Posted in Teaching and Learning

#teachmeetNZ – International year of Light

So, readers of this blog will now I am a massive fan of #teachmeet, especially #teachmeetNZ. The recent International year of light session was no exception – quality presentations from passionate, energetic educators who are willing to try, play, fail and share.

The big take home messages for me from this session was to have fun and to trust in your self and your students.

The session started with Andrea Sloane from the Science learning hub talking about some resources on the hub and some changes coming as the biotech learning hub is integrated with the science learning hub.


I talked about fun with fireworks – how you can use them to teach all sorts of different content, from history (I do love that you can almost plot the travel of fireworks through Europe by following the music composed at those times) and how you can use them to teach very young students right through to L3 Chem electron orbitals.

The amazingly passionate and inspiring Tony Cairns also talked about the importance of fun in the class room, and how to make your lessons engaging and exciting. I just love Tony’s vibrancy, and I am jealous of his vocab too 🙂

Matt Nicoll and Paula Hey both talked about designing courses that allowed for greater student voice. I am starting to explore this more for my course and students, and the combines knowledge and sharing of these two educators really does amaze me. Too often educators get caught in the ‘it is too hard’ ‘there are too many barriers’ ‘ I can’t possibly have students in my classes learning different things, how will they/I cope’ traps. When actually, if we relax, release the ‘front of the room’ thinking and have high expectations, the students will get into it and fly.

Emma McFayden linked in all the way from China to talk about how she is working to change perceptions of Scientists in her students. A point that really struck home for me was that students do need to be exposed to a wide variety of ‘scientists’ and mentors so that they recognise that everyone, including themselves, is a Scientist to some degree.


Then there was an AMAZING talk from Micheal Harvey about the possibilities of time travel. It was really cool, it stretched me and made me go away and look stuff up and ask the physcis teaher at school. I also have a student who is really interested in this, so I shared this talk with him too. The coolest thing was that this was inspired from a conversation with a yr 7 student, so it was a great remindere to not place ‘ceilings’ on students (or teachers) learning

Then Dave Warren spoke about how the Chem department is using its outreach program to meet the ‘graduate profiles’ outlined by the university. I can speak from experience that these programs are amazing, and Dave is super passionate about helping school students and teachers. Also, check out the videos they have been making, the are super awesome.

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