Last night we held our first Celebration of Science Education and Exploration, at our installation of danceroom Spectroscopy at We The Curious. It was a fascinating evening where we gathered our friends and networks to join us in celebrating how much is already being achieved in science education. Not only science education in it’s ‘traditional’ formal education sense – but how we continue our lifelong learning and understanding of scientific challenges in our ever-changing world. As our CTO said; there is so much science to explore, so why would we ever stop? We are already breaking down the barriers of art and science, how we talk about science and how we approach it in the classroom and we must continue these conversations whilst celebrating what we – as a community and as a scientific eco-system – have achieved.
As part of our celebrations Tom Harris, Head of Science from Clifton Preparatory College, took part in a Q&A session with Becky Davies, who leads on user consultation for Nano Simbox. Tom has been working with us as part of our Nano Simbox 100 programme and is regularly involved with user testing of our platform. We wanted to share Tom’s science educator journey and why we need to keep pushing for science transformation in the classroom.
Why did you get into teaching?
In a word – science. A subject that just seemed to cover everything at school, and as I found out more and more about this idea of science I knew I would end up trying to share the things that were new and exciting to me. My first attempt at teaching was making a sheet about Foucault’s Pendulum after a trip to the science museum to explain it to my parents. I was 6. They knew how it worked already. Teaching has got a little easier since then, but I’m still learning and still passionate about sharing science
A word that gets used a lot is transformation, from your perspective as a science teacher do you think that is something that’s needed? And if so where is transformation needed; and what could that look like?
I think education and science are constantly going through a process of transformation. With science, it is pretty much the cornerstone of what the scientific process is. New evidence leads to a transformation of thinking or theories. Teaching tends to evolve – outside pressures force changes, though not always with a specific end-point in sight. And it takes a while. It would be nice if we could do a bit more selective transformation – using science to help with changes in education with more direction, and allowing our methods to keep up with the technology available. It’s also important not lose important aspects of science education due to the pressures of time and tests. Transformation occurs it is always a necessity.
Why did you get involved in Nano Simbox?
My Headmaster told me to do it! That and it is a fantastic organisation to work with. Forward thinking and keen to look at the wide array of challenges facing science education. It is always a pleasure to work with passionate educators as the enthusiasm always gets shared. It also allows me to see another perspective on science and education that I hadn’t had the chance to work with before.
How are you involved with Nano Simbox?
Clifton College is signed up as an NSB100 school. This means that we get to see the working developments and use the software early, and have a chance to put our own requests forward for consideration. And by ‘our own’ it is equally about the pupils who are contributing their thoughts and asking for features they would like to use. The chance for a year 7 (for example) pupil to have a direct impact on the development of new software, to have their ideas and opinions listened to and acted upon is a pretty powerful experience. This has happened during a couple of beta testing sessions we have hosted.
What are you most looking forward to about your work with Nano Simbox in 2018?
I’m looking forward to more of the beta testing – the pupils giving their ideas constructively and being listened to is quite powerful. They have a voice and they are being listened too. So more of that and continuing the journey!
If you’re an innovative school looking for a new way to inspire your students, we are opening additional slots in the NSB100 programme in January 2018. Your students and teachers can be involved with co-creating Nano Simbox, an immersive and ground-breaking platform this year. Sign up at nanosimbox.com/nanosimbox