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Posted on Dec 4, 2009 in STUDY

Measuring the Effectiveness of Specialist Science Enrichment Program Ph.D Scholarship

Measuring the Effectiveness of Specialist Science Enrichment Program is a research project funded by the Australian Research Council, the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and the Gravity Discovery Centre. They are currently seeking three highly motivated PhD students to work with the project.

Closing date is 15 December.
Please forward a current CV, including contact details, academic  transcripts and a cover letter explaining your interest in and  expertise with any of the three aspects of the project by email to Ruby Chan  ( Applicants will be notified by 22  December.

This research links academics interested in promoting and enhancing  science education and communication from the University of Western  Australia, Curtin University of Technology, the University of Glasgow,
the Gravity Discovery Centre (a specialist centre for school science  enrichment), and industry partner The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation  which specializes in providing education enrichment to indigenous  disadvantaged students in remote schools.

The project will make use of the extensive facilities of the Eureka  Prize-winning Gravity Discovery Centre, UWA’s large new robotic  telescope – The Zadko Telescope – and university facilities at UWA and  Curtin. The aim of the research is to evaluate the effectiveness of  science enrichment programs delivered through the Gravity Discovery
Centre in changing students’ attitudes towards science, student career  goals and expectations as well as their science understanding.

The research will provide an exceptional opportunity for research  training and collaborative partnerships within the fields of science,  science education and science communication. The PhD students will be  based in the Faculty of Life and Physical Science at UWA, but will be  required to liaise and work with the Gravity Discovery Centre  (approximately 80km north of Perth) and schools in Western Australia.

Candidates could be experienced science teachers with appropriate  qualifications, recent Bachelor of Science or Engineering graduates  with an interest in science communication and education, or graduates of  double degrees that combine science with arts or social sciences. All  should have a serious interest in astronomy and physics and in working  with school students. Candidates will be expected to develop education  programmes, work closely with school classes and then evaluate student  responses.

The PhD students will be expected to focus their research on one of  three types of educational programs all delivered through the Gravity  Discovery Centre as follows:

a)    Specialised Enrichment: Innovative high quality programs already developed by the Gravity Discovery Centre and comparable to many enrichment programs offered by diverse facilities across Australia. These activities include both pre-visit and post-visit classroom activities and international links.

b)    Motivating through Research: Students will use the Zadko telescope and interact with research students. This aspect of the program will enable students to discover new astronomical objects and to provide improved data
for known objects (asteroids, near Earth objects, gamma ray bursts and supernovae).

c)    Learning through Narrative: Students will use the Cosmology Gallery facilities at the Gravity Discovery Centre. Here we will focus on the  story of the universe and compare cultural creation stories at the  Gravity Discovery Centre with the scientific story. This unique  facility is specifically designed for multi-cultural approaches to  learning.

We particularly welcome applications from people with special interest in working with indigenous students, with specialised knowledge of astronomy and teaching through a narrative approach.

Coinvestigators: Prof David Blair, Prof Grady Venville, A/Prof Nancy Longnecker, A/Prof Mario Zadnik, A/Prof David Coward.

For more information, contact:

Assoc Prof Nancy Longnecker

Coordinator, Science Communication Program
Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences, M011
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA   6009

ph: 61 8 6488 3926

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