About the conference

The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (The 19th UniServe Science Conference) is an opportunity for tertiary science and mathematics educators to share ideas and keep up to date. Science and mathematics for this conference encompasses biological sciences, chemistry, geosciences, health sciences, information technology, learning and cognitive sciences, mathematics and statistics, molecular and microbial sciences, physics and psychology as well as the various fields of the applied sciences.

The proud partners of the 2013 conference are the Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC), the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra) and Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Flyer

Download a flyer (as pdf) to print and display.

Date and location

The conference will be from Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 September 2013 in Canberra, Australia. The discipline day (Thursday) will be held at the INSPIRE Centre at the University of Canberra (See the map of UC). The conference days (Friday and Saturday) will be at The Australian National University in the Science Teaching Building and Hancock Building on Linnaeus Way. See the map of ANU grid F4.

On Thursday evening from 6-7pm Professor Brian Schmidt (2012 Nobel Laureate) will provide a keynote for teachers and ACSME 2013 participants followed by the Conference Dinner at 7pm.

Theme: Students in transition – The learners’ journey

A learner’s journey is accompanied by challenges and rewards. As educators our role is to facilitate the journey embedding a thirst for knowing taking into account the diverse backgrounds and preparedness of incoming students, as well as diverse career paths and professions our students may venture into. Pedagogical research, curriculum design and in-class practices underpin the learners’ journeys. The conference fosters deliberations and sharing of ideas through three strands capturing the learners’ journeys.

  • Strand 1: Students in transition – The learners’ journey. Transitions to higher education in science and mathematics: managing the relevance of higher education to diverse cohorts.
  • Strand 2: The development of students as researchers, from analysts and interpreters to generators of knowledge.
  • Strand 3: Science and the professions: Shifting the focus from content.

Organising Committee

  • Dr Paula Newitt (ANU) – CHAIR
  • Dr Tamsin Kelly (UC)
  • Dr James Crane (CSU)
  • Dr David Low (UNSW@Can - ADFA)
  • Dr Alexandra Yeung (USyd)

Program Committee

  • Luby Simson (UC) – CHAIR
  • Dr Juliey Beckman (ANU)
  • Dr Jim Woolnough (UC)
  • Dr Andrea Crampton (CSU)
  • Dr Nina Fotinatos (Ballarat)
  • Dr Kim Taylor (UC)
  • Associate Professor Manjula Sharma (USyd)
  • Associate Professor Kristen Pammer (ANU)

Strand 1: Students in transition – The learners’ journey

Strand 1: Transitions to higher education in science and mathematics: managing the relevance of higher education to diverse cohorts.

The Higher Education access agenda implemented from the Bradley Report has a goal of enabling attainment of a bachelor-level qualification for 40% of 25- to 34-year-olds, with 20% of undergraduate enrolments in higher education to come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Simultaneously, a lower percentage of secondary school students are engaging with sciences and mathematics resulting in what is known as the vicious cycle of science performance (Rollinck, 2010). Within this context the challenge arises of catering for the diversity of students accessing higher education. This would include considerations of where the Australian curriculum in senior science and maths will take us, the use of alternative access pathways and the role of standards based education.

Strand 2: The development of students

Strand 2: The development of students as researchers, from analysts and interpreters to generators of knowledge.

The development of students into skilled learners, critical thinkers and generators of knowledge - this strand focuses on both the teaching and student experience in terms of enquiry and research. How do we motivate students to recognise that a university degree means more than just regurgitating the correct answer? Approaches to problem solving (researching) and thereby learning can vary within and between disciplines, but the fundamentals remain the same: the basis for scientific progress revolves around continued enquiry. How do we instil an appreciation for combining enquiry, critical thought and scientific method to students who may be without research ambition? This stream encompasses a range of learning and teaching activities, including undertaking enquiry in undergraduate programs, conducting original research within undergraduate and graduate curriculums and engaging with current disciplinary research. It also includes pedagogical research to inform teaching practice in the broad domain of enquiry based learning.

Strand 3: Science and the professions

Science and the professions: Shifting the focus from content.

For society, the education of future science researchers and professionals is essential. Just as important, however, is the level of scientific literacy in the broader population. (Australian Council of Deans Report, 2012).

What is the value of scientific literacy in the workplace? How do we get students, educators and the professions to rethink the value of a scientific education? The majority of science graduates will never wear a lab coat. However, the ability to analyse, evaluate, question, and research influences work practices and personal interactions throughout the employment sectors and the community at large. How do can we best develop these abilities in our students? How do we promote “life-long learning” and “scientific literacy” as attributes every student should possess and every employer should value?

Potential ‘stations’:

  • Developing scientific literacy
  • Students in the workplace: work-integrated, practice-based and vocational education
  • Engaging industry in education
  • Life-long learning practice and research