Xplora Newsletter Issue 15
Welcome to the 15th issue of the Xplora newsletter!
Once again the Xplora newsletter has collected the most interesting science news and events for you. What about looking for new class room activities from the resources introduced in the Library -section, or taking part in one of the European Science Education projects? See further tips below!
Would you like to be featured in our newsletter or send us a contribution? Just get in touch!
Johanna Snellman, Xplora Web Editor
Click here to download the newsletter in pdf format.
In this issue:
Call for contributions for the next newsletter
To ensure the diversity and actuality of the next Xplora newsletter, we would like to invite you to send us your contributions! We would be grateful for short references with a link to additional information of news, events, awards, best practices etc. relating to maths, science, technology and environment education.
Please send you contributions by the 15 April 2009 at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scitable: A new collaborative learning space for Science
Scitable is a free science library and personal learning tool created by Nature Publishing Group. In Scitable you can read more than 150 free science articles, connect with a global community of faculty, researchers and students, and contribute to the Scitable community by uploading articles, video, audio or other information. Currently Scitable concentrates on genetics.
New UNAWE website for Universe Awareness for Young Children
The UNAWE is an international outreach programme using the beauty and the scale of the universe to inspire young children and awake their curiosity in science. In the educational materials section of the new UNAWE website teachers can find hands-on activities, games, animations and films, stories, and other online tools to e.g. calculate your weight elsewhere in the universe. UNAWE is also collecting interviews, audio or films, on 4-10 years old children’s thought of the universe. These interviews, conducted by the teachers, educators or parents, will be published on the Children’s creations –section of the website, and some of them will be chosen for the UNAWE podcast episodes of the very popular 365 Days of Astronomy series provided by the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). Interested? Contact UNAWE / Leiden Observatory.
Top Ten Flash Bang Demos
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), an UK-based international professional and qualifying body for chemical engineers, has launched a campaign to boost up science education. The Top 10 Flash bang Demos are a set of practical experiments targeted to 11-16 –year-old students to make science lessons more exciting. The website provides teachers downloadable instructions, safety advice and worksheets explaining the science behind each demonstration.
Elementary, my dear Watson!
This website, hosted by the Department of Chemistry, University of Hull, is dedicated to the application of forensic science in crime solving. There have been many significant scientific breakthroughs that have enabled a considerable growth in the field of forensic science with techniques such as DNA fingerprinting revolutionising the methods applied by criminal investigators. This site provides an insight into modern forensic science techniques by the use of three Sherlock Holmes cases.
Artificial intelligence - child’s play!
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau have developed a computer game called “Gorge” to teach children what artificial intelligence is all about. The players can play against each other, against the computer or have once computer to play against another. They can also decide how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the machine is, whether they prefer to play against a good or a bad opponent. In addition they can observe what sort of behavioural patterns the artificially intelligent machine develops, and whether its actions are more aggressive or more defensive. The scientists affirm that the game improves also the children’s social interaction skills.
European Space Agency's educational resources
The Human spaceflight Education team at the European Space Agency (ESA) provides various educational materials for different age groups. Schools can order from the ESA's website e.g. educational kits about the International Space Station (ISS) or a 3D model of the ISS orbiting Earth. The multilingual resources are available for free to schools within the ESA Member States.
Search for other science resources at:
Visit the Xplora science education library at:
Cooperation between Science and Language classes
English and Chemistry teachers from Zespol Szkol Integracyjnych no 1 - PG no 17 in Bialystok, Poland, have used the multilingual Xperimania (www.xperimania.net) chats to combine teaching their subjects. Bringing language teaching and science classes together has inspired both the teachers and the students, and brought up important subjects such as recycling of plastics.
Safer Internet Day 2009 – A new edition of the internet literacy handbook
On the occasion of the Safer Internet Day 2009 the Council of Europe launched a new edition of The Internet Literacy Handbook, which offers teachers, parents and students a full guide on getting the most out of the Internet while being protected from its risks.
Xperimania chat: How does the automotive industry rely on petrochemistry?
The next Xperimania chat on 23 March at 11.00 CET will focus on how the car industry benefits of chemical industry’s research and innovations. The chemical industry is helping to cut cars’ costs and improve their efficiency. (Petro)chemicals make also car drivers daily life easier in the form of rubber tires and antifreeze and other fluids. Interested in taking part in the Xperimania chat held in German? Send an email at email@example.com with the name of your school and teacher who want to participate with the class.
Check out the restyled STELLA web portal!
To make science education even more attractive the Stella web portal (www.stella-science.eu) has been updated with new graphics, colours and images. The website provides teachers and science education experts an inspiring platform to communicate, share experiences and best practices, and pick up new ideas and tools to improve the science education. STELLA is continuously looking for teachers’ favourite initiatives and projects for the handbook on “Innovative practices in science education for European schools” which will also be published online. STELLA project is funded with support from the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme.
Take part in the Xperimania competition and win funds for your school
Does your school need more computers or new laboratory equipment? The winner schools of this year Xperimania science competition “Check out the property!” will be rewarded with a prize fund to be spent on scientific classroom resources. Besides, each of the winning students will receive a media player. The competition is open until 30 April 2009.
Pencil key findings published
The three-year project Pencil (Permanent European Resource Centre for Informal Learning) has released a publication bringing together its key findings. Adigital copy of the publication and the final deliverables of the project are now available online atwww.xplora.org/pencil. Pencil worked to strengthen the operational relations on many levels between formal and informal science education, in schools and in science centres and museums. Through a set of pilot projects across Europe, it found ways for science centres and museums to work with schools to improve the quality of science teaching methods. Pencil was coordinated by Ecsite and funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research under the Sixth Framework Programme.
- EUROPEAN SCIENCE EDUCATION PROJECTS
Improving teacher education in Maths and Science: ITEMS has started
ITEMS, a new project aiming to improve the competencies of Mathematics and Science teachers has just started. ITEMS (Improving Teacher Education in Mathematics and Science) focuses on developing on-line modules for secondary school students in Maths and Science, and organising training courses for teachers to use these modules in the classroom. Consequently, the project aims to enhance students’ achievement and interest in science. The modules will be published on the project website http://itemspro.net/ which will be launched during the kick-off meeting at the end of February in Alacant, Spain.
Try out the eSkills career quiz!
The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is one of the most dynamic and exciting industries that you can enter. The eSkills Career Quiz is an interactive way of illustrating some important, common ICT skills, or eSkills, areas and how they relate to various ICT careers. In the end, the quiz suggests based on your responses some certifications and career paths that may be interest to you.
Last call for teachers to take EU wide survey on ICT successes in primary schools
How does ICT make a difference in primary schools in Europe? Have you successfully used ICT in your school with children, maybe during a science or maths lesson? This is the last opportunity to share your experience and be part of an EU-wide study conducted by European Schoolnet on behalf of the European Commission. From your contributions we will select a number of examples that will be highlighted and described in a database of good practices in primary schools. 15 to 20 examples from different countries will be further analysed as case studies.
Take the survey (deadline 15 March)
Personalising the European classroom
The new personalised learning platform iClass is making waves across Europe. This EU-backed project, ran from 2004 to mid-2008, created a learner-centred ICT platform that enables pupils to take more control of the learning process. Lately the iClass platform has been demonstrated, tested and validated in a diverse number of European countries.
The third Data Protection Day: The best "Surf the net - think Privacy" videos awarded
The winners of the “Surf the net – think Privacy” competition – a pan-European video competition run by EUN and powered by Microsoft - were awarded on the third Data Protection Day event on 28 January 2009. The competition invited young people to express their views and concerns about online privacy. The winning video, “ID”, created by Ilinca Razvan, Alexandru Coman and Cosmin Bogdan from Romania, showcases how ‘public’ one’s identity can become online.
Euro Creator website: Your gateway to the European year of creativity and innovation
The European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 aims to promote Creativity with Digital Media and the benefits of its use in teaching and learning. EuroCreator is an educational initiative designed to encourage students and teachers throughout Europe to create at least one piece of media. To support this initiative, the EuroCreator website has been developed to facilitate educators and recognise and reward the creativity of young people. EuroCreator offers a pan European platform for students and educators to get creative and share their work.
Take part in the ThinkQuest Website Competition 2009
Teams of students and teachers are invited to participate in the ThinkQuest Website competition to develop educational web sites utilizing variety of technologies and different creativity forms. The competition is organised by the Oracle Education Foundation and it is open to students aged 9 to 19 until 2 April 2009.
365 Days of Astronomy: Daily Podcasts for the International Year of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is a project that publishes one podcast per day for all 365 days of 2009. The podcasts are written, recorded and produced by people around the world. Each day will have a specific topic or theme based on a daily calendar of astronomical events, themes and ideas created by the IYA. And the best is, that everyone is welcome to join in and create own podcasts!
Safer Internet tackles cyberbullying
On 10 February 2009, the sixth annual edition of Safer Internet Day was celebrated all around the world. Thousands of online and offline events run simultaneously across 50 countries of the world, with one common topic, cyberbullying.
Video competition in science communication
EuroPhysicsFun has started the Nielsen Contest in Science Communication. The goal is to make a video demonstrating a scientific experiment or principle. The videos will be published on the competition YouTube site. The entries will be judged both on the quality of the experiment as well as the quality of the presentation. The competition is open until 1 April 2009.
Girls have the edge in new technologies
The Learning in the Family report, published on 22 January, 2009, reveals that girls are more likely to have new technologies at home than boys, and it is mothers rather than fathers who assist them. The survey, conducted among 4,707 children aged six to fourteen, found that 94 % of the girls said that they used a computer or laptop compared with only 88 % of the boys. It also found that 50 % of children chose their mothers to help them to use new technologies, versus 22 %, which chose their fathers.
National Science and Engineering week
6-15 March 2009
National Science Week is an opportunity for people of all ages to take part in science, engineering and technology activities and to talk directly with scientists and engineers about their concerns and hopes for the future.
13-14 March 2009
In the Expo-Sciences held on 13-14 March in Brussels, Belgium, young people between 5 and 20 years present their scientific experiments and innovative ideas. The Expo-Sciences is organised by “Jeunesses Scientifiques de Belgique”.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory: Training Course: ELLS LearningLAB
18-20 March 2009, Heidelberg, Germany
1-3 July 2009, Heidelberg, Germany
15-17 July 2009, Monterotondo, Italy
The European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS) is an education facility to bring secondary school teachers into the research lab for a unique hands-on encounter with state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques. The three-day courses are designed to enable the participating teachers to explore a range of activities, which they can practice in the lab and then take back to the classroom.
Science engagement in action: An international expert panel on the future of Science Centres
20 March 2009
The Finnish Science Center Heureka and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) arrange an international expert seminar on March 20, 2009 where the future of the science centre field will be discussed. Panel speakers, all of them eminent experts in their respective fields, will discuss the challenging issues facing human life on Earth, the role of science in helping to solve these challenges, and what science centres and museums can do to engage citizens more effectively in these matters. The event will also be webcast, and comments and questions from the web will be fed into the panel discussion.
Frontiers in Science Education Research 2009 (FISER'09)
22-24 March 2009
The Conference aims to bring together scholars from all around the world who are involved in various aspects of undergraduate science and mathematics education research, and will cover a wide range of topics such as undergraduate curricula and design, teaching and learning strategies, technology in teaching and learning, faculty development, teacher training and contemporary issues in the field including native language vs. foreign language of instruction and misconceptions in science. FISER'09 will be open to professional science and mathematics education researchers, educators, students and all others who are interested.
31 March – 4 April 2009
This annual EPF workshop on show physics is aimed at bringing together groups with show physics experience and people who have the ambition to set up a new physics show. The workshop will contain lectures by experts on science communication from across Europe, as well as plenty of hands-on experimental sessions where the physics shows can exchange ideas, and where the new groups can learn science communication.
100 Hours of Astronomy
2-5 April 2009
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is about to reach new heights as the Global Cornerstone Project, 100 Hours of Astronomy ramps up. The project invites amateur astronomers, educators, professional astronomers, planetaria, science centres and more to arrange events around the world during this 4-day period and to publicise them on the project website. For those wishing to visit the frontiers of astronomy from their home, a 24-hour webcast from the largest telescopes on the planet will take a unique look behind the scenes at state of the art research facilities.
SciFest 2009: Festival of Science and Technology
15-16 April 2009
The third festival of science and technology, SciFest® 2009, takes place on April 15.-18, 2009 at Joensuu, Finland. SciFest® 2009 features events including popular lectures, game drives, workshops, robotics competitions, and interactive exhibitions. The target group of the festival is pupils of 11-16 years old and high school students.
The European Future Technologies Conference (FET09): Science beyond Fiction
21-23 April 2009
Prague, Czech Republic
The European Future Technologies Conference, FET09, is a new European forum dedicated to frontier research in future and emerging information technologies. Leading scientists, policy-makers, industry representatives and science journalists will convene over 3 days to discuss today's frontier science, tomorrow's technologies and the impact of both on tomorrow's society. This event is jointly organized by the European Commission, the Czech Technical University, and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Registration is open and is free for students and members of the press.
24-25 April 2009
In the Expo-Sciences held on 24-25 April in Liege, Belgium, young people between 5 and 20 years present their scientific experiments and innovative ideas. The Expo-Sciences is organised by “Jeunesses Scientifiques de Belgique”.
Festival Science et Cité: basecamp09
1-10 May 2009 Zürich, Switzerland
22-30 May 2009, Lugano, Switzerland
11-13 June 2009, Chur, Switzerland
27-30 June 2009, Geneva, Switzerland
19-23 August 2009, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
9-13 September 2009 Bern, Switzerland
The third Festival Science et Cité will take place in Switzerland from May to September 2009 in the occasion of the International Year of Planet Earth 2007-2009. The festival is a co-operation with the Science et Cité foundation and the Swiss Academy of Sciences.
13th International Science Festival Göteborg
4-17 May 2009
The most intelligent festival in Sweden! Our aim is to be the best and most exciting meeting-place for researchers, schools, and the general public. Different aspects of the festival will be popping up in unexpected places. Each year the festival is characterized by a central theme. In 2009 we are focusing on civilizations. The activities are open to everyone and almost everything is free of charge.
Earth, our common home: 5th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC)
10-14 May 2009
The vision for this World Environmental Education Congress is Earth as our common home. The congress is for all the actors in environmental education: teachers, researchers, university students, community leaders, civil servants, museum and park interpreters, journalists, etc. This international gathering will allow participants to identify new and persistent challenges for taking the environmental education further.
VII Feria de la Ciencia de Sevilla
14-16 May 2009
The Science Fair is basically designed to help teachers, students and scientific communities share scientific experiences, as well as to promote science in our society. Throughout the 3-day Science Fair, participating students from different educational levels present their science projects that were previously prepared at school. The Science Fair is also a place where national private and public institutions present their current research.
Berlin International Conference on Science Education
29 May 2009
The Pollen project European conference on science education, that will take place on the 29th of May 29, 2009 in Berlin, will address capital issues for large-scale dissemination in Europe of inquiry-based science education at primary school, and aims at setting a milestone towards the generalization in European countries of such an approach. It is co-organised by the Freie Universität Berlin, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and the Pollen FP6 project.
ECSITE Annual Conference 2009
4-6 June 2009
Science communication professionals from across Europe and the world are welcome to participate in the Ecsite Annual Conference 2009 on 4-6 June 2009 in Milan. The conference will be hosted by the National Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo da Vinci”. Three full days of inspiring sessions, workshops and discussions will await our participants. Whether you work in science centres or museums, in aquariums or natural history museums, in research institutes or universities, this is a unique occasion for your calendar.
European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN) 2009 conference: Innovation in Learning Communities
10-13 June 2009
What is the actual relation between innovation and education? Is innovation really a leading paradigm in our society? Europe needs a strategic approach to boost its capacity for creativity, whilst establishing an environment where knowledge is successfully converted into innovative products and services. The European Distance and e-Learning Network welcomes European academic experts and professional practitioners coming to Gdansk to contribute and share innovative experience on 10-13 June 2009. The registration deadline is 1 June 2009.
Development of Science and Technology education in Central and Eastern Europe
14-18 June 2009
The 7th IOSTE Symposium for Central and Eastern Europe will discuss problems of Science and Technology education in the university and both primary and secondary education with international and Central and Eastern Europe experts. The deadline for registration is on 31 March 2009.
XLAB International Science Camps 2009
21 June – 14 July 2009
2-25 August 2009
The XLAB International Science Camps are addressed to high school students, undergraduate college and university students, aged about 17 to 20 years. During the science camp each participant will attend three different weekly courses offered in biology, chemistry and physics. The courses are supervised by scientists of the University of Göttingen and affiliated research organizations. All experiments are hands-on experiments. Demonstrations are rarely used and limited only to highly sophisticated experiments, to the use of NMR, X-Ray or other large research instruments. At the weekends and in the evenings a cultural and social program is arranged. Social contacts among students of different cultural background are as important as experimental work and scientific learning.
W-Tech 2009: Recruitment, Career Development and Networking for Women in IT
24 June 2009
Interested in working in IT, a graduate or postgraduate just starting out, an experienced professional planning your next step, or wanting to get back into the industry after a career break? At W-Tech 2009 -the premier networking event of 2009 for women- you will meet professionals from all areas and levels of the industry and find out about training programmes, personal development and the latest technology trends.
Imagine Cup 2009 - Worldwide Finals
3-9 July 2009
Imagine Cup is a skill contest organised by Microsoft to recognize students who demonstrate excellence in a diverse range of technical and artistic pursuits. The Imagine Cup 2009 seeks innovative contest entries that address this year’s Contest Theme “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today”.
14-15 July 2009
The first International GeoGebra Conference 2009 will allow researchers, developers, and teachers to meet and discuss in working group sessions where they can share their experiences and ideas concerning GeoGebra. GeoGebra is an open source software for mathematics education in schools. The tool joins dynamic geometry, algebra and calculus in a new way and recieved several educational software awards in Europe. The conference will be organised in working groups for specific topics. Participants are invited to propose topics for the working groups.
Summer School Alpbach 2009: Exoplanets: Discovering and Characterizing Earth Type Planets
21-30 July 2009
Held annually since 1975, the Alpbach Summer School enjoys a long tradition in providing in-depth teaching on aspects of space science and space technology with the aim of advancing the training and working experience of European graduates, post-graduate students, young scientists and engineers. Participants are given the opportunity to expand and strengthen their knowledge of selected space issues in workshops which are part of the Summer School programme. Student teams will develop space mission concepts based on this year's theme "Exoplanets: Discovering and Characterizing Earth Type Planets".
Student Summer Camp: European Space Camp 2009
29 July – 9 August 2009
Andøya Rocket Range, Norway
The European Space Camp is a summer camp in English for high-school students, aged 17-20, interested in space and science, and having a background in physics and mathematics. The participants will spend a week doing technical experiments involved in a rocket campaign, working as real rocket scientists, learning how to exploit knowledge they already possess, and broadening their understanding of applied science. Working in groups, they have to use their creativity and learn to cooperate. The programme includes hands-on activities related to the rocket launch, lectures and social activities. Registration deadline: 15 April 2009 / February 15 for applicants in need for visa.