November 2017 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 - Extract from the President's Report

Bill Shaw

Bill Shaw, AGC President


The AGC continues to develop the approach we have found so successful and our team has recently been involved in the following various aspects of our Strategic Plan.

Education

At our General Meeting we have approved the budget for next year which includes significant support for a number of excellent geoscience education initiatives. Most will find that they are getting at least the same level of support they have previously requested. Read more here.

Advocacy

We continue to make a difference to the perception of Geoscience in Australia in big and small ways through our influence at a number of levels. I recently attended the AusIMM and AIG's world-class 10th International Mining Geology Conference where myself and others (Dale Sims and David Cohen in particular) promoted the AGC and our vision for Geoscience in Australia. I will also be at IMARC in Melbourne on business but again will have the opportunity to talk to many people about what we do. Read more here.

Sustainability - AGCC 2018

During the last three months I have been focused on the planning and preparation for our Convention in October 2018 (details are at www.agcc.org.au). The Organising Committee continues to meet fortnightly and all necessary subcommittees are now in place and functioning effectively. We continue to call for more volunteers from all our Member Organisations but anyone can of course offer to get involved with ideas, planning and helping make this event a success. Read more here.

Read my full report here.

Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund still open for applications

The Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund is still open, with the closing date for applications extended until 15th November! Details are on our website at http://www.agc.org.au/index.php/grants/igcfund. Read more 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!

Have a safe and enjoyable end of year break and a happy and productive New Year.



Bill Shaw
President, Australian Geoscience Council

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Editorial

The productivity commission has just released its 5 year review, Shifting the Dial. It identifies a number of issues in education that need to be addressed if Australia is to remain internationally competitive and maintain an internally cohesive society.

Amongst the identified issues there is the ongoing state of the VET sector, the way in which Universities balance teaching and research and the quality of teachers and teacher education.

While a report that identifies the current state of play is welcome, what we need to see is non-partisan action that will benefit the Australian community, economy and future success of the nation. Sadly, like so many other reports to government, this one is likely to gather dust unless we see a dramatic change in the way government responds and addresses the identified issues in such reports. Let's hope such change is on the way! You can read the report here: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/productivity-review/report/3-future-skills-work

I hope 2018 shapes up to be a great year for you and you find time for some well earned R&R between now and then.

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

 Student success at the International Earth Science Olympiad
Olympiad team Winners are grinners
The Australian team members, with their 2017 IESO individual medals
(left to right) are:
•  Chen Zhou - Year 12, North Sydney Boys High School, NSW
•  YiJie Neo - Year 12, John Monash Science School, Vic
•  Jemima Jeffree - Year 11, Indooroopilly State High School, Qld
•  Joshua Lee - Year 12, Barker College, NSW
   Image courtesy of Greg McNamara.

Four High School students, representing Australia at the 11th International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) in France, have brought home a swag of medals and awards.

The AGC, a supporter of the Australian Earth and Environmental Science Olympiad program, congratulates all four on their brilliant results.

In the individual events students completed two theory exams and four practical exams with YiJie Neo from John Monash Science School winning Gold, Jemima Jeffree from Indooroopilly State High School winning Silver, Chen Zhou from North Sydney Boys High School and Joshua Lee from Barker College each winning Bronze. International teams of students also collaborated to produce an Earth Science Poster and an oral report on a field investigation. YiJie was a member of a team that won a Silver for their poster and Jemima was a member of a team that won a Silver for their presentation.

IESO France 2017: http://tinyurl.com/y8ssylfa.

The students for the 2018 Australian Earth and Environmental Science Summer School have also been chosen and another keen group of 24 students is heading to Canberra in January where they will have an amazing time learning even more about Earth and Environmental Science. At the end of Summer School four more students will be chosen to represent Australia, this time at the 12th IESO in Thailand. Find out more about the Australian Olympiad program here.

 Gender equity in STEM

There is still a long way to go but national statistics suggest ICT and Engineering subjects are starting to see an increase in female enrolments. This suggests attitudes to a range of industries that women can be involved in are starting to change and the gender gap in the technology and science industries may be starting to close.
https://tinyurl.com/y6up2tmt.

 CONASTA 67 on the way
CONASTA67 logo

In may not be end of second semester but July 2018 and CONASTA 67 are not that far away! The annual science education conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association, CONASTA will be hosted by the Science Teachers Association of New South Wales and held at the University of Sydney from 8-11 July.
Abstract submissions are currently open here.
http://asta.edu.au/conasta.

 Game changer of an announcement!

The 2018 National Science Week school theme has been announced: Game Changers and Change Makers - celebrating and exploring science, innovation and technology.
Find out more here.

 Successful STEM X Academy applicants get the call

The STEM X Academy five-day residential teacher professional learning program is open to Australian teachers across all sectors and levels of experience. With limited spaces available, hundreds of interested teachers applied. Applications are closed and the short list of successful teachers are being contacted. If you missed out don't forget to apply again next year and, if you live in the region, there is also a 2-day regional STEM X workshop happening at Condobolin November 29-30.
Download the Condobolin Expression of Interest form here.
http://asta.edu.au/programs/stemx.

 Discover Volcanism – Hawaii, February and July 2018.
Teachers on Hawaii
Great company, great rocks, fantastic trip!


See amazing volcanism first-hand and explore the active volcanoes of Hawaii for a week with a group of like-minded geoscience enthusiasts. The eight day Discover Volcanism trip is based in Hilo, Hawaii and takes the group through the basics of Plate Tectonics, hot-spot volcanism, volcano life cycles, volcanic products and more. Collect data, samples and learn how to develop scientific field notes and map in the field and in a lava cave. Participants also visit an active volcano observatory, a tea farm and winery, historical parks and learn about local traditions and culture that have developed through living with the hazards of volcanic activity. Also examine examples of engineering solutions to some unusual hazard problems in Hawaii. There is even time to walk on a black and green sand beach, swim in volcanically heated hot pools and snorkel on a coral reef with turtles and dolphins (if they appear).

The trip caters 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. All you need to do is get to and from Hilo, Hawaii and make your field lunches and you're almost set. The February trip is open for everyone, the July trip is especially for teachers!

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



 Year 12 Earth and Environmental Science Revision Seminars are a big hit
Y12 getting the good oil 100 students from across Perth and the southwest of Western Australia joined the team from Earth Science Western Australia to review their entire course of study ahead of their final exam. Students were very enthusiastic about the experience saying I really enjoyed the content and it helped me focus on what I need to study, Booklet was really helpful, speakers were really well informed and interesting, thanks for making this free, and Overall a helpful seminar that recaps the whole year's work in under 1 day.
 Onboard Outreach Officers wanted for JOIDES Resolution expeditions

JOIDES Resolution Onboard Outreach Officers sail on board the ship to share the science story with students, families, and the general public. Applications are sought from classroom teachers, informal science educators, artists, videographers, writers, social media experts and anyone who can make a good case for themselves! The upcoming expeditions are:

  •  Expeditions 378: South Pacific Paleocene Climate – October 14, 2018 to December 14, 2018
  •  Expedition 379: Amundsen Sea West Antarctic Ice Sheet History – January 18 to March 20, 2019

Read the report on Expedition 371 by Australian teacher Deb Beamish here.
Applications close November 17.
Find out more here:
https://tinyurl.com/y75waa25.

 Julia takes a bow

On the 31st of October Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA) farewelled Julia Ferguson, staff member of over ten years, and celebrated her many achievements in supporting and promoting earth science education across WA and Australia. During her time with ESWA Julia engaged with over 25,000 students during hands-on incursions and field studies and trained over 5,500 teachers. She also produced an enormous number of resources including those for the Woodside Australian Science Project (WASP) and the Primary Australian Literacy Mathematics and Science Program (PALMS). Julia's passion for Earth Science, generosity and quirky nature will surely be missed by all that had the pleasure to work with her but we are very excited to hear what the next chapter holds for her, and for ESWA.

   On-line resources - links and reviews   
 

 It's time to get ready for National Science Week, August 11-19 2018

National Science Week is Australia's annual celebration of science and technology and thousands of students, scientists, and others from all walks of life get involved, taking part in science events across the nation. Science Week is designed for everyone with events and activities and talks and shows for every age group. NOW is the time to start getting ready for the big event. You know you want to!
https://www.scienceweek.net.au/.

 Free on-line text book a winner

Salt Lake Community College have produced a high quality, undergraduate-level text Earth Science book and provided it, on-line, for free to everybody. The book; An Introduction to Geology is comprehensive, has excellent pictures and diagrams and is extremely easy to navigate. Each chapter has a comprehension quiz and other mini-quizzes along the way in places. Apart from quality content on geology topics it also has excellent chapters on hydrosphere topics and a good entry level chapter on climate.
If you are looking for a good digital resource to complement your paper resources and teaching this is it!
http://opengeology.org/textbook/.

 Tour the planets for free

Google have utilised planetary mapping data to produce an amazing set of rotatable images for a variety of planets and moons. See Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Ceres, Pluto, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and all but one of the planet-like Saturnian moons. The images have major named features labelled and can be zoomed for closer inspection where the data is available. An amazing adjunct to any Earth and Space class!
https://tinyurl.com/ycq95khe.

 Keep an eye out

A Kindergarten/Pre-Primary package is due for release early next month on the Primary Australian Literacy Mathematics and Science (PALMS) Program website – www.palms.edu.au. Updates are also on their way for the Years 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 packages (including quizzes) for the Woodside Australian Science Program (WASP) website – www.wasp.edu.au (updates for Years 7 & 8 are already available). Perfect timing for the start of the new year.

 You closed what?

This is a thought provoking read about the need for non-digital libraries. Alarmingly, between 2010 and 2013, the number of teacher-librarians in primary schools decreased from 5600 to 1300 and some schools are potentially planning to go entirely digital.
https://tinyurl.com/yb4vd4lj.

 Thinking of upgrading your education qualifications?

This international portal lists over 200 Australian Masters or Masters-level courses and more than 10 Doctoral programs in Education for those wishing to advance their practice in early childhood, primary and secondary school settings. If you are thinking of studying overseas then this site might be a good starting point. It lists courses in over 50 countries in subjects ranging from Agriculture to Social Sciences with big listings for both Education and Earth Science
http://www.studyportals.com/.

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President's Report

Australian Geoscience Council - President's Report to the October 2017 General Meeting
by Dr Bill Shaw

The AGC continues to develop the approach we have found so successful and our team has recently been involved in the following various aspects of our Strategic Plan.

Education

At our General Meeting we have approved the budget for next year which includes significant support for a number of excellent geoscience education initiatives. Most will find that they are getting at least the same level of support they have previously requested and for some that have special needs we have found (and will always) consider ways that the support can be extended.

We have extended the deadline for applications for the Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund until November 15. Despite more information being sent out, there have been fewer applications to date this time. It has been agreed that some funding may be used to support young academics as session organisers at our Convention next year (see below).

Earth Science Week was promoted by again using social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #ozrockstocktake. The media publicity in advance and during the week created significant interest and I did five radio interviews, and Brad Pillans did one as Chair of the National Rock Garden Committee. We also got two mentions in the West Australian newspaper, a number of other regional papers and of course a significant number of photos lodged. Judging is complete and the award of four book prizes donated by Geoscience Australia is now in progress. We will be looking to contact the winners and probably some others to use their images for promotion of Geoscience. Go to your favourite site (or Google) and search using the hashtag.

Advocacy

We continue to make a difference to the perception of Geoscience in Australia in big and small ways through our influence at a number of levels. I recently attended the AusIMM and AIG's world-class 10th International Mining Geology Conference where myself and others (Dale Sims and David Cohen in particular) promoted the AGC and our vision for Geoscience in Australia. I will also be at IMARC in Melbourne on business but again will have the opportunity to talk to many people about what we do.

David Cohen and I also presented at the annual AUGEN (Australasian University Geoscience Educators' Network) meeting in Sydney where we continued to support this group.

We are pleased that Gresley Wakelin-King has started to attend our General Meetings as an observer for the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group (ANZGG) and we look forward to opportunities to provide mutual support.

Other important recent advocacy issues of note are:

  •   Release of the AMIRA Roadmap 2 for UNCOVER Australia
  •   Progress in drafting the Australian Academy of Science Decadal Plan for Earth Science
  •   Richard Schodde's report:
Long-term forecast of Australia's mineral production and revenue - The outlook for gold: 2017-2057 was released on 12th October. This carries important messages for Australia's future economic prosperity and will precipitate and provide data to support discussion at many levels.

Sustainability - AGCC 2018

During the last three months I have been focused on the planning and preparation for our Convention in October 2018 (details are at www.agcc.org.au). The Organising Committee continues to meet fortnightly and all necessary subcommittees are now in place and functioning effectively. We continue to call for more volunteers from all our Member Organisations but anyone can of course offer to get involved with ideas, planning and helping make this event a success.

I have provided a detailed update report on the Convention, this time focusing on the Big Issues and Big Ideas in Geoscience theme Geoscience education and new modes of communication which will be led by Professor Iain Stewart, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute in Plymouth, UK. Download it here.

Our Patron sponsor has been confirmed as Geoscience Australia who are enthusiastic about this coming event and are looking to engage with the Conference Organising Committee in a number of ways.

The Sponsorship Subcommittee has started to distribute our sponsorship pack to big geoscience organisations, including mining and energy companies. We have had good feedback on our professional approach and materials and we are hopeful for further big commitments as we follow-up on this process.

As Chair of the Conference Organising Committee I was invited to visit the new East Wing of the Adelaide Convention Centre. This is going 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 GeoHub.

The call for papers has gone live. Abstracts can now be submitted and must be received by the cut-off date of 16 June 2018.

Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund

Before closing, I note the Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund is still open, with the closing date for applications extended until 15th November! Details are on our website at http://www.agc.org.au/index.php/grants/igcfund and we again expect to make funds available to fund travel to see interesting rocks and work with interesting people all around the planet. We would like to see more applications from industry and again the basis for success will be your proposed work plan with an emphasis on developing your knowledge, experience and networks. In the past, successful applicants have been those who emphasised their need to visit outcrops as well as attend conferences. However this year we are going to support an additional number of geoscientists with funds to attend the AGCC 2018 in Adelaide during Earth Science Week next year. Here we will be looking for people who can help make this event a success by planning and organising technical sessions, workshops, field trips or volunteering in other capacities. Please visit our website for ways to connect with the Early Career and Volunteers Subcommittee.

AGCC banner

* * * *

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

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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.

 Deb's JOIDES Resolution experience

The JR
The JOIDES Resolution

Editors note: In the last issue we featured Suzy Urbaniak's JOIDES Resolution (JR) adventure and in this issue we continue this theme with a report from Queensland teacher, Deb Beamish, with her JR experience on the Expedition 371: Tasman Sea Frontier leg of the JR journey down under. If you were ever in any doubt about applying for an Education and Outreach position with a program like this then the feedback from these two Australian teachers on their JR experiences should remove that doubt. Two positions on up coming expeditions are accepting applications. Applications close November 17. Do it!

On July 30th, 7 am Sunday morning Australian time, the JR, pulled away from the Port of Townsville. This was the start of an extraordinary adventure, with an amazing team of research scientists from around the world. The scientists shared a common aim, and that was to embark on this expedition to drill into the submerged lost continent of Zealandia. As the ship pulled away, there was an air of excitement and anticipation, but also just a hint of nerves. After months of planning, as the Education and Outreach officer on board the JR Exp 371, I had no idea, what the next 2 months would hold. The adventure of a life time had begun.

Deb
Deb helping deliver core to the lab

The first two days were packed with meetings, discussions and collaborative learning with the group of brilliant minds from around the world. This was a unique opportunity for these researchers to work together and piece together the Zealandia puzzle. It was anticipated that the first cores would be coming on the deck on the 3rd August and then the excitement would begin ...

Everything about the JOIDES Resolution seemed extraordinary. The ship's crew were friendly and looked after us well. The science labs had every amazing piece of equipment that you could imagine, and the technical staff are very experienced and went to extraordinary lengths to be helpful. There was an amazing team of 32 scientists from twelve different countries on board, so it was like a floating geology department from a university.

The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has been in existence for 50 years and is probably the largest science program that has ever existed (even compared to NASA), so it is very well organized. Most of our planet lies beneath the ocean, so there is plenty left to know. We probably know less about our own seabed than the surface of some other planets. However, this is the planet that we live on, so understanding our environment, resources, and hazards is of obvious relevance. This is particularly true as onshore regions fill with humans and we reach natural limits of productivity, environment, etc.

Scicomm action
Science communication in action

The IODP program, through the knowledge it generates and people it trains, is of fundamental importance to the knowledge of the Earth's lithosphere and atmosphere.

In the first week, the videographer and myself spent time organising media interviews for the co-chief scientists. One early morning we were chatting with the BBC and the next to a Houston radio station and setting up links with the Spanish radio, while the following day assisting with the podcast interview for the Canadian science show, Den of Lore.

The project objective of Expedition 371, was to drill on the submerged continent of Zealandia and in doing so, rewrite the plate tectonic history of the Tasman Sea. The geological phenomena of the "submerged continent of Zealandia" had hit the headlines.

We had a steady flow of 'Ship to Shore' link-ups, with various schools and community groups, from around the world. The Geological Society of Cornwall, Geoscience Australia, Children's newspaper, press4kids from New York, Colleges and schools in LA, Brooklyn Public library NY, schools in Germany, Switzerland, Chile, Brazil and Australia, the list goes on.

Ship to shore
Students onshore during a Ship-to-Shore with Deb

The scientists were willing to interrupt their research to chat to groups of school children from around the world. Dr Steve Pekar, from Queens NY, had primary school children totally captivated, with the awe of geologists as time travellers ... move over Dr Who!

As the E&O officer, every day I would learn something new, everyday something exciting would happen, and every day I would appreciate the amazing journey I was on! I would encourage any science teacher to apply for the Education and Outreach position on the JOIDES Resolution, every day is truly an amazing journey! What better experience could we have, to help educate our future scientists at an international level?


Deb Beamish
Senior Maths and Science Teacher, Corinda State High School, Queensland
dbeam4@eq.edu.au

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Geoscience Education Deadlines, Events & Activities

   Deadlines   
 

 Early Career Geoscientists Travel Fund, applications extended until 15th November
http://www.agc.org.au/index.php/grants/igcfund.

 JOIDES Resolution Onboard Outreach Officers, applications close 17th November
https://tinyurl.com/y75waa25.


   Events and Activities   
 

 LABCON, The Conference specifically for Laboratory Technicians, Melbourne, 13-15 November 2017
Primary Years
https://tinyurl.com/yakf9oej.

 ANSTO PD for teachers at the Australian Synchrotron, Melbourne, 16 November 2017
Primary Years
https://tinyurl.com/y9lmunm8.

 STAVCON, the annual conference of the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria, Melbourne, 1 December 2017
Primary Years
http://tinyurl.com/me2uucw.

 STEM (6-11) Conference 2017, Adelaide, 1 December
http://tinyurl.com/nrmwwh8.

 TESEP PD on Rocks plus Fieldtrip around key sites, Canberra 5-6 December 2017
Primary and Secondary teachers welcome and teaching needs addressed.
https://tinyurl.com/y7r8qlca.

 ANSTO PD for teachers at the ANSTO Discovery Centre, Sydney, 8 December 2017
Primary Years
https://tinyurl.com/ycxhga79.

    
✱✱✱  2018  ✱✱✱



 Australasian Exploration Geoscience Conference, February 18-21, 2018
http://www.aegc2018.com.au/
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 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

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

 AGC Convention 2018 (AGCC 2018), Adelaide, 14-18 October 2018
https://www.agcc.org.au/
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 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 February-March 2018.

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