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$2.3 million for tomorrow’s teachers

Opening real science project A major national project was launched this week to meet the challenge of bringing authentic mathematics and science into the classroom, through revolutionising teacher training.

Hosted by Macquarie University, the “Opening real science: Authentic mathematics and science education for Australia” initiative has $2.3 million in funding from the Australian Government through the Office for Learning and Teaching.

“As teacher educators, we face a significant challenge to both equip new teachers with skills and encourage a passion for inspiring their students – something we have seen happen through ‘real’ mathematics and science,” says project leader, Associate Professor Joanne Mulligan.

“If we don’t equip teachers with real science, we miss out on the extended benefits of a scientifically literate society, and all the positive impacts that come out of this knowledge.”

To encourage this focus on authentic, inquiry-based learning, a key feature of the Opening Real Science project is the collaboration with world-leading mathematicians, scientists and educators. Many of the collaborators have been working with schools for decades in outreach programs across areas including astronomy, chemistry and mathematics – so they are uniquely poised to share about the benefits of discovery in the classroom.

“This project is vitally important to Australia’s future. We need to support primary and secondary school teachers as they prepare the next generation for a future increasingly dependent on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” says Dr Roslyn Prinsley, National Adviser, Science and Mathematics Education and Industry with the Office of the Chief Scientist.

“Collaboration between science and education faculties can provide the tools and expertise to teach science and mathematics as they are practised. These innovative resources and courses developed by world leading scientists, mathematicians and educators will help our future teachers to engage their students.”

The project is set to make a large impact, given that more than 50 per cent of teacher training in NSW and 25 per cent of national teaching training occurs at Macquarie University and partner universities.

The partnership includes global experts in science, mathematics and technology (ICT) and teacher education. It includes Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney, Charles Sturt University, Australian Catholic University, University of Canberra, University of Notre Dame Australia, together with the Australian Astronomical Observatory, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, and Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescopes.

Be part of the Opening Real Science Project

Primary and high school teachers who have expertise in mathematics and science may be invited to participate in the Opening Real Science Project.

These teachers will have access to professional mathematical and scientific learning resources as part of the accreditation of ORS in 2015 and 2016. They may also become a student teacher mentor. As mentors, they will be invited to participate at a selected number of schools aligned with Macquarie University and the other five universities in the Opening Real Science Project. Mentors will be trained on using the resources and will need to provide evaluation data for the benefit of the project.  It is expected that the mentors will form a network of like-minded teachers beyond the project end date in August 2016.

To find out more information, please email Carolyn Dow Project Officer or visit the ORS website for future updates about this project.