School of Natural Science, who will talk about science today and its real-world applications. He'll give the address 'A Nanotechnology Tale of Nuclear, Solar and Renewable Energy Powered by Good French Wine' - a tale of human endeavour to address environmental issues.

Professor Beryl Hesketh, Executive Dean of the UWS College of Health and Science, will welcome delegates to the University's Campbelltown campus - a dedicated health and science precinct which carries out first-class teaching and research in medicine, science and nanotechnology, the biomedical and health sciences including physiotherapy, podiatric medicine, as well as complementary medicine.

Indigenous science educator Aunty Frances Bodkin-Andrews will give the Welcome to Country, and give her own presentation, 'Black Science, White Science'.

Hosting the conference reflects the University of Western Sydney's commitment to working with the school sector on areas of mutual interest, particularly national and state priorities such as science education.

With work well underway towards developing a national science curriculum, conference convenor, Mr Jim Scott from STANSW, says interest in the conference among science teachers from across Australia is high.

"There is a great line-up of keynote speakers whose work exemplifies the conference theme, 'science as a human endeavour'. Delegates have a great range of workshops and seminars to choose from, whatever their needs," says Mr Scott.

Other keynote speakers include:

* Astrophysicist, Professor Ray Norris of the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility, who will give the address 'Aboriginal Australians: The World's First Astronomers?' - a timely presentation during the International Year of Astronomy.

* Professor John Pegg, Professor of Mathematics at UNE and Director of the National Centre of Science Information and Communication Technology and Mathematics for Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR), and Dagmar Arthur, Director of ESSA, DET will deliver a joint seminar, 'ESSA and SOLO: a great relationship!'

During the conference there will be a workshop about the Essential Secondary Science Assessment (ESSA) test.

ESSA is a state-wide science assessment program based on the NSW Science Years 7-10 Syllabus, which mandates the teaching of science in contexts that assist students to see the relevance of science and to make meaning of scientific knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes.

There will also be a forum on Saturday 26 September involving Nick Perkins, Senior Project Officer (Science) from the National Curriculum Board. Mr Perkins will provide an update on progress with the National Science curriculum and a timeline for consultation and implementation.

WHERE: Building 30, UWS Campbelltown campus, Narellan Road
WHEN: Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September, 2009
MAP: http://www.uws.edu.au/campbelltowncampus

Further information about the conference the work of STANSW can be obtained at http://www.stansw.asn.au or by contacting the STANSW office.

Visnja Aw, Executive Manager
Phone 02 9763 2751 Email Visnja.Aw@stansw.asn.au



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