e-Science : April 2012 Issue 1
WHY WE HAVE CREATED E-SCIENCE MAGAZINE By Professor Bob Hill Over the last few years staff in the Faculty of Sciences at the Univer- sity of Adelaide have been working hard at trying to address the issue of the relevance of science in educa- tion. We believe that the world not only needs more scientists, but even more critically, many more people who are scientifically literate. This is particularly apparent in major decision-making areas like the Public Service, Politics and Business Lead- ership. The world no longer needs solutions driven by an economic growth agenda, it is not just an inadequate response to future eco- nomic problems, but potentially dangerous for our long term security. So how do we produce more scientifically literate students? By making science educa- tion more relevant to the needs of society and by making the teaching of science in general more interesting. We have approached this in a coordinated way. In 2011, we introduced the Enhanced Learning in First Year Science program, which included basing our curricu- lum on 10 Big Questions. The 10 Big Ques- tion can be found at: http://www.sciences. adelaide.edu.au/future/elfs/elfs.html These questions immediately gave our lec- tures more relevance, and while the process is ongoing, students appreciated the change and were more engaged with our first year courses. Along with this we gave each of the first year students in our Faculty a free iPad. We did this for several reasons: all our lec- tures were recorded and made available to students soon after the lecture was given; it gave us direct access to all students via email; it allowed for some experimentation in new modes of delivery of material; and it allowed us to move to cheaper and more transportable electronic text books for all our major first year courses. We repeated the iPad roll out in 2012, meaning second year science students are now benefiting as well. We were delighted to learn that several South Australian schools had picked up on our 10 Big Questions and that teachers were using them to make their science teaching more rel- evant and engaging for their students. As a re- sult of feedback from teachers, regarding how else we might support their valuable work, the Faculty created this free e-Science magazine.
July 2012 Issue 2