Smart Science Initiative for high school students

2013-2014: The Smart Science Initiative funded to $1.64m by the Australian federal Government’s Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program run by the Department of Education.

Partners: Lead by ACA at UNSW; Climate Change Centre at UNSW; School of Education at UNSW; Flinders University, South Australia; University of Western Australia; Smart Sparrow (UNSW spin-off technology company); and Arizona State University.

The objectives of the project are:

1. Build scientific literacy skills in Australia

2. Promote choosing science beyond Year 10 to create an unbroken pathway to tertiary science studies

3. Develop new learning assets for today’s digitally-connected students, equally accessible to all students regardless of geographic isolation or socio-economic status

4. Provide new insights into how today’s students learn

There are four intelligent tutor modules that each span five lessons and are linked to the Australian Science Curriculum and focused on Australian BIG science questions.  The blended learning  and adaptive e-learning personalised platform modules anticipate the learning needs of individual students but allow group work and offer tools like poll taking of student opinions to prompt class discussion.

Teachers can see an analytics program that tells them if a student is working on a module and how well they are grasping each successive concept. The focus in all four modules is on the development and measurement of inquiry based skills learning and the understanding of science as a human endeavour in conjunction with science for understanding.

The modules, tested with 25 schools in Western Australia, South Australia, and NSW, are now available to all Australian schools for the next three years without charge. Go to www.smartscience.com.au.

Below: Screenshots of part of the Are We Alone? module