Up to 150 delegates from around the world gathered in Perth to attend the 46th Annual Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Conference held earlier this month at The University of Western Australia.
The conference offers a platform for science educators and researchers to share their work and ideas in all aspects of teaching and learning of science at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Some ideas presented at the conference will be encouraged and adapted by schools and science educators with the purpose of further improving the way we teach and nurture interest in the sciences to future generations.
Professor of Science Education Vaille Dawson, said the conference was a great success with cutting edge research being delivered from science education experts from China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Germany and Sweden.
“This conference was truly a gathering of international minds who are deeply passionate about the future of science education and research in their communities,” says Professor Dawson.
“As science educators and researchers we have an important role to play in finding innovative ways to capture and develop students’ interest in science and to be able to provide avenues for them to learn and hopefully one day make a significant contribution to the field either as a teacher, researcher and/or innovator.”
“The excitement a child feels when they see how a parachute works for the first time or the enthusiasm they exude when creating an erupting volcano project in a classroom for example is contagious and we need to maintain this feeling throughout their secondary education and further.”
It has been well documented that Australia is suffering a shortage of high level educators in the areas of science and mathematics. The shortage of skills stems from declining participation rate of students in undertaking science and mathematics as a subject in high school. The total number of students in Year 12 increased by around 16% from 1992 to 2012 while the participation rates for most Science and Mathematics subjects, as a proportion of the total Year 12 cohort, fell (Biology (-10%), Chemistry (-5%), Physics (-7%), Multidisciplinary Science (-5%), intermediate Mathematics (-11%), advanced Mathematics (-7%) in the same period.
The drop in students undertaking science and mathematics subjects in their final year of high school has been linked to the lack of training and experience of primary and secondary teachers to teach science.
Associations such as ASERA and its international conferences are important to help minimise this void through their mission to promote and encourage interest and future study in these areas.
Professor Vaille Dawson, Deputy Dean (Faculty of Education) (+61 8) 6488 2470
Siaw Chai, Media and Communications Officer (Faculty of Education) (+61 8) 6488 2382