Cristina Varsavsky


So much has changed since we met in Sydney for the 25th ACSME conference. Everything looked so much more certain then and we had a clear plan to meet again in Perth. I don’t think anyone could foresee then that we would have no option but to offer this conference online.

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed teaching and learning in higher education around the globe. Universities have been required to cancel all face-to-face classes and switch to emergency remote teaching. With not much time for planning, Faculties of Science had to think creatively about how to deliver their classes online, and adapt rapidly to meet the learning requirements of their students whilst ensuring the quality of delivery. In this emergency planning, academics and support staff were required to think outside the box to generate solutions for the new reality.

These proceedings document the keynotes, panel discussions, oral presentations, posters and workshops presented at ACSME 2020. A large number of these revolve around experiences and learnings in the times of emergency teaching. They offer an opportunity to collectively stop and think what worked and what didn’t, and what does this all mean for the future of science education.

ACSME conferences bring together science and mathematics educators from around the country and beyond, to share good practice and discuss the latest developments relevant to the teaching and learning of the various science disciplines. It is a strong community of university teachers, educational researchers, tutors and students who come together to share the joy, successes, disappointments and challenges of science teaching at university level. The high participation at this conference at this time of crisis is testament to the strength and resilience of this community and bodes well for the health of science education in this country.

I give heartfelt thanks to my committee for the energy they put towards making this conference happen in times of such turmoil. Alexandra Yeung, Dino Spagnoli and Leonie Hughes were all fired up to welcoming us in Perth this year, and although disappointed that they had to wait another year, they contributed generously their time and ideas to help us pivot to the online format. I am grateful also to Manjula Sharma for her lateral thinking, to Angela Ziebell for taking care of the social and networking side of this event, to Ana Lopes for managing the reviewing process and the production of the proceedings, and to Glenda Key for providing us all with highly professional executive support.

I hope you find this conference enjoyable and stimulating and that you take home new ideas to implement in your own context.

Professor Cristina Varsavsky
Conference Chair
The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education 2020

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