IN BRIEF

NESA Syllabus Development Consultation

NESA has announced a review of the process to develop NSW Syllabuses. The Consultation process consists of an online survey which may be completed on the NESA Website.

The Federation encourages members to complete the survey online.

Federation policy emphasises the importance of NSW teachers having direct input into the syllabuses they teach. The current process provides these opportunities.

Members are encouraged to complete the survey and emphasise the importance of:

  • genuine consultation with teachers by maintaining current processes including face to face consultation meetings
  • the maintenance of representative syllabus committees to inform the work of the NESA Curriculum and Assessment Committees
  • an extended period of consultation on syllabuses. An initial draft should be provided for consultation then redrafted for further consultation and consideration by the representative syllabus committees
  • a clear timeline for implementation of any new syllabus that provides, at a minimum, one year for schools to undertake planning and preparation

NESA providing quality resources for planning, preparation and implementation and releasing in a timely fashion relevant support materials and resources.

Science in the Caves

The Blue Mountains’ Jenolan Caves have two new, inspiring excursions for Stage 4 and 5 science students.

While the caves have always been a school excursion favourite, these two new activities feature current scientific investigations in Jenolan’s mysterious Chifley Cave.

“Science in the Chifley” and “Science Karst Walk” give students access to real research done in a real environment by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the CSIRO and the Australian Museum.

Chifley Cave is an important global cave science site, where ANSTO is conducting the world’s longest-running cave monitoring program. Scientists have discovered 88 types of new methanotropic bacteria and eight new phosphate minerals.

“Science in the Chifley” takes students on a journey through the cave, shedding light on all current research.

On the ‘Science Karst Walk’, students explore Nettle Cave and inspect a palaeontological dig, where approximately 2000 bone fragments have been found, revealing much about animals, some now extinct, that lived in the Jenolan. Students also see stromatolytes, massive structures produced by colonies of cyanobacteria that are still growing after starting about 20,000 years ago.

These new activities meet outcomes of the NESA Science Content Mapping Grid. Jenolan can provide teachers with a full list of the outcomes and syllabus content that the activities cover, as well as newly developed pre- and post-excursion curriculum resources.

The new activities are the same price as Jenolan’s traditional school tour, which lets students explore Lucas Cave, and is great for very large groups.

Click here for more information and to download the Jenolan Caves School Excursion Information Pack 2017-2018.

Getting down to business

SBS Learn and Small Business Secrets have launched a series of new online educational resources that bring to life the experiences of Australian entrepreneurs to help students understand the realities of owning and running a business.

The interactive resources were designed for teachers, by teachers, with SBS Learn teaming up with business educators from Tara Anglican School for Girls in Sydney.

Executive Producer, Small Business Secrets, Whitney Fitzsimmons said: “The new SBS Learn business-focused resources will help provide teachers with the tools to put business learning into a real-life context. There’s really no one-size-fits-all approach to running a business and each of the individual case studies highlight the unique challenges and opportunities for budding entrepreneurs.”

Teachers Jane Wong, Melissa Losco and Mark Swainson from Tara Anglican School for Girls collaborated with SBS Learn and Small Business Secrets to adapt the real-life business stories into classroom resources for secondary students. Australian curriculum and learning outcomes from Economics and Business Studies were also used, to ensure that the resources would assist educators to develop practical lessons.

Each of the 10 case studies have been designed to inspire and educate students about entrepreneurship, the essentials of building a business plan and overcoming business challenges, while providing practical insight into operating a business to aid their learning.

The case study of supermarket staple Carman’s Fine Foods shows students how businesses can grow to scale significantly, while Broadband Solutions shares insight into the very different experience of setting up an enterprise for business customers. The case studies of Booktopia and Koala reveal the opportunities that can be found using the internet to transform traditional buying experiences.

To access SBS Learn resources including the new Small Business Secrets case studies, visit the website here.

World educator joins Gonski Institute

World-renowned Finnish educator Dr Pasi Sahlberg has been appointed a Professor of Education at UNSW Sydney and will work with the University’s new interdisciplinary institute focussing on educational access and excellence, the Gonski Institute for Education (GIE).

Dr Sahlberg, a former director general at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland and a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education, whose book Finnish Lessons has been widely read around the world, will initiate and lead international comparative research projects on education and equity, and education leadership.

Dr Sahlberg’s research on education policy, especially around equity, is highly regarded here and overseas, said UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs.

“The appointment of Professor Sahlberg is a huge coup for the University and the Gonski Institute but more importantly it is a huge coup for education research in Australia,” Professor Jacobs said.

Professor of Practice at UNSW and GIE Director Adrian Piccoli says Dr Sahlberg’s research leadership will be invaluable in establishing the GIE as an education powerhouse.

“Dr Sahlberg’s work on enhancing our understanding of international education has helped shift education policy focus around the world, including in Australia, from standardisation and educational segregation to equity and inclusion,” Mr Piccoli said.

Dr Sahlberg is looking forward to growing professionally together with colleagues and students at UNSW.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to be part of the UNSW community,” he says.

“Australia is one of the leading education systems in the world and the opportunity to enhance equity of education here through research and using the expertise of UNSW is an opportunity not to be missed.”

Dr Sahlberg is a recipient of the 2012 Education Award in Finland, the 2014 Robert Owen Award in Scotland, the 2016 Lego Prize, and Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident Fellowship in 2017.

Bush babies come to town

It is 100 years since May Gibbs’ much-loved bush babies found their way into the homes and hearts of Australians.

Published just before Christmas 1916, the first of her books was an instant success, and more titles quickly followed. May Gibbs went on to become one of Australia’s most popular and enduring children’s book authors and illustrators. She was also an early environmentalist, urging her readers always to “be kind to all bush creatures”.

The display features illustrations of many of her most popular characters, and explores May Gibbs’ early work, her influences and inspirations, and the working process she followed through her career.

Upcoming dates:

  • 2-14 December 2017 - Tomaree & Narrandera
  • 23 December 2017-11 - January 2018 Casino & Deniliquin
  • 20 January-1 February 2018 - Grafton & Grenfell
  • 10-22 February 2018 - Armidale & Goulburn

More dates here.

Christ-MAAS fun

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), the umbrella organisation taking in the Powerhouse, Sydney Observatory and Museums Discovery Centre in Castle Hill, has a fund and informative range of kid-friendly school holiday activities.

Sydney Observatory, at Millers Point, is hosting Family-Friendly Twilight Tours until 31 March, 2018. The 90-minute tour begins at 6.15pm, when you and your kids will have fun with rockets, look at the twilight sky through our telescopes, finishing with a session in the Planetarium.

The Powerhouse, in Ultimo, will run a “Tinkertoreum” from 16 December to 29 January 2018, where young tinkerers can take their creativity to new heights tackling engineering challenges as they build their own futuristic cars and test them out on special tracks. Cars aren’t the only creations they can make – with a range of materials, anything is possible.

While you’re there, The Wiggles exhibition was revamped and updated this year and both are free with museum entry.

Kinetic Kids are workshops for ages 7–10 at the Museums Discovery Centre on 18, 19 and 22 January 2018, 10am–12pm and 1–3pm.

In this unique workshop they’ll experiment with and master motors, cogs and pulleys and apply these skills to make moving puppets, automata and mobiles as they design their own kinetic invention to take away with them.

More and bookings here.