EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Minister Sean Sherlock T.D. visiting the ISTA stand at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition with Rory Geoghegan and Paddy Daly presenting a physics phenomenon.
Minister Sean Sherlock T.D. visiting the ISTA stand at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition with Rory Geoghegan and Paddy Daly presenting a physics phenomenon.

‘Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley’ is the theme of the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference

NUI Galway will host the 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference from the 11-12 April. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and President Jim Browne of NUI Galway will officially open the Conference entitled “Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley”.

The Irish Science Teachers' Association is the professional association of science teachers in the Republic of Ireland. It is over 50 years in existence and is the longest established provider of Continuous Professional Development for science teachers, with internationally renowned speakers invited to present frontier science to teachers. The Conference will host a total of 30 exhibitors in the area of science education.

On Saturday 12 April there will be a full day of events in the Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway, starting with parallel talks and workshops in the morning and plenary sessions in the afternoon. Topics vary from ‘The Physics of Cancer’ to ‘Life Saving Chemistry’. Professor Donal O’Shea will give a talk on Childhood Obesity and FameLab science communicator Fergus McAuliffe will also be on stage.

Workshops in biology, chemistry and physics will be conducted by teams from the Professional Development Service for Teachers, and there will also be short presentations on EU linked projects such as SCIENTIX, TEMI (Teaching Enquiry with Mystery Incorporated) and Chain Reaction. Primary Science is also included, as Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College will present a practical workshop for primary school teachers.

In the first plenary session of the afternoon the Nottingham based Professor Martyn Poliakoff, of Periodic Table Videos fame, will give a talk entitled ‘From Test-Tube to YouTube’. This will be followed by the launch of the Hyland Report which looks at International best practice in the design of science syllabi for second level schools.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will provide the keynote address at the opening of the Conference and added, “I am delighted to be able to join you for the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this year. The work you do as an association and as individual teachers every day in the classroom, provides the foundation upon which Irish children and young adults are successfully equipping themselves for careers as researchers, academics, scientists in industry and informed citizens.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn continued, “Science and innovation are at the core of our daily lives and will, I believe, unlock a bright new future for generations. As teachers you have the privilege and responsibility to inspire and nurture our young people. I have great confidence in your ability and willingness to step up to the challenge, and continue to produce Europe’s brightest and best young scientists.”

Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome the Irish Science Teachers’ Association to NUI Galway for your annual conference. This University has a long and proud tradition of scientific excellence in teaching and research. From our popular degree courses to world-leading research, science has been a cornerstone of the University for well over a century. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Irish Science Teachers’ Association continued success for the future. The work that you do to ignite curiosity and inspire young scientists is pivotal to the future of science and technology in Ireland.”

The first lecture will be presented by Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Oxford and is entitled: ‘Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain; From Pessimist to Optimist, can we really change?’ It will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday 11 April at 8pm. Professor Fox’s work has been discussed in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times.

There will also be an update from ISTA members on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment development groups in relation to new syllabi at the Annual Business Meeting; this is the only session that is for members only. The closing talk will be given by the well renowned Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey in which he will address the question: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ Events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building.

The Association for Science Education representatives from the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland will attend the conference and Professor Teresa Kennedy from the USA will represent ICASE. Both events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building.

The organisation, led by Mary Mullaghy, National Chairperson of ISTA, is one of the pioneers of collaborative learning in association with the Department of Education and Skills, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, State Examinations Commission, Professional Development of Secondary Teachers, Institutes of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Technology Exhibition, BT Young Scientist, SciFest, industry and third level institutions. Many organisations communicate their outreach initiatives through the association as there is an extensive communication network.

A Conference dinner and awards ceremony will take place in Hotel Meyrick and will be attended by some of the founding members of the Association including Sr Mercedes Desmond aged 92 years.

Advance booking is advised. Full programme details and bookings are available on www.ista.ie and on social media @IrishSciTeach and Facebook.

For registration visit http://istaannualconference2014.weebly.com

Keywords: Press.

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