National Education Group

On January 24th 2013 ASDC held their first education conference, at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. We had delegates from across the UK and speakers included Prof Sir John Holman, former director of the National Science Learning Centre at York and senior education advisor for the Wellcome Trust and Lynne Horton, immediate past chair of the Association for Science Education, immediate past chair of the National Advisors and Inspectors Group for Science and School Improvement Officer for North Tyneside. Both speakers had a refreshingly clear vision of what needs to be done to ensure that we develop the next generation of scientists and mathematicians.

The aim of the conference was to enable delegates to see how they and their centres can contribute.

Below you can read the full story of the conference, as it happened, and request to join our Education Google Group here:

Here is the story of the Education Conference 2013, or click here to view the event page with full schedule of the day


The 2013 UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres Education Conference, as it happened.

Storified by ASDC· Tue, Jan 29 2013 03:55:57

This year saw the first ever all-singing, all-dancing education conference organised by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC). Here's the day as it happened.
For those of you heading to the @sciencecentres Education Conference tomorrow at @scienceatlife, the hashtag is #EdConf2013Maddy Foard
The @spacecentre education massive on en route to @scieneatlife for #EdConf2013 gonna talk lots out teaching science to people. :-)Josh Barker
@a_n_s here tweeting for #EdConf2013 Buzzing atmosphere of chatter between the delegates who are here so far!ASDC
We've just been introduced to everyone and now Penny is talking about our national strategic projects #EdConf2013ASDC
#EdConf2013 penny: we have tons of data showing the depth and breadth of the sectors' activities across diverse audiences.ASDC
#EdConf2013 @handsondna enabled students to get a taste of what real science is like and explore evolution. 15 centres trained and equipped.ASDC
#EdConf2013 we reached over 1700 students in first 6 months. Evalutation gave us a fantastic opp to get consistent data from across UK.ASDC
#EdConf2013 results were cracking 95% 14-16 yo's said the workshop said it made them feel more confident to do science for example.ASDC
#EdConf2013 #exploreyouruniverse covers all the big stuff and the littlest stuff from amazing work of @stfc_mattersASDC
#EdConf2013 We've got 100s of bits of equipment going to 10 centres to deliver programmes for students and familiesASDC
#EdConf2013 all of our resources for #exploreyouruniverse are available for free online including our amazing handbook!ASDC
#EdConf2013 @suziesheehy helped us out massively with the particle accelerator in a salad bowl.... Ita pretty rad!Michaela Livingstone
#EdConf2013 whats next? Sharing more, get more consistent impact data, increase financial sustainability, more training, etc.ASDC
#EdConf2013 and what are the better ways of sharing academic evidence? But what do our members want? Tell us!ASDC
#EdConf2013 Dr Penny Fidler kicks off the ASDC day in a summary of the multifaceted charity that recruits tens of thousands to scienceNick Winterbotham
Now Linda Conlon is introducing professor Sir John Holman representing @wellcome #EdConf2013ASDC
#EdConf2013 Linda says stuff happens outside London and science centres are the regional players to allow people to engage with science.ASDC
#EdConf2013 John is warning that hes going to say negative things... Some are negated by the fact that today is happening...ASDC
#EdConf2013 Prof John Holman picks up the gauntlet by paying tribute to informal science learning and offering a quite challenging critiqueNick Winterbotham
#EdConf2013 John is running through the 2 reports on informal science learning commissioned by Wellcome. Their commentary is much shorter...ASDC
#EdConf2013 Wellcome commissioned them because the future of science depends on the quality of science education today.ASDC
#EdConf2013 learners spend 82% of their time OUT of school. These experiences give meaning to what is learned in school.ASDC
#EdConf2013 we need more killer facts that show the impact of informal science learning eg summer gap. Unfortunately most data comes from USASDC
#EdConf2013 informal science learning in uk is a diverse field. John is sure that globally the uk is most creative and diverse.ASDC
#EdConf2013 the report asks does the ecosystem need better management? Wellcome disagrees. Somethings need improving... But not super agencyASDC
#EdConf2013 intersting discussion on how the ecosystem could be supported to help make improvements. E.g. How much to feed and what to feed?ASDC
#EdConf2013 Does the informal science learning eco-system need managing or is it stronger for Darwinian natural selectionNick Winterbotham
#EdConf2013 Bridget from Science Oxford too much management could risk degrading the diversity.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Ian Simmons says that the components of ecosystem need to be self critical about how theyre managing their own resources.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Linda says shes not sure she agrees with John about the quality of all the informal science learning experiences out there.ASDC
#EdConf2013 linda says we dont have any formal industry standards.... So we cant compare outside and across institutions.ASDC
#EdConf2013 sarah from the deep says we dont communicate between ourselves enough so comms need to be managed better.ASDC
#EdConf2013 informal science learning sector defines itself based on what theyre not ie the negatives they see on the formal sideASDC
#EdConf2013 schools have an equal but opposite attitude to informal learning - neither side fully values each other.ASDC
#EdConf2013 reports also cover the gaps that are percieved in provision of informal learning opportunities eg unders 5s and over 19s.ASDC
#EdConf2013 evaluation activity is wide spread but relatively unsophisticated...ASDC
#EdConf2013 is it unreasonable to expect all providers to measure long term impact? John thinks not. But is there a better way forward?ASDC
#EdConf2013 maybe funders should look at big picture indicators and give direction on what short term indicators to collect data on.ASDC
#EdConf2013 we have a report on working towards a common set of indicators.
ASDC: Assessing the impact of science centres in EnglandThe Association for Science and Discovery Centres
#EdConf2013 Penny would love to speak to a social scientist about collecting data on proximal indicators on eg interest.ASDC
#EdConf2013 john makes point that it seems we're interested a lot in sparking interest but less so on sustaining interest.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Noel thinks long term impacts would be measuring the immeasurable. John says nothing is impossible.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Bridget thinks that the real trouble is that our long-term impact is collective and should be researched by specialist.ASDC
#EdConf2013 john says that he thinks we have a lot of experience and understanding of what we do... But do we share that knowledge enough?ASDC
#EdConf2013 Penny says a lot of us have backgrounds in science which gives us a reductionist view... We need social scientistsASDC
#EdConf2013 Andy from NHM says that lack of long term data perpetuates the development of 1-off experiences. We need to be more progressiveASDC
#EdConf2013 the research required to learn more about informal learning needs to be based on practice in the field and more sharing.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Bridget says a conditon of funding of infornal learning research to make an active attempt to communicate their results.ASDC
#EdConf2013 ian simmons funders dont like extended projects which have follow ups etc. There's too much short termism built in to the systemASDC
#EdConf2013 John says that this morning were acting professionally but do all parts of the community share?ASDC
#EdConf2013 Is our sharing systematic enough? Could we offer accrediation?ASDC
#EdConf2013 Can the craft of informal learning become more professional? Some of our finest craftspeople are utterly professional, surely?Nick Winterbotham
@nickwinterbee wonder why we lionise the idea of 'professionalism'. Theatre & music don't. Is informal learning risk averse? #EdConf2013Paul Bowers
#EdConf2013 Andy Lloyd says that the barrier is the diversity of the sector - who would have the experience and authority to serve this?ASDC
#EdConf2013 Wellcomes says its essential that the sector explores the options and develops them itself.ASDC
#EdConf2013 John believes that in the future driver of education is informal learning... Government to ignore at their peril.ASDC
#EdConf2013 also that the government just doesnt get informal learning which is why ww need more killer facts for advocacyASDC
#EdConf2013 Nick says gov usually asks for data when really the answer is no.ASDC
#EdConf2013 the uk is facing a bankruptcy in learning. Other countries get it and how informal learning has positive impact on economy.ASDC
#EdConf2013 why dont we do more national projects that align with other organisations in sector? To spark the flame and then fan it...ASDC
#EdConf2013 Linda Leuchars from Dundee says being inspected by HMEI helps give them credibility to schools.ASDC
#EdConf2013 John says future areas of research could be activation theory and looking at unique experiences.ASDC
#EdConf2013 John says that the reports are very much the beginning. Wellcome now want feedback and will then look to move forward.ASDC
#EdConf2013 now we're asking delgates for their thoughts as we move in to our roundtable discussion.ASDC
@sciencecentres: #EdConf2013 Prof John Holman has helped us craftfolk to get more professional merely by coming to talk to us!Nick Winterbotham
@sciencecentres #EdConf2013 Wales is actively engaging with the agenda and @myTQG in north Wales is a great example. Key to the economy.Helen James
#EdConf2013 summary of discussion is that we could betrer share our experiences of working with schools. Check out our next leadership call!ASDC
Visit the below page for info on our up-coming leadership calls:
ASDC: Events, meetings and conferencesThe Association for Science and Discovery Centres

Next one taking place on March 20th on maintaining school visits.
#EdConf2013 signing off whilst lunch is served... Any comments or questions of our discussions that we can include later?ASDC
#EdConf2013 ian simmons leading delegatea on a tour around the centre.ASDC
Lunch time at #EdConf2013 we're going to have a closer look at the exhibits at @scienceatlife then afterwards, it's the showcase event.Josh Barker
Playing in the curiosity zone at @scienceatlife scienceatlife during #EdConf2013 lunch break #curiousatlife Whewell
#EdConf2013 and we're back! Now its the showcase event to hear about innovation. First up Linda Leuchars on working with the communityASDC
#EdConf2013 next up is Nora Maddock from Wellcome on the impact and legacy of In the Zone.ASDC
#EdConf2013 For the short time that I had access to a kit it was awesome... But a huge distraction from work :SMichaela Livingstone
#EdConf2013 next up is Nick Winterbotham chair if GEM talking about the wider field of heritage learning...ASDC
#EdConf2013 nick is convincing us why science and arts are really happy siblings.ASDC
#EdConf2013 next up is Life's Noel talking about dino maths.ASDC Noel and his 'dino femur'! #EdConf2013ASDC proof that you can polish a turd from Noel #EdConf2013Michaela Livingstone
Fossilised dinosaur faeces.
#EdConf2013 next Bridget Holligan from Science Oxford talking about the big science event. They want others to roll it out!ASDC
#EdConf2013 pupils come up with the sorts of research questions that adults would never think of! The main point is kids ownership.ASDC
#EdConf2013 also important was changing kids perceptions of what science is about and seeing themselves as able to do science.ASDC
#EdConf2013 project evaluation showed that it did have a postive effect on students attainment!ASDC
#EdConf2013 now up is josh barker ftom the national space centre talking about the national space academy.ASDC
#EdConf2013 next up is Lynn Horton from ASE talking on current issues in education and where schools need help.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Lynn is pointing to where she thinks teachers might want support in from changes to the primary curriculum...ASDC
#EdConf2013 now we're looking at secndary reforms.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Mondays 8-9pm #ASEchat for discussions on science education.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Now we're exploring whether we should set up an education group and looking for a chair!ASDC
If you'd like to put yourself forward as chair of the group (open to anyone in a member organisation) then just get in touch!
#EdConf2013 now we're asking what people think we should be doing to support the sector. Noel suggests we need links to social scientists.ASDC
#EdConf2013 its suggested that different flavours of the sector are looking at similar issues and whether we could join up our thinking.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Lynn agrees that having follow up impact information would be something schools would like to see.ASDC
#EdConf2013 is accreditation already available through eg PGCEs, AMA etc but Noel says we need to ask whether theyre relevant?ASDC
#EdConf2013 We want to get an idea of the areas of participation.ASDC
#EdConf2013 Angela from Intech says that we need proper national project for primary level students. Nora says Wellcome want to support thatASDC
#EdConf2013 and that's it... Thanks folks its been really interesting! We'll send you all details soon about the education group!ASDC
#EdConf2013 The @siencecentres conference has been an excellent opportunity to share good practice, thanks ASDC. Heading home now!Techniquest
Really useful day. With good food. Thanks ASDC & Centre for life. #edconf2013Jamie
Please have a look at our Education group and sign up to our mailing list here:
National Learning Managers' GroupThe Association for Science and Discovery Centres

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