Explore the project
The National Virtual School of Emerging Sciences (NVSES) project has finished!
The NVSES was a collaborative project between Monash University, the John Monash Science School (JMSS), and Pearson Australia funded for two years (2012-2014) by the Australian Government Department of Education through the Broadband Enabled Education and Skills Services Programme.
The NVSES offered Year 10 students with a passion for science a virtual learning experience to discover new, emerging sciences. Connecting into the NVSES studio at JMSS students via Cisco WebEx, students engaged with up to four units - Astrophysics, Quantum physics, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Units ran for 8 weeks and were aligned with the Australian National Curriculum.
A consistent finding during the program evaluation was the high levels of student engagement.
I’ve really enjoyed the NVSES classes, they’re a great learning experience and obviously what we learned was very different to what we learn in our normal school curriculum so it was very interesting and the online classroom was great as well, a very different way of learning.
What I love about the NVSES classes are all the people who think in a similar fashion to me, they all love science and it’s very cool to work with people like that.
I definitely have enjoyed the NVSES classes, especially as we got to learn some things that were outside of our normal school curriculum, and being able to interact with all the other students from across Australia in the online set-up was really great as well. Having different teachers with a different teaching style was also great.
The NVSES classes have helped with my normal year 10 class work as we did… as we did astronomy later on in the year after we had finished the astrophysics project and a lot of the content that we had touched on in astrophysics was also in astronomy so that made things a lot easier.
During their involvement with the program, teachers also welcomed the opportunities and learning challenges that NVSES provided for their students.
The students liked the delivery of the program, that they met and collaborated with students from other schools and experts, and that the content was different to what was covered in their ‘normal’ science classes. Two students liked the experience so much they participated in all modules offered in 2013. The school liked being introduced to the WebEx platform and the learning management system (realsmart) with its ability to integrate Google Applications for education.
The most successful students nurtured their interest in pursuing science, either as a subject to study or possibly a career path. Others were able to investigate further a topic that they were interested in. As a school, it was a valuable learning exercise, linking to an external course of study for the first time, to experience the timetabling and technical challenges for the students.
The students involved in the NVSES have enjoyed every minute of it. They’ve loved the challenge of it. It’s not easy but it makes them think and it gets them thinking about things they might want to do when they finish school, like rocket projects and looking at stars and the universe. It has really expanded their world of knowledge in those areas.
- Creative curriculum design of four engaging emerging science units aligned with the Aust. Nat. Curriculum;
- A total of 429 enrolments from January 2013 to September 2014;
- A total of 6530 hours of actual teaching over the 21 months of NVSES classes;
- Representation of 46 schools from Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia;
- Development and implementation of curricula especially designed for a ‘virtual’ classroom in the areas of Astrophysics, Quantum physics, Nanoscience, and Nanotechnology;
- Taster sessions and professional development around the emerging sciences for interested science teachers within the virtual classroom context; and
- A professional development day to provide science teachers with the opportunity to experience and learn about using online environments to teach emerging sciences.
For more information about the NVSES Project and/or other science education projects at Monash University please contact Dr Matthew Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the Monash University Science Education Research Group Website.