Mach II – #scichatNZ – Authentic Science learning

Wow. So wow. Talk about generating discussion, over an hour after the chat finished and the debate over authentic science is still going on the twitter feed.

Here is the storify 

Which is great, if there is on thing that reassures me as a Science educator is that people are passionate and willing to put themselves out there and have robust discussions to ensure we keep moving forward. 

My experience with real Science was a bit sad, but I think reflective of many, although with different challenges.

I loved Science at school, hands on out of my set, explore and play around and electrocute people. I started out an eager undergrad, fell in love with immunology and vaccines, did an honours, got a schol to ANU, came home and got a schol for a PhD. It was awesome, I learned heaps, found the write up hard, and then the unthinkable happened, my supervisor died. All the people that worked for him lost their jobs as their grants were gone, my thesis came back needing corrections I couldn’t really do with no lab and no supervisor (and no desire after watching the aftermath of his illness), and I decided to go work for a year to decide what to do. I loved my job, but couldn’t get funding for a permanent job so couldn’t start a family or get a mortgage without that funding, and my job was doing the same thing over and over carefully changing one thing at a time.

So I took a punt and went teaching. And love it. So accepted a 1st class masters knowing I had learned what I needed to, and I could always come back to it if I wanted. Of the 20 or so people who did their PhD at the same time as me, 3 are still working in Science Research. Less then 25%. 2 are teaching school, 2 work for banks, 2 work as sales reps, 2 (1 woman, 1 man) are stay at home parents, 1 went to med school, 1 is doing scicomm, 1 is a freelance writer ….

In my opinion Science is a bit broken. The funding models, grant writing, pressure for credits at NCEA at school and the perception it is hard all lead to challenges teaching Science. While I love shows like the big bang theory, it does nothing to help the perception of Science in everyday living as being hard and for nerds.

So it gives me hope that people care. Even if we don’t always agree 🙂 

And it gives me hope that people are starting to talk about issues, and push boundaries, and make Science education the best it can be. We are Scientists, designers and developers, as we experiment with our classes (with perhaps dubious controls) and try and improve our students outcomes, understanding, knowledge and enjoyment during Science.

Stick at it NZ, and the world over. Be passionate, be strong, and question everything.

See you in a couple of weeks 🙂




2 thoughts on “Mach II – #scichatNZ – Authentic Science learning

  1. You have shared an amazing story- life is not necessarily about successes all the time but how we arrive at it despite disappointments is important. #ScichatNZ is doing some amazing stuff- loved the discussions on twitter. As educators it is increasingly becoming necessary to challenge our own understandings of science and that of others…Good Luck #scichatnz


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