I am the programme director of the MSc in Science & Education at the Graduate School of Education. I trained as a science teaching after becoming deeply interested in teaching during my PhD, which investigated the involvement of children with computer games and educational software. Later, when I specialised in teacher education, I focused on researching new technologies and their associated benefits and challenges. I then became membership secretary for the International Association of Mobile Learning. Seeing students use mobile phone cameras so widely in science has led to my latest interest in teaching and learning science processes through making stop-motion animations.
I enjoy working with a rich variety of students at the Graduate School of Education. They have a wide range of interests and ideas for developing science education and communication and I am always delighted to see the way their thinking and writing develops as they work through the programme. Students have reported that they like working together in cross-cultural groups and sharing different national perspectives on teaching science. They like learning about new ideas – everyone really engages with ways of introducing ethical issues into science education and enjoys exploring simulations, animations and new science exhibits. Students enjoy the chance to discuss more challenging ideas, such as the nature of science itself, as well as having the opportunity to become involved in practical ways, like trying out a new idea or teaching tool in class and reporting back to the group on its effectiveness.
There are multiple opportunities to gain a rich experience of science education at Bristol, whether you want to work with current physical or bioscience researchers to update your knowledge with the latest science theory; visit a local school with teachers who are also following the programme or get involved with public engagement at the local science centre. The course allows for two optional units that can be taken from any Graduate School of Education Master’s programme. For example, this year some students have chosen to learn more about teaching and learning with information technology, whilst others have opted to discover more about neuroscience.
The MSc in Science & Education is unique in that it is a cross-faculty initiative being taught by the Faculty of Science as well as the Graduate School of Education, which lies within the Faculty of Social Science and Law. We put great store by the individual student, recognising their needs and interests and helping them to develop as reflective practitioners with the knowledge, skills and understanding to make communication and education in science successful internationally.
Many of our students have taken on positions of responsibility in their schools or elsewhere, including national organisations such as Ministries of Education or the Institute of Physics. We continue to work closely with others and welcome them in their new roles, which currently range from doctoral student through associate tutor to one of our present lecturers in the department.