April-May 2018 GeoEdLink AGC logo

Your geoscience e-newsletter courtesy of the Australian Geoscience Council

      President's Opening Remarks |President's Report | Geoscience News | Geoscience Views | Geoscience Activities
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From the AGC President - Extracts from the President's AGM and General Meeting Reports

Bill Shaw

Bill Shaw, AGC President


Highlights of the AGM report:

The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) continues towards meeting the objectives of our Strategic Plan. Formulating this plan was one of the most important achievements of the Executive and our Member Organisation Representatives. It is clear and simple, and we have still not really identified any gaps. This means that all our focus and energy is directed to meeting our overall goal: to raise the profile of Geoscience to be pre-eminent in Australia and to be recognised as one of the great fields of general science ...

Some of the things we do require significant time, effort and money. Others have a big impact without much investment. As an example, we have started talking about Geoscience rather than geoscience(s), geology, geophysics, earth science(s), etc. This approach has been carried through into the Decadal Plan for Geoscience that is being developed with our involvement by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). When released later this year, this Plan should be the touchpaper that lights the fuse for a decade of transition in Geoscience.

The influence we are having on our three Strategic Pillars is elaborated on below.

Education

We have continued the Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund in conjunction with the AAS. This year we are providing many with opportunities to engage with our AGCC 2018 event in Adelaide as a way to further promote these Travel Fund scholarships.

AGCC 2018 will be the major focus of Earth Science Week in Australia. The AGC's involvement now creates wide awareness of this important week in Australia.

Our Geoscience Education Committee continues to support all the key organisations in Australia (TESEP, AUGEN, ESWA). If you are aware of others, let me know.

Read the full education report here.

Advocacy

During the last 12 months we have seen important advances in a number of advocacy issues. These include support for UNCOVER Australia and the National Rock Garden project. We also attended science-meets-parliament and further engaged with other STEM-based organisations.

We are looking to promote Geoscience to the public by recognition of further National Geoscience Champions and the outcome of our deliberations will be announced at the AGCC 2018 in Adelaide.

Read the full advocacy report here.

Sustainability - AGCC 2018

We have welcomed the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group (ANZGG) as an observer to our General Meetings and have initiated discussions with another group which are at an early stage.

The death of notable Western Australian Geoscientist and Past-President of the AGC, Dr Phillip Playford, prompted us to investigate some of the early history of the AGC. We have commenced the compilation of our early records. The AGC first emerged as a proposal in mid-1975 and was inaugurated in Adelaide on 11 September, 1981.

Our major focus for the last six months (and the next six months) is of course our inaugural Convention in Adelaide from Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 October.

Read the full sustainability report here.

Read my full AGM report here.

Acknowledgments

The last 12 months have only been possible with the help and support of a great group of people. Read my full list of acknowledgments here.

Other recent highlights

As part of our promotion of the AGCC event in Adelaide (October 14-18) I attended the Australian Exploration Geoscience Conference in Sydney with Leanne Gunther. Our objective was to promote sponsorship, solicit abstracts and encourage registrations.

The AGC has participated in the Australian Academy of Science process to develop a series of Decadal Plans covering the various Committees that they have formed to help formulate science policy. The release of the Decadal Plan for Geoscience is immanent and we are expecting to have an interesting 'futurology' discussion session at AGCC 2018 that will cover how Geoscience is changing and developing into the future.

Many other matters have also been addressed by the AGC following the AGM and you can read more and find links to my full General Meeting reports here.

AGCC banner

In concluding this brief summary of our activities I encourage you and all of our stakeholders to support the 2018 AGC Convention. Set aside some time to plan your involvement, whether through attending, presenting or partnering, and make sure your 2018 calendar has October 14 - 18 clearly blocked in for the AGCC!

Read our AGCC update report here.

Bill Shaw
President, Australian Geoscience Council

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Editorial

Just as I was putting the finishing touches to this edition, the Gonski 2.0 review was released and I was immediately left with a sinking feeling as I watched the education football thrown back into play in the lead up to the next federal election.

On the upside, recommendations that are well intentioned are welcome. It should be obvious that it is worthwhile to maximise individual learning growth for every student every year and that this may be what is needed to reverse the decline in Australia's education outcomes. Hopefully this goes some way to giving direction to the government. It is really no surprise that anybody concerned with public education should find that the more students who realise their full learning potential, the greater the cumulative lift will be in our overall national performance. What is a surprise is that this might be a revelation to some, especially those in government.

On the downside, the grand idea that all students should get an individual learning plan and all teachers and schools can implement this over the short to medium term is nothing but a pie-in-the-sky ambition unless supported with a massive increase in resources so that class sizes can be reduced and teachers can get on with what they do best. In an era of ongoing reduction in Federal funding (in real terms) for public schools and consistent shortfalls from state governments as well it is disingenuous of governments at all levels to hail this new report as the way forward unless they actually fund it and fund it properly.

Concomitant with all of this is yet another curriculum review! Change weary teachers and administrators certainly don't need this and even if the intention is to rewrite the structure to fit the individual learning plan model, this is yet another opportunity for downgrading content, especially geoscience content, along the way. Our community must watch this space carefully!

Given the political football education funding turned into under Gonski 1.0 I will remain utterly cynical about this report and its implementation until there is a very large amount of real money on the table, in concert with a transparently equitable formula, to actually do what Gonski suggests should be done. Anything else should be seen as yet another fail by government on this vital piece of nation building for the future.

Greg McNamara - Editor, GeoEdLink
All feedback and submissions should be sent to the GeoEdLink Editor, Greg McNamara

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Geoscience Education News & Reviews

 STOP PRESS!

The super-early registration discount for the AGCC 2018 has been extended until May 14 for people submitting abstracts in the AUGEN Symposium
The super-early registration fee of $765 (lower than the Early Bird registration fee of $1,000) is still available for presenters who BOTH register for the conference AND submit an abstract for Theme 5.3 by May 14.
To obtain the discount you must submit your abstract first and then register via the link in the abstract submission portal. If you try to register first, the discount will not be applied.
Read the full report here .

 Gonski 2.0 starts another discussion

Teachers and other educators have been waiting for the next report by David Gonski, Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Education Excellence in Australian Schools. The report suggests Australian education is based on an ineffective industrial-era model using a one-size-fits-all method that focuses primarily on academic achievement.

For school education the report says:

Maximising every student’s learning growth every year requires a set of shifts across Australian education systems, and a sustained, long-term and coordinated improvement effort based on shared ambition, action and accountability.

It recommends:

Priority one: Deliver at least one year’s growth in learning for every student every year
Priority two: Equip every child to be a creative, connected and engaged learner in a rapidly changing world
Priority three: Cultivate an adaptive, innovative and continuously improving education system

and five areas in which these priorities should be addressed:

  •   Laying the foundations for learning
  •   Equipping every student to grow and succeed in a changing world
  •   Creating, supporting and valuing a profession of expert educators
  •   Empowering and supporting school leaders
  •   Raising and achieving aspirations through innovation and continuous improvement

Amongst a range of recommendations was the suggestion that we revise the structure of the Australian Curriculum progressively over the next five years to present the learning areas and general capabilities as learning progressions.
Read the report here.

 STEM partnership forum report adds to the conversation

The recent education forum, chaired by Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, has produced the Optimising STEM Industry-School Partnerships: Inspiring Australia's Next Generation Final Report. This document sets out multiple recommendations, some of which overlap with the recent Gonski report mentioned above.

The recommendations include:

  •   The Australian Government, in partnership with State and Territory governments and industry associations should collaborate to develop a more detailed understanding of future STEM workforce needs.
  •   The Education Council should review how the senior secondary system, including the ATAR, can incentivise students to study the most advanced and appropriate subjects, and also review the impact on school teaching practices and student tertiary outcomes of universities having dropped prerequisites for courses or specialisations that require a strong foundation in mathematics.
  •   The Education Council should develop minimum national requirements for teacher professional learning, a proportion of which should include relevant, discipline specific professional learning from an accredited provider.
  •   Education authorities should support principals and lead teachers to engage with industry and other partners to develop and implement high quality, contemporary professional learning materials and teaching practices in STEM.
  •   To support the delivery of VET qualifications in STEM fields in secondary schools, education authorities should collaborate with industry to help secondary school teachers acquire and maintain industry currency requirements in line with national standards, including providing industry placements and other professional learning opportunities.
  •   Governments and industry should work together to focus the narrative for primary and secondary students on how STEM skills and knowledge can solve real world problems.
  •   The Education Council should consider and promote models of best practice to bring together schools and industry at scale and illustrate the potential benefits of adopting approaches across jurisdictions.
  •   The Education Council should establish a national online resource and provide a toolkit that brings together material to support schools and industry in designing, implementing and evaluating partnerships
  •   The Education Council should prioritise and accelerate the introduction by 2020 of a national lifelong Unique Student Identifier to enable a more sophisticated analysis and understanding of student pathways and progress in Australia.
  •   The Education Council should accelerate efforts on the collaborative action under the National School STEM Education Strategy, to build “national reports to chart national change in a range of STEM data indicators.”
Download the report here.

 The annual Professional Scientists Remuneration Survey

The annual Professional Scientists Remuneration Survey has found STEM salary increases have crept ahead of the national average, and conditions have slightly improved over the last 12 months for the STEM workforce as a whole. However, female scientists are still not getting the same opportunities for promotion or seniority as their male peers with similar qualifications and experience.
Read the full report here .

 Congratulations Alison

Alison Kelsey, PhD graduate of the University of Queensland School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, was awarded a $3000 travel grant to present her work at the European Geophysical Union meeting, recently held in Vienna. The grant was awarded using the Bob Carter Memorial Fund, a fund set up to commemorate the life and work of the late Professor Bob Carter who died in January 2016.
Read more about Alison's work here.

 CONASTA 67 is almost here
CONASTA67 logo

The CONASTA 67 theme of Spotlight on our future has been chosen to inspire all educators to focus on the influence of science on our lives. CONASTA 67 will celebrate the successes of science, particularly Australian science, and will explore the vital role of science in our future.

Two Ruth Dircks ASTA Scholarships to CONASTA are available to cover the cost of registration, valued at $585.
Applications close on Friday, 11 May 2018.
Apply here.

 Are you ready for National Science Week?

The 2018 National Science Week is almost here.
If you are thinking about running an event, this webpage will prove helpful.
Find out more about the events on offer here.

 Get ready for Earth Science Week, October 14-20!
ESW18 logo








The  AGCC  in  Adelaide  will be a major focus of Earth Science Week in 2018 but for those who cannot get to Adelaide to join the fun there is plenty for you to see and do. You can even organise your own event!
The theme for 2018 is Earth as Inspiration. This coming year's event will emphasize artistic expression as a unique, powerful opportunity for geoscience education and understanding in the 21st century.
Find out more about the international event here. To get in the swing of things take a Geoscience Australia quiz here.

 Hawaii, Iceland and more ...
Teachers on Hawaii
Great company, great rocks, fantastic trip!


See amazing volcanism first-hand and explore active volcanoes and more on great teacher-orientated trips through GEOETC. Collect data, samples and learn how to develop scientific field notes and map in the field.

These trips cater for a small number of people so that personalised learning experiences can happen for all the participants. The trip is also not overly expensive, with all the land transport, accommodation, breakfasts, some dinners, park entry fees covered.

For more information you can visit http://geoetc.com/field-adventures/ or email Gary Lewis on gary@geoetc.com for more details.



 Depth Studies Fieldwork Programs for the NSW Curriculum

Snowy River. Inage courtesy Greg McNamara
Depth Studies are available for all Yr 11 Modules in 2018



In response to the recent changes to the NSW Science curriculum, Latitude Group Travel is introducing Depth Studies fieldwork programs, covering each Science subject and module. They custom design 3 day fieldwork programs to link to each NSW Science subject and module.

Find out more here.
 Is the School of Rock for you?

JOIDES Resolution School of Rock 2018 is happening in July. Participants will live in hotel accommodation in Auckland. The program will begin with the port call of the JOIDES Resolution, during which participants will tour and work on board the vessel. During the days that follow, participants will take part in related lab and field trip activities.
Applications close May 7.
Find out more here.
Apply here.

 Time to enrol in the Australian Science Olympiad Exams

The Australian Science Olympiad Exams are designed to select the top students to attend the Australian Science Olympiads Summer School and are the first step in being selected to represent Australia at the International Science Olympiads. Registrations are now open.
Schools must register the number of students via the school sign in area on the ASI website. If you do not know, or can’t access your school ID or password, please contact ASI at asi@asi.edu.au or on 02 6125 6228.
Registrations close Wednesday 18 July, 2018.

This is a great opportunity to attend the Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad Summer School and ultimately represent Australia at the 2019 International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO)! This program is supported by the AGC. Read more about the 2017 IESO here.

   On-line resources - links and reviews   
 

 National Science Week, August 11-19 2018 resource booklet

The school theme of 2018 National Science Week is Game Changers and Change Makers, and will focus on the scientists, engineers, technologists, mathematicians, designers and innovators of the past and present who have made, and are making, great improvements to the way we live.

The teacher resource book is an 84-page, web-based digital resource that features past and emerging research and ideas from the worlds of science, science fiction, design, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, marine science and agriculture in connective and sometimes surprising ways.
Download the resource book here: http://asta.edu.au/programs/natscienceweek/resources/2018.

 Take a class onboard the Joides Resolution

The latest Joides cruise takes in the eastern seaboard of New Zealand's north island. Connect your class live to the JR at sea! They provide live video broadcasts via zoom.us with the educators and scientists on board the ship during every expedition. Sign up is on a first come, first served basis.
Click here for the broadcast calendar.

 Oliphant Science Awards - South Australia

The Oliphant Science Awards are a wonderful opportunity for school students from Reception to Year 12 to develop their interests in science through a competition with a range of categories to suit a wide variety of abilities and interests
Register as a coordinator here. Registrations close 21st June, 2018.
Find out more here.

 PALMS Foundation package released

Earth Science Western Australia has released the latest Primary Australian Literacy Mathematics and Science (PALMS) package. The package, full of hands-on earth science linked activities, can be downloaded for free.
http://tinyurl.com/y7wdcfkx.

 In class with Brian Cox

He is back in Australia and you can join him in a digital classroom from around Australia as he answers students' burning questions about life and the cosmos.
Register your class and submit your questions for Brian by Monday 14 May 2018.
This unique event will stream Brian Cox into your classroom on Tuesday 22 May.
https://tinyurl.com/y7jp5xoj.

 Earth Science Western Australia at International Day of Women and Girls

Watch the event as it was recorded live!
https://tinyurl.com/ybq9vdkl.

 STEM X 2018 applications closed

Applications for the 2018 STEM X Academy Residential Program have now closed. The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) will be notifying all applicants of the outcome of the selection process from 18 October.
To find out more about the STEM X Academy click here.

 Science ASSIST web site bigger and better than ever

Science ASSIST is an innovative national online advisory service for school science educators and technicians. It is freely available to ALL Australian schools from ALL education jurisdictions and sectors in EVERY state and territory. Science ASSIST is managed by the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) in consultation with Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA).
To explore this great site click here.

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President's Report

Australian Geoscience Council - President's Report to the Annual General Meeting and subsequent General Meetings
by Dr Bill Shaw

I am using the same format as my previous Annual Report to indicate how the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) continues towards meeting the objectives of our Strategic Plan. Formulating this plan was one of the most important achievements of the Executive and our Member Organisation Representatives. It is clear and simple, and we have still not really identified any gaps. This means that all our focus and energy is directed to meeting our overall goal: to raise the profile of Geoscience to be pre-eminent in Australia and to be recognised as one of the great fields of general science ….

Some of the things we do require significant time, effort and money. Others have a big impact without much investment. As an example, we have started talking about Geoscience rather than geoscience(s), geology, geophysics, earth science(s), etc. This approach has been carried through into the Decadal Plan for Geoscience that is being developed with our involvement by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). When released later this year, this Plan should be the touchpaper that lights the fuse for a decade of transition in Geoscience.

The influence we are having on our three Strategic Pillars is elaborated on below.

Education

We have continued the Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund in conjunction with the AAS. Five scholarships totalling $22,400 were awarded in 2017 and four totalling $15,800 in 2018. We are ensuring that all recipients produce reports, posted on our website, and this year we are providing many with opportunities to engage with our AGCC 2018 event in Adelaide as a way to further promote these Travel Fund scholarships.

Earth Science Week in 2017 was promoted on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) with the photo competition again using hashtag #ozrockstocktake. Our promotional efforts included six radio interviews with one done by Brad Pillans as Chair of the National Rock Garden Committee. The AGC's involvement now creates wide awareness of this important week in Australia. In 2018 our Convention in Adelaide will be the major focus of Earth Science Week in Australia.

David Cohen and I both presented at the annual Australasian University Geoscience Educators' Network (AUGEN) meeting in Sydney, and at the 10th International Mining Geology Conference in Hobart that is organised by the AusIMM and AIG. I also had the opportunity to promote the JORC and VALMIN Codes at Curtin University and at IMARC in Melbourne.

Our Geoscience Education Committee continues to support all the key organisations in Australia (TESEP, AUGEN, ESWA). If you are aware of others, let me know. We are pleased to be an ongoing supporter of Suzy Urbaniak's program at Kent Street High School and we congratulated her for winning a Prime Minister's Prize for her science teaching. We continue to support the Australian Science Olympiads and our national winners competed in the International Earth Science Olympiad in Nice in late August.

The AGC's major vehicle for communication continues to be GeoEdLink, produced and delivered online by Greg McNamara, but we are very pleased with the support we have also had from our Member Organisations in disseminating information quickly and widely.

Advocacy

During the last 12 months we have seen important advances in a number of advocacy issues:

  •   We have continued to support UNCOVER Australia. This initiative has attracted significant Federal Government funding for the MinEx CRC proposal and the recently commissioned National Resources Statement
  •   The release on 12 October of Richard Schodde's report Long-term forecast of Australia's mineral production and revenue - The outlook for gold: 2017-2057.
  •   The AGC continues to support and engage with the National Rock Garden project in Canberra.
  •   We were represented at Science Meets Parliament in Canberra in early March by Genna McDonagh and Brad Pillans. Genna has become involved in coordinating our Early Career Geoscientists network and helping us develop a social media strategy as part of preparations for AGCC 2018.
  •   Through our membership of Science and Technology Australia (STA) we are developing relationships with other science-based organisations in Australia and collectively starting to have more influence on overall policy strategy, especially in the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  •   We are looking to promote Geoscience to the public by recognition of further National Geoscience Champions and the outcome of our deliberations will be announced at the AGCC 2018 in Adelaide.
  •   Jon Hronsky's report as Chairman highlights a number of other areas where our advocacy strategy is having a big impact.

Sustainability - AGCC 2018

We have welcomed the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group (ANZGG) as an observer to our General Meetings and have initiated discussions with another group which are at an early stage.

We noted the passing during this year of Dr Phillip Playford, a notable Western Australian Geoscientist and Past-President of the AGC. This prompted us to investigate some of the early history of the AGC and we have commenced the compilation of our early records. The AGC first emerged as a proposal in mid-1975 and was inaugurated in Adelaide on 11 September, 1981.

Our major focus for the last six months (and the next six months) is of course our inaugural Convention in Adelaide from Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 October and the following highlights indicate our progress:

  •   The Organising Committee continues to meet fortnightly and we have had great contributions from all our Subcommittees (listed on our website). The Technical Program is now rapidly developing, with the Themes and Subthemes all in place, Plenaries and Keynotes being invited and abstracts being submitted.
  •   The special early-bird registration is still open until the end of April for those who submit an abstract and pay early.
  •   Our Patron Sponsor has been confirmed as Geoscience Australia, we have Santos Limited committed as a Major Sponsor and the SA Government has also made a large commitment. The Sponsorship Subcommittee is now actively engaging with all organisations and companies that depend on Geoscience.
  •   The Adelaide Convention Centre is proving to be a fabulous venue for our event with a major plenary hall that has the flexibility to provide a stunning Big Issues and Big Ideas Day, lots of lecture rooms to meet our needs and a huge very-flexible exhibition space for our GeoEXPO.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my colleagues Dr Jon Hronsky (Chairman), Dr Ron Hackney (Secretary) and Leanne Gunther (Administrative Officer), on the AGC Executive for their on-going hard work and support.

Brad Clements (Treasurer) stood down and was replaced by Miriam Way (AusIMM Chief Operating Officer), assisted by Prashanth Seetharaman. This professional support of the AGC by the AusIMM is a very much appreciated contribution.

I would particularly like to thank Dr Neil Williams, the immediate Past President of the AGC. He has been invaluable in providing continuity and wise counsel. It is proposed at this AGM that his role on the Executive will now be undertaken by Dr David Cohen as President-Elect.

The Organising Committee for AGCC 2018 is thanked for their hard work to date and in anticipation that their load is likely to increase over the next six months.

The Presidents and Representatives of our eight Member Organisations continue to provide united support for Geoscience in Australia and I thank them sincerely for their encouragement of our efforts on their behalf.

Other recent highlights

The AGC has been busy since the end of 2017 engaging with member societies and ongoing planning and work for the AGCC in October. Here are some highlights from reports to General meetings held in February and April:

  •   The AGC attended Australian Exploration Geoscience Conference in Sydney to promote sponsorship, solicit abstracts and encourage registrations.
  •   The AGC's Expert Spokespeople webpage was put to good use in helping put seismic hazards expert Professor Sandy Steacey at Adelaide University in touch with the ABC after earthquakes in NSW raised public concern and interest.
  •   Major sponsorship of the AGCC 2018 by Santos Ltd has been announced.
  •  
Professor David Cohen was nominated AGC president-elect.DavidCohen
  •   Recently the AGC has indicated that we are able to voice the concern of the many Australian geoscientists that we represent over the WA Government's proposed reduction of funding for the Exploration Incentive Scheme.
  •   We have been engaging with Science & Technology Australia (STA) for the mutual promotion and advocacy of good Science and for the recognition and alignment of Geoscience as part of the STEM message.
  •   We have announced two Plenary Speakers, Professor Iain Stewart and, more recently, Professor Matthew Huber from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University, Indiana.

Read my full General Meeting report for February 2018 here and for April 2018 here.

* * * *

The AGC Convention 2018 (AGCC 2018) will be held during Earth Science Week next year (14-18 October, 2018). The purpose is to promote Geoscience as a major and essential field of Science in Australia. The theme is Big Issues and Ideas in Geoscience.

If you are interested in providing a paper, helping develop a Technical Session or championing a Thematic Session please contact:

Dr Chris Yeats - Scientific and Technical Program Convenor
chris.yeats@industry.nsw.gov.au

or myself, Dr Bill Shaw - President of the AGC
president@agc.org.au

AGCC banner

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Geoscience Education Views

 Geoscience Education Views is prepared using opinion pieces provided by invited authors. Any views expressed may not reflect the views or policies of the AGC.

 Leslie Almberg muses on her Earth Science Olympiad experiences

Leslie Almberg
Leslie Almberg enjoying some spelunking in France at the IESO

The International Science Olympiads are an incredible opportunity for the most talented and enthusiastic high school students to test their academic abilities, delve deeply into a subject of interest, and befriend like-minded students from across the country and around the world.

While participation in the Australian Science Innovations (ASI) summer schools and selection for one of the national teams is an amazing honour and life-changing experience for all students involved, teaching and mentoring these students is equally rewarding.

Team on arrival
Our amazingly smiley team upon arrival in Côte d' Azure, France,
with their beloved mascot, Jeff the Placoderm.
Left to right: Chen Zhou, YiJie Neo, Jemma Jeffries (with Jeff) & Josh Lee

Stepping in as the Deputy Director for the Australian International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) team at the end of 2016 was the start of fulfilling a life long dream to teach and inspire the next generation of problem solvers.

Students across Australia are invited to sit a rigorous exam to assess their basic Earth and Environmental Science knowledge and abilities to solve complex, multi-dimensional problems using fundamental geologic principles to earn one of the 24 places at the ASI summer school, hosted at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra each January. During an intense two-week program, students are run through the equivalent of a first-year university course covering hard rock geology, tectonics, the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and basic astronomy. The learning environment is dynamic, hands-on, introduces students to world class researchers, and often problem based. Four students showing the greatest aptitude are selected from this cohort to represent Australia at the IESO.

Taking these students from their infancy as Earth systems thinkers and providing them the background, guidance and tools to solve whatever problems they may face at the IESO is an exciting and demanding task. It is a delicate balancing act between overloading them with far more information than they can possibly assimilate and apply in a short timeframe and potentially omitting key discussions that are critical for deeper understanding. A week-long training camp at the ANU coastal campus in Kioloa, NSW provides a fun and fully immersive chance to give the final team of four students a personalised and targeted educational experience in the field, classroom, on the long drives, and around the dining table.

Deb
Jeff proved incredibly popular with teams from around the world.

The 2017 IESO in Nice, France was a superlative experience for both students and mentors. I was endlessly impressed with our students' smiles and upbeat attitudes at every turn. They found fun, spontaneity, and joy even in the face of long-haul flights, near-miss connections, jet lag, and linguistic confusion. They shone as leaders in ice-breaker activities with their peers, working collaboratively with large international teams of students, and taking first to the dance floor to teach the world their Plate Tectonics dance. The most phenomenal aspect of their truly positive attitudes was how they accepted their hard-earned medals with grace and dignity. While they had an amazing showing, bringing home, one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals, plus a handful of team awards, I felt deep down that they would have cheered for their new friends and held their heads high even if they had not achieved such stellar results.

As a first-time mentor at the IESO, I found the jury discussions about the clarity and validity of exam questions and answers an interesting and motivating challenge. I enjoyed jumping into the fray to ensure that the exams were as fair and clear as possible. While it was gruelling work for several very hot days, we were rewarded for our hard yakka with a few stunning trips into the French Alps, including a stop at the P-T boundary and an evening at the Cote d' Azure Observatory. As for our students, the opportunity to befriend colleagues from around the world who are likewise wholeheartedly dedicated to promoting and supporting Earth Science education was the ultimate highlight of my experience.

Jeff's medals
Jeff, the team's mascot, with 'his' medals.
Jeff is likely the most highly decorated Placoderm in Earth's history ...

Medal 'loans' to Jeff are:
Gold from YiJie, Silver from Jemma and Bronze from both Chen and Josh.

We were incredibly fortunate to have three members of our 2017 team join us to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation at our 2018 summer school. They continued to show leadership, humility, and problem-solving skills to benefit the entire teaching team and which will serve them well in their highly varied chosen paths. Fingers crossed that we get to work with them all more in the future!

All images courtesy of Leslie Almberg.


Editor's note: The Australian Earth Science Olympiad program has been running since 2014 and is supported by the Australian Government through the Innovations Fund. It has also been assisted with annual grants from the AGC including a substantial establishment grant in the first year.


Dr Leslie Almberg
Deputy Program Director, Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad
lesliedalmberg@gmail.com

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Geoscience Education Deadlines, Events & Activities

   Deadlines   
 

 Joides Resolution School of Rock - Applications close 7th May
http://joidesresolution.org/school-of-rock-2018/.

 Ruth Dircks ASTA Scholarship to CONASTA - Applications close 11th May
http://asta.edu.au/awards/ruthdircks.

 STOP PRESS!

The super-early registration discount for the AGCC 2018 has been extended until May 14 for people submitting abstracts in the AUGEN Symposium
The super-early registration fee of $765 (lower than the Early Bird registration fee of $1,000) is still available for presenters who BOTH register for the conference AND submit an abstract for Theme 5.3 by May 14.
To obtain the discount you must submit your abstract first and then register via the link in the abstract submission portal. If you try to register first, the discount will not be applied.
Read the full report here .

 SEGRA (Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia) - Call for papers closes 25th May
https://segra.com.au/.

 2018 Asian Science Camp - Applications close 11.30pm 27th May
https://tinyurl.com/yddanle5.

 AGCC abstract submission closes 16th June
https://www.agcc.org.au/abstracts.

 Oliphant Science Awards coordinator registration closes 21st June
http://www.oliphantscienceawards.com.au/.

 AGCC registration - early bird rate closes 7th July
https://www.agcc.org.au/registration.

 Australian Science Olympiad exam registrations close 12th July
https://www.asi.edu.au/programs/australian-science-olympiads/.


   Events and Activities   
 

 Grant writing workshop, Darwin, May 9, 2018
https://ptant.org.au/event/48
Register here.

 Science Fair for Beginners, Canberra, May 9, 2018
http://seaact.act.edu.au/events/science-fair-for-beginners/
Register here.

 Science Fair - the next step, Canberra, May 10, 2018
http://seaact.act.edu.au/events/science-fair-the-next-step/
Register here.

 Beginning and Pre-Service teachers conference, Brisbane, May 17, 2018
http://tinyurl.com/y8zdcau8
Register here.

 CONSTAWA 37 2018 , Perth, May 25-26, 2018
http://tinyurl.com/y9kzc8u2
Register here.

 EduTECH Australia 2018, Sydney, June 7-8, 2018
https://tinyurl.com/ybbc6mfq

 CONASTA 67, Sydney, July 8-11, 2018
http://asta.edu.au/conasta

CONASTA67 banner

 SASTA Conference, Adelaide, 20 July, 2018
https://tinyurl.com/yc89gjap.

 8th GeoSciEd Conference and 8th EnsinoGEO, Campinas Brazil, July 22-27, 2018
http://tinyurl.com/ybf5l2zv.

 International Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad, Thailand, 8-17 August, 2018
https://ieso2018.posn.or.th/.

 Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad entry exam for 2019 Summer School, Australia-wide, 10 August, 2018
https://www.asi.edu.au/programs/key-dates/.

 National Science Week, Australia-wide, 11-19 August, 2018
https://www.scienceweek.net.au/.

 Understanding Science Series 2018: Earth and Space Sciences (R-6), Adelaide, 24 August, 2018
https://tinyurl.com/yc89gjap.

 Understanding Science Series 2018: Physical Sciences (7-9), Adelaide, 11 September, 2018
https://tinyurl.com/yc89gjap.

 The Queensland Science Contest, State-wide, 8 October, 2018
http://www.staq.qld.edu.au/competitions/queensland-science-contest/.

 Earth Science Week, Australia-wide, 14-20 October 2018
ESW18 logo

 AGC Convention 2018 (AGCC 2018), Adelaide, 14-18 October 2018
https://www.agcc.org.au/
AGCC banner
 SEGRA conference, Mackay, 22-25 October, 2018
https://segra.com.au/.

 STAVCON 2018 Melbourne, 30 November, 2018
http://www.sciencevictoria.com.au/STAVCON.html.

 GeoEdLink will list your event here!
If you have an upcoming Earth and Environmental Science education related event GeoEdLink will list its details here. Send your event details to the GeoEdLink editor. An event name, date, location and web site link are essential. The next GeoEdLink will be published in July 2018.

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