ASE Annual Conference 2018, Liverpool

On Friday 5th January, Jen Baughan, our CEO, went along to the ASE Annual Conference, which is Europe’s largest science education conference.  Here are some of her reflections:

The ASE (Association of Science Education) Annual Conference attracts science educators from across the UK and beyond to share good practice, research and practical ideas for the classroom.

The conference hosts workshops covering all phases of education (Ages 0-19) and attracts a variety of professionals, from new teachers to Headteachers to education researchers. The conference also hosts an exhibition with over 100 other organisations, all focused on great STEM education, all with something to share or give away!

I was excited to attend the 2018 conference in Liverpool, knowing that I would be meeting some of the forward-thinking creative science educators from across the UK and further afield, and I wasn’t disappointed.  There were some fantastic exhibitors and we made some new links with organisations including STEM Learning, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Science & Plants for Schools, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Compassion in World Farming, Practical Action, e-Bug and many more.

Two of the workshops that I attended were focussed on Environmental Education (EE) in secondary schools.  The first workshop, facilitated by King’s College London, focussed on a broad overview of the landscape of EE; where is it, what is it and what should the future be? In the session they set out the current situation of environment education (EE) provision in secondary curriculums in England and shared current trends in other countries.  One of the things that stood out to me was how small the audience was and that there were only two practicing secondary teachers in the room.  With the removal of EE as a value underpinning the English National Curriculum in 2014, how high on the agenda of schools is it?  How high can it be? Learning for sustainability is embedded as one of the seven topics in the Scottish National Curriculum and is an element of standard teacher training.

Workshop two was delivered by a secondary science teacher from Judgemeadow School in Leicester and demonstrated how Youtube can be used as an effective learning tool in science education.  By videoing demonstrations, the experiment can be replayed throughout the lesson, more students can see the detail and students can check out the experiments (conducted by their own teachers) online, both before and after the lesson.  Check out:

The keynote session from Michael Reiss entitled Beyond 2020: 10 questions for science education was challenging and thought provoking.  We explored from what the aims of science education should be to how we can teach science to tackle issues of disadvantage; and from what pedagogies are most effective in science education to how the science curriculum should be organised.

I left the event, mind buzzing with ideas, questions, opportunities, and a renewed excitement for learning in science.


Written by: Jen Baughan, CEO

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd.