Articles on Science education

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Kids need to know that curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Julien Behal/PA

We cannot afford to get science education wrong

Science gives young people the tools to understand the world around us and the ability to engage with contemporary and future issues, such as medical advances and climate change. That is why science should…
Students learning the skills to ‘do’ science could be under threat. Science image from www.shutterstock.com

Learning or doing? Science degrees need reform and students can help

Science is as much about knowing, as it is about having the skills to learn. But with time in the lab shrinking as universities try to tighten their budgets, students may be getting the opportunity to…
Young people are harbouring misconceptions about climate change. But what can be done about it? Thinking image www.shutterstock.com

What do young people really know about climate change?

The next generation will be the ones to feel the increasing effects of climate change. But how much do they really know about it? After all, it’s one thing to say: yes, I believe in climate change. But…
The right people are not in the room in reform talks. WahTee

A-level reforms need real input from science experts

The government is undertaking an ambitious programme to reform qualifications in schools, with significant changes being made to GCSEs and A-levels over the next few years. This, in theory, is a positive…
Studies suggest around 30% of people are “generally unengaged” with science. Suarez Leandro

Engaging the unengaged in science? Try a little harder

Like many Australians, you may have recoiled in horror or laughed heartily when the results of the Australian Academy of Science’s science literacy survey surfaced last month. You may have had a similar…
There’s a public appetite for more science … so how should it be sated? London Permaculture

And in science news … can we have more science news?

Why is science not delivered as part of our routine news bulletins in the same way as, say, business and sport? Enter a group from the University of Queensland, who yesterday posted an open letter to radio…
Understanding how the world works as a system is vital. Rigmarole

Does science literacy matter? Yes, and here’s why

When the email notice for The Weekend Conversation landed on Saturday, I was intrigued and slightly startled by the opening teaser from the site’s Science + Technology editor, Paul Dalgarno. He got one…
“If we don’t evaluate our impact we risk becoming our own worst enemies.” mollybob

Ring the changes on science communication

Public concerns about issues such as wind farms and vaccines have led to a discussion about why some people have strong fears or adverse reactions, and why their perception of risk doesn’t align with those…
Children are getting their (mis)information about some scientific concepts from mass media sources. Genetics image from www.shutterstock.com

‘You catch criminals with DNA’: What kids know (and don’t know) about genetics

“DNA is your blood in you, we can use DNA as evidence if someone’s been stabbed. We can run tests in suspects.” (Girl, 12, central Queensland) “DNA has to do with blood types and fingerprints, it helps…
Getting the mix right: we need to take a closer look at the future of science education. Science education image from www.shutterstock.com

Science in schools: can we choose a better future?

Every now and then we manufacture a crisis in Australian school science. People write reports. These recommend change, including curriculum change, and point out the ways in which current patterns of school…
If you want to improve science education, standardised science literacy tests is not the way to go. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

NAPLAN science tests unlikely to improve science education

The federal Labor government’s proposal to expand the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) franchise and include science literacy is not a surprising move. Once national testing…
Australia is stuck in a “deficit model” of science communication. -{GP}-

Science engagement in Australia is a 20th century toy

Science engagement in Australia is trapped in the 20th century. It operates under an outdated model that aims to promote and celebrate science, rather than encouraging the public to participate in, and…
Australia is faced with the choice of falling behind or taking steps to keep pace with others. Marco Crupi Visual Artist

Hang on … Australian R&D doesn’t punch above its weight

Australia punches above its weight in terms of global research, producing more than we might expect given our small population. At least … that’s the line we’ve been fed for years – but is it true? A cracking…
Women are underrepresented in science, but are programs like those run by L'Oreal the answer? dno1967b

Is it worth it? L'Oreal pays lip service to women in science

Each year, L’Oreal’s Australian and international women in science programs contribute significant sums of money to support research and encourage girls to enter careers in science, technology and engineering…
Experts say early childhood experiences with maths are critical for uptake at later stages. Judy Baxter

Study finds more girls opting out of maths and science

Girls are losing ground in mathematics and science education in NSW, with the number of female students studying no maths…
Two new international reports on school performance should be put into perspective. Education image from www.shutterstock.com

Are we headed for an educational disaster? Hardly

The recent release of Australia’s performance in the TIMMS (2011) and PIRLS (2011) test results has sparked much media comment about what this means for the quality of Australian education. The focus so…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants Australia to improve its international standing in education performance, setting a goal to be in the top 5 by 2025. AAP

New reports sound alarm on school performance: experts respond

Two new education performance reports released by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) have painted a bleak…

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