Sunday, 21 September 2014

September Newsletter

This month's question:
Have you had any success introducing undergraduates to discipline based education research? Many universities offer programs for undergraduate students to participate in research, have you tried education research projects? Share your stories to

2.  Conferences & publication

The 8th Australian NZ Mathematics Convention – The University of Melbourne. 8-12 December, 2014
The conference is building in a Mathematics Education session and they are looking for a significant group of participants. Talks in the session will be 25 minutes.
Abstracts are due on November 17

Other discipline conferences in September and December:
Australian Institute of Physics Congress | 7-11 December, Canberra

3.  Connections/Events  

Future:             The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) – The University of Sydney and The University of Technology, Sydney. September 29 – October 1, 2014.
                        This conference is the main annual gathering of the SaMnet Australia Community. We will not be hosting an exclusive gathering, rather we encourage SaMnet to use all aspects of the conference as an opportunity to network with each other and our colleagues in the wider community.

Arthur Phillip High School, Parramatta NSW – October 3, 2014
Do you know any high school teachers who are keen and interested in improving experiments and lab experiences for their students? Yes- please pass on the flyer.
Online registrations close today (22 September 2014).

4.  SaMnet activity  

ACSME is next Monday! 

SaMnet will be active at the ACSME conference through many presenters (both talks and posters) and conference delegates coming from the SaMnet community. We will not have an exclusive gathering but look forward to seeing many of you there next week.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (Edited by - Emma Bartle, UQ)

Is confusion really linked to learning?
Steve Kolowich
Intuition tells us that to effectively teach a concept to a student we need to explain it in clear and straightforward terms. Dr Derek Muller (Former student of the Sydney University Physics Education Research group) which actually concluded the opposite – ambiguous and “confusing” educational videos actually demonstrated better learning outcomes straightforward and clear videos on the same topic.

Margaret Clifford
Learning is the ultimate goal of education. This paper explains, however, that experiences of failure may actually promote academic success. Failure can result in increased persistence, task initiation, task interest and, eventually, performance improvement. The authors proposes a set of factors which can be used to predict whether failure will have a positive or negative impact on student performance.

6.  Leadership insights (Edited by Matt Hill & Will Rifkin, USyd)                                                         
Craig McInnis, Paul Ramsden and Don Maconachie
This resource presents the fundamental principles of good teaching, in the context of leadership in an educational institution. How can leadership decisions shape positive educational ourcomes? It helps ‘distributed leaders’ of our community to understand motivations of those above them... and to manage upward.

Excerpt from Academic Research, Chapter 4 of The Full-Time Faculty Handbook by Sharon Ahern Fechter (compiled by Rick Reis)
Managing your research takes leadership. Leadership in constructing a research agenda allows for your work to be defined, focussed and influential. How do you decide what you will be researching next?

7. Initiative in Focus: 

All three of the 2013 OLT National Fellowships that we have been keeping you up to date with this year will be heavily involved in the ACSME conference. Come along to meet the fellows and investigate their projects further.

Manju Sharma (The University of Sydney)
Keynote – Monday 9:15-10:15am – Using engagement in lectures as an entree for learning

Garry Hoban (The University of Wollongong) 
“DigiXFest – Science Media” Event – Monday 5:15-7:15pm Monday) – Drinks and canap├ęs followed by showcase and judging

Chris Creagh (Murdoch University)
Afternoon Workshop on the Discipline Day (At UTS) – Wednesday 1:00-3:00pm – A Toolbox of Diagrams and Interrogating Formulas

8.  Classifieds 

The 8th Australian NZ Mathematics Convention organisers are looking for suggestions of appropriate keynote speakers in Mathematics Education. Contact Deb King.