PALAVA Conference 2009 - Bulmershe Court, Reading University.

The above conference took place successfully on 13th July 2009. The resources will shortly be available below
Miranda's four mind maps here
European History and Philosophy of Science Project
John Oversby
John's European project is joint with 11 other workers in 8 countries, and sponsored by the EU. It aims to motivate learners by introducing science through the Histories of science, and through an understanding of how scientists make new knowledge. The themes and contexts are:
1. Impact of measurement on scientific thinking (context is temperature and heat)
2. Amazing changes in scientific thinking or paradigm shifts (context is acidity)
3. Representing or modelling the unseeable in chemistry (context is chemical equations)
More information will be on soon

What is revision? An action research project
Penny Robotham
Penny's radical and innovative approaches to learning have a major impact on her pupils. She uses revision guides in place of standard textbooks, and active revision methods to promote engagement. The results are astounding and outstanding in terms of exam achievements, and in motivating pupils to learn more! More information will be on her personal page soon.

YouTube and YouInTheClassroom. A development and Action Research Programme
Sean Moore and Miranda Creed-Miles
In their PGCE Further Development Phase last year, Sean and Miranda constructed a most useful database of science related YouTube videos. They also showed how to use the videos off-line. Now they are looking at how this has affected their teaching, and their views about teaching. Next, they intend to widen the scope of the project by looking at how other teachers change their views.

Changing teachers attitudes: An Action Research Project
Ginny Kearton
In the PALAVA group, Ginny has been one of the longest serving teacher members, investigating chemical equations in learning, and use of exercise books for learning. The latter project has formed part of her investigation into how to change approaches by colleagues (Ginny's Head of Science) in the use of exercise books. She documents challenges, and failures, but she also notes significant successes, not least in her own commitment to change the status quo. Tenacity and determination have been her watchwords.

Quality in Science Education What have we been doing in PALAVA - a reflection
Mary Brennan and Dave Mayo
Mary and David are relatively newcomer teachers to PALAVA. In two separate presentations, Mary focused on the question of how do we know whether science education research is successful in improving learning, based on Hattie's and Marzano's studies explained in the book by Geoff Petty. David reviewed evidence about modes and depth of questioning, exemplifying methods by role-modelling in his presentation. In their presentations, they opened the door to our regualr PALAVA activities which the group works on two or three times each term.

Exploring thinking about chemical processes
Rob Toplis
Rob is a teacher educator at Brunel, one of the few long standing members who are not practising school teachers! Rob is interested in using student-generated chemistry animations to explore their thinking about chemical processes. His small-scale work with 6 PGCE students formed the core of some recent research using animations for auditing learning and dealing with misconceptions. He was using the ChemSense software, freely available. His qualitative work demonstrated the value of a Case Study approach to research.