Professor Johnathan Osborne
Putting the Literacy into Science Literacy: What, Why and How
In this talk I will argue that science attempts to answer three questions. What we know, why it happens and how we know? To date, school science has placed a lot of emphasis on answering the first two questions. Answers that science has provided are often challenging to our commonsense and can be disturbing. For instance, the idea that air has mass, that the continents were once one, or that we look like our parents because every cell carries a chemically coded blueprint of how to reproduce ourselves. Not to address how we came to believe in such ideas would be an incomplete science education. More fundamentally, the contemporary shift in education places an emphasis not just on what you know but what you can do with the knowledge. Science education need to build students capability to analyze data, argue from evidence and construct explanations. Such competence is built through practice.
What this means for the teaching of science and building capabilities for citizenship will be explored.
Simon Pollard is a successful children’s book author, spider expert and natural history writer.
Currently Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Canterbury, Simon is the author of the award-winning I Am a Spider (2004) and I Am an Insect (2002). He is a frequent contributor to Natural History (US), and has written for BBC Wildlife (UK), New Zealand Geographic and Nature Australia magazines. Simon has worked as an advisor and script writer for many natural history documentaries, including The Hunt (BBC, 2015) and Planet Earth (BBC, 2006). His book Dear Alison (2009) won the 2010 Children’s Choice Award for non-fiction at the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and the 2010 LIANZA Elsie Locke Award, Non-fiction Book of the Year.
The Genius of Bugs was nominated for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction at the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Dr Michelle Dikinson (Nanogirl)
Michelle has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering, runs New Zealand's only nanomechanical testing laboratory and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie.
Her passion for both sports and science has enabled her to travel the world on the search for her next adventure or research project. With specialist knowledge in nanotechnology, Michelle has contributed to the development of cutting edge technologies.
Secretly, however, Michelle has been working on advancing these developments to help her to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a real life superhero. In her spare time you will usually find her outside kitesurfing, cycling, running, paddle boarding, or inside practicing martial arts.
Her recent move to academia from industry was a step towards her goal of inspiring females to push the boundaries in both science and sports, and to encourage environmentally sustainable living through engineering design.
Member of New Zealand Order of Merit Michelle was winner of the Women of Influence award for science and innovation in 2016, was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership in 2015 and was winner of the Prime Ministers Science Media Communication Prize
and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicators Award in 2014.
Dr Michelle Dickinson uses the popular twitter handle 'Nanogirl' (@medickinson) On a mission to use science for good, not evil
Dr Graham Walker
Since 2001, Graham has taken science to over a million people in Australia and around the world using exciting live science shows, TV, hands-on activities, and workshops for teachers and students.
He’s worked and consulted for big names in Australian science communication including Questacon and CSIRO, while also performing abroad for UNESCO and science festivals and centres in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Jordan, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.He’s performed at numerous big events in Australia, including the Darwin and Sydney Royal Shows and arts festival Corinbank, and has a ongoing TV spot. He works regularly with the Starlight Foundation, taking science to kids in Australian hospitals. In late 2012, Graham got his PhD in (you guessed it) science shows from the Australian National University – one of two in the world in this specialty area. He enjoys sharing this expertise and regularly conducts science centre staff training and teacher workshops around the world.
Graham believes science centres and science education can make the world a better place, especially in the developing world. He’s traveled many times to South Africa, performing shows, training staff, running teacher workshops and touring an interactive exhibition for over 20,000 disadvantaged students. In 2008 he collaboratively developed a show on HIV/AIDS for South African audiences, which is now part of a science centre based AIDS intervention. In 2013 Graham successfully piloted Science Circus Africa through South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana reaching over 11,000 people. He then raised over $100,000 to run a full version reaching over 41,000 people and training local teams who are now running programs independently. Graham strongly believes science and its communication can change people’s lives for the better.
He has unique experience working with younger children and families, teenage, and adult audiences. From killer bowling ball pendulums to embarrassing ‘shrinkage’ in freezing liquid nitrogen, his shows are jammed with intriguing science aimed to inspire audiences to laugh, learn, see the wonder of the scientific method and highlight the careers available. Graham loves to craft his own unique props and equipment, including a life-size ultra-flatulent cow, Belching Buttercup, who helps him communicate climate change.
In addition to his PhD, Graham has a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication from the Australian National University, including a year’s training with the Shell Questacon Science Circus. He’s also worked for the Australian Science Festival and five years with CSIRO Education as their national Marketing Manager. He currently works at the Australian National University on teacher development and international projects in tandem with his freelance activities.
Dr Ken Silburn
Winner of the 2015 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
Seventeen years ago Casula High School was just an average state school in Sydney’s south-western suburbs with just eight students doing science at year 12. But something extraordinary has happened. Two-thirds of Year 11 and 12 students now choose science subjects and they are performing well above the state average. The transformation is largely due to the work of Dr Ken Silburn, the head of science at Casula. Ken has transformed the way his students engage with science, through extension programs, interactive and hands-on activities, and a great deal of encouragement.In the classroom, Ken focuses on what his students are most interested in or fascinated by, and makes it a big part of his science teaching curriculum. A highlight is the use of space science as a core element of the classes.
For his leadership in science teaching, Dr Ken Silburn received the 2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
Peter Beggs is the Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand, a Crown Entity of the New Zealand Government responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in particular the Ross Sea Region.
Peter is passionate about supporting scientific research and raising public awareness of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, particularly through school education and community outreach.
As a veteran of five Antarctic seasons, Peter leads New Zealand's Antarctic Programme and represents New Zealand's Antarctic interests in a number of advisory and governance roles. These include Vice Chair of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP), steering group member of the Strategic Science Investment Funds of Antarctic Research; the Antarctic Heritage Trust's Executive Committee; Advisory Board of the Victoria University Antarctic Research Centre; and also participates in international Antarctic Treaty and science discussions.
Born in New Zealand, Peter studied Engineering and Commercial Law, then enjoyed 11 years living in Europe. Largely based in Ireland and the UK, he worked in a variety of technical and commercial roles before joining Antarctica New Zealand in 2014.