Taking Science and Biotechnology to the classroom
“In view of the increasing role the sciences have to play in dealing with the issues of environment and development, it is necessary to build up scientific capacity and strengthen such capacity in all countries... [to] promote the education and training of scientists,... [and to] strengthen the scientific infrastructure in schools, universities and research institutions...”
Extracts from articles 35.20-35.22, Agenda 21, United Nations Earth Summit, 1992.
New Zealand’s world-class scientists and technologists are collaborating with science educators to find ways to make science more accessible to teachers and students.
The University of Waikato is leading two national projects, the NZ Science Learning Hub and the NZ Biotechnology Learning Hub which are funded by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. They aim to get students engaged in science and technology by providing teachers with up-to-date resources based on research. The focus is on providing insights into current developments in New Zealand science and biotechnology.
The Biotechnology Learning Hub was launched in 2005 and the Science Learning Hub was launched in 2007. Both projects are managed by the University’s Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research (WMIER).
The web-based services explore major themes and contexts and are a gateway to multimedia files, classroom resources based on the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum, and news about the New Zealand’s science and technology sector in action. Themes have included the trip by the research vessel Tangaroa looking at Antarctic marine biodiversity; how humans are gaining increased strength and endurance; and New Zealand’s world-class expertise in earthquakes.
The Dean of Education, Professor Alister Jones, and WMIER Director, Associate Professor Bronwen Cowie are heading the learning hubs with research teams from other universities and the Royal Society of New Zealand.
External funding gratefully acknowledged: Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.
WILF MALCOLM INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
FACULTY OF EDUCATION