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Learning by Drawing

By Russell Tytler and Peter Hubber

Teachers need to encourage science students to develop their representational skills.

Scientists use a range of visual forms to imagine new relations, test ideas and elaborate knowledge, with digital technologies increasingly used to construct elaborate maps, 3D simulations, graphs or enhanced photographs. These visual tools are not simply passive communication devices but actively shape how we build knowledge in science.

The Progressive Education Fallacy

By Gerard Guthrie

The failure of curriculum reforms in Papua New Guinea prove that formal teaching practices are best for developing nations.

The primary and secondary schools of developing countries are littered with the remnants of attempts to change formalistic teaching. Half a century of conventional educational wisdom has generated progressive teacher education and curriculum reforms that are wrong in principle and widespread failures in practice. Professional educators, especially in aid projects, frequently attempt to introduce inappropriate discovery-oriented teaching styles despite widespread warnings from previous failures.

A New Approach to Research Evaluation

By Vaughan Beck

The system used to assess the quality of Australian research needs refinement to recognise the value of applied research.

Despite considerable progress in developing the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) scheme, it still runs counter to the Australian government’s innovation policies because of its focus on “pure” research that advances knowledge – to the detriment of “applied” research that targets problem-solving and opportunity creation.

Death in the Hive

By Andrew Barron

Almost 5 years since colony collapse was identified, the science tells us there is neither a single cause nor a single solution.

Andrew Barron is a senior lecturer with the Department of Biology at Macquarie University.

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Invest in Science for a Stronger Australia

By Suzanne Cory

An economic crisis is looming because Australia is not investing in science for its future.

An economic crisis is looming for Australia, and it has nothing to do with carbon trading, food shortages, a global economic crisis or devastating floods. But it has everything to do with our citizens’ ability to understand and tackle those issues. If we do not act strongly, and act soon, Australia’s economy is sure to become less productive, less resilient and less competitive.

Invest in Science for a Stronger Australia

By Suzanne Cory

An economic crisis is looming because Australia is not investing in science for its future.

Professor Suzanne Cory is President of the Australian Academy of Science.

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IT Savvy, But Stupid

Twitter screen

In the age of information it seems we would be better off with more wisdom and a little less information.

By Edward H. Spence

In an age of information abundance there is a deficit of wisdom.

Edward H. Spence is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at Charles Sturt University’s School of Communication and Creative Industries.

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How Effective Is Science Outreach?

School science experiment

The real aim of the IYC is to “increase the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry, increase young people’s interest in science, and generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry”.

By Ian Rae

Will the International Year of Chemistry successfully promote science to the community?

Ian Rae is a thoughtful skeptic and former RACI President.

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The Case for Gene Patents

By Michael Gilbert

Patents are an essential incentive for investment in research.

The very word “cancer” incites feelings of fear and dread. Most of us do not understand where it comes from or why, the treatments seem unreliable and the outcomes are often miserable.

Some cancer researchers are supporting moves to ban gene patents because they are worried that access to critical information and materials will be stifled. They use emotive case studies to argue that somehow gene patents are inhibiting progress in curing patients.

The X-Factor in the Productivity Equation

By Anna-Maria Arabia

The progress of women in science and technology has stalled for the past 15 years.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants a higher participation economy because it is a driver of prosperity, a sustainer of growth and a giver of hope and purpose to the community. She also wants an economy with a new generation of Australian entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors.

But Australian governments and industry are failing to take advantage of a key piece of the participation and productivity jigsaw that is sitting right under their nose – women. I know, because I’m a woman who left science for 8 years.