science & innovation in education – your thoughts, please

I’ve just received an e-mail about a forum on Science & Innovation in Education, which’ll be held next year in Wellington on 19-20 April. Now, quite apart from the fact that I’d really like to go to this one, I thought I’d write a bit about the forum here because my correspondent is in the throes of developing a series of questions to form the basis of discussion & asked if I’d be willing to share them around as any & all feedback on them would be very welcome.

In other words – are the following questions ‘good’ questions?

Do you think they’ll be useful in promoting discussion?

If you had to narrow the list down to – say – half a dozen questions, which ones would you include, & why?

(I do have my own opinions here, but that’s all they are, & I’d rather throw this open to everyone here & get a decent discussion going around science education in New Zealand.)

So, don’t be shy! And read on…

Here’s the list:

1.   What is the role of education in the innovation system?

2.   How should New Zealand look to manage the changing demands of students, teachers, society, and science itself?

3.   Our schools form part of local social systems, institutions created to meet human needs. As needs change, as lags, confusions, and conflicts develop, these conditions will be reflected in the schools and in the way various segments of the public view the schools. With this as the sociological frame of reference – what is happening to NZ communities? What are the effects on young people and on schools? And how can teachers, principals, and others prepare themselves to deal with the problems with which they must cope?

4.   Are New Zealanders’ attitudes getting in the way of high achievement in science? How can we continue to change attitudes so that we give all children the opportunity to be inspired to pursue science?

5.   Should we be requiring more from our students?

6.   The current education system lock-steps children by age. Should we begin to focus more on ability, enabling children of different ages to learn together at whatever is the appropriate level

7.  How can education best serve science and how can science best serve education?

8.   What really matters in science education? Does our science education match the demands of the 21st century?

9.   What and how should we be investing in the area of strategic science?

10.  How can we continue to help businesses to realise the commercial potential science can bring to them?

I’ll look forward to hearing what you all have to say 😉


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