“Education 2020: Enabling learning in science, engineering and mathematics” is designed to address the decline in science and engineering uptake through the capabilities of the National Broadband Network to link users from anywhere in Australia to educators, researchers, engineers, and scientists.
Dr Oliver, a Senior Research Fellow with the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, will lead an already well-established partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and the University of Sydney.
The project will build on the several years of foundational development in space science and space engineering research in a public space in the Pathways to Space program funded in 2010 by DIISRTE’s Australian Space Research Program. It includes a high school education program, together with undergraduate and postgraduate programs centred on a 140 square metre Mars Yard and robotics lab at the Powerhouse Museum. The Mars Yard is the largest of its kind in a public space worldwide.
The new funding will allow the building of a digital media/television studio at the Powerhouse, two new tele-operable rovers to join the two existing rovers in the Mars Yard, and a video and multi-media content searchable database to be constructed and populated with appropriate student, teacher, and public engagement resources. The new project also includes teacher professional development across multiple locations using laptops or desktops as well as video conferencing facilities.
The grant allows the creation of 11 positions varying from 10% to 100% - four of the new positions are full time, ranging from engineers to a curriculum writer, and multi-media experts.
Dr Oliver said, “I am excited to have the chance to engage students, teachers and the public with science and engineering research. There is good evidence that school science has little resemblance to real science.