STAV Council met again last week to address how we can support teachers in the emerging online learning space. Including the sharing of the most recent issues of LabTalk and Let’s Find Out through our STAV website, we have prioritised the development of our online presence to better support you, our members, in connecting with each other.
To this end we are about to launch our members only Facebook group for STAV Individual Members
Admittance to this group is through provision of your first and last name and STAV membership number when answering the joining questions. It is hoped this group will become a supportive professional learning community for both Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Laboratory Technician members.
We will follow this in coming weeks with increased public presence on Twitter and a new STAV Instagram account.
To School Members, access to member services through the usual platforms remains. These include our email groups, bulletins, journals and the STAV Member Only area through the STAV Website.
Supporting the teaching of Science in times of remote learning: Highlighting the importance of Laboratory Technicians
With the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the education landscape has become a vastly different space in a staggeringly short amount of time. The roles of all those working in schools have changed, as members of school communities work together to adapt to changing circumstances as they adopt new platforms, methodologies and pedagogies for the delivery of curriculum. As a practical subject, the remote teaching and learning of Science presents unique challenges, most of which are self-evident.
The following is taken from a recent media release of the Australian Science Teachers’ Association on COVID-19, in which ASTA President, Nathan Curnow states: ‘Whilst we celebrate how adaptable and resourceful science teachers can be, it is important to note that these changes have significant ramifications for teacher workload and efficacy as they do their best to support the learning of students’.
STAV Council endorses this statement and furthermore, unreservedly acknowledges the integral and specialist role that laboratory technicians play in enabling effective teaching and learning of the Sciences across all year levels.
STAV’s Mission and goals provide focus at this time:
- STAV represents and advances the collective voice of science educators to shape and influence policy in all aspects of science education.
- STAV aims to build the capacity of laboratory technicians, teachers, science coordinators, principals and system leaders, as agents for the improvement of all aspects of science teaching and learning.
- STAV advocates for and contributes to the improvement of the quality of science teaching andlearning through enhanced professional learning, resources and the promotion of professional best practice.
STAV encourages all members of school science departments to continue to work collaboratively and with agility at this at time. STAV acknowledges that the most visible aspects of the day-to-day role of laboratory technicians is being challenged. In spite of the changes to physical learning spaces, STAV strongly maintains that laboratory technicians are an integral part of the science program. The need for their expertise and support is all the more profound, and with the assistance of technology, the opportunities for innovation abound.
Laboratory technicians in schools are working to different guides in the support of remote learning. They are gathering, preparing and curating resources for science departments; preparing, conducting and recording demonstrations and experiments to be used by students remotely; collecting data via controlled experiments for analysis by students in assessment tasks; maintaining equipment, updating inventories, reforecasting budgets, conducting OH&S audits and maintaining and preparing risk assessment registers.
Laboratory technicians, given the nature of the role, are specialist, resourceful and adaptable. With the extra burden placed on teachers at this time, their support and drive are even more critical to attaining good learning outcomes for our science students. STAV urges schools to continue to foster the time-honoured collaboration and synergy between school Science teachers and laboratory technicians, so that we can better respond to the challenges before us as we navigate these complex times together.
Chair, Laboratory Technicians sub-committee
Dear STAV Individual and School Member,
I am writing to update you on STAV’s response to the rapidly and ever-evolving challenges presented by COVID-19.
STAV has taken and continues to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of its staff, volunteers, stakeholders and the broader community.
On Tuesday 24 March, the STAV Staff commenced working remotely after a period of trials in preparation for the likelihood of staff working from home. There has been a smooth transition to these working arrangements and we are well prepared as an organisation to ensure you continue to receive as uninterrupted a service as possible. All staff will continue to receive and respond to their emails as per normal practice. Should you be ordering any of our resources, you will continue to receive these and will be advised if there are any delays or otherwise.
Remote working arrangements will remain in place until such time that it is deemed safe by the relevant authorities.
In the interim, to ensure that you continue to receive uninterrupted service, you can contact the STAV Office via phone (03) 9385 3999; or via email: Natalija at email@example.com, Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Violet at email@example.com.
Teacher Professional Learning
STAV Council has been monitoring advice from the Federal and State Governments on a regular basis, and will be meeting in the coming days to review the latest advice in so far as it impacts the conference program and methods of delivery. Planning for conferences scheduled to take place from July 2020 onwards, continues in earnest. Those which are currently under review are: the VCE Psychology workshop, Friday 22 May; STAV Lab Tech Conference, Friday 5 June; and STAV Science Leaders’ Conference, Friday 12 June. I will write to you to update you in due course.
STAV continues to work in collaboration with key stakeholders, including the VCAA. We have recently received some enquiries from members regarding additional support for remote delivery of the VCE. STAV will continue to forward relevant information to its members regarding announcements from the VCAA, and through expertise on STAV Council, will facilitate support of Victorian teachers in the coming weeks and months. Please check your STAV emails and social media regularly over the holiday period and weeks to follow.
Professional learning is a thread which connects all STAV working parties. As a STAV member, if you wish to contribute to what will be a massive effort, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Your support would be most welcome.
Teacher and Student Resources
As STAV members, you have access to our member access area. In this area you will locate current and past STAV publications. We are planning to develop this area further, so that in conjunction with STAV’s regular email bulletins and posts on our social media, you will be able to have access to additional advice.
You will have noticed that we took the unprecedented decision to make our first quarter journals for 2020, LFO and LabTalk, freely available to all. This decision has been met with favour. We understand that those in schools require additional support at this time and STAV is committed to facilitating all forms of communication and connectedness across the state.
As previously communicated, the office will be closed over the Easter break from Tuesday 9 April to Monday 13 April inclusive.
STAV Publishing continues to provide access to valuable assessment materials in the form of past and current practice examination materials. You are able order all STAV Publishing resources online.
A rich source of project-based curriculum materials for remote learning is The Science Talent Search (STS). The current STS handbook is available on the website. The STS PD Kit will be shared with you when you place an email request with STS Coordinator, Janice Teng, email@example.comOur STS PD Kit is free of charge and contains advice universal to most forms of project-based learning, as well as examples of past student projects. STS assessment rubrics for each of the competition categories and student self-assessment checklists are available here.
And a variety of other resources are available to support students and teachers at the following links: http://www.sciencevictoria.com.au/sts/forTeachers.html http://www.sciencevictoria.com.au/sts/forStudentParent.html
If you have any queries regarding STS registration and/or support materials, please contact Janice. Registrations for the current year’s competition are open, with all judging having been moved online.
I also encourage you to make further use of your STAV membership by accessing the ASTA website and its resources. ASTA is currently looking into moving its journal, Teaching Science, online and one vital resource in these times is Science ASSIST. If you are not yet registered for Science ASSIST enews, I strongly encourage you to do so as the advice being provided on OH&S and practical work is second to none.
In closing, please know that your membership is of vital importance to STAV. STAV leadership, Council, volunteers and Staff have worked tirelessly these past few weeks, and will continue to do so to ensure the continuation of services to our members and to Science education more broadly. I thank all who give of their time for their efforts and unwavering dedication. STAV is only as strong as its membership and we ask you to consider suggesting STAV Individual membership to colleagues at this time. We are a profession blessed with secure work at this time but one that is faced with unique challenges. It is vital that we band together to meet these challenges.
On behalf of STAV Council, I would like to ask all our community to stay safe and to work with us to support our diverse and strong community of practice.
I will provide further updates in due course. In the mean-time, if you wish to contact me directly, please feel free to do so: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and well, and enjoy some rest during the holiday break.
Currently a History Celebrating STAV’s 75 year history is being written. If you have any old photos taken at any STAV events or documents that record any aspect of STAV’s work that we may copy and include in STAV’s historical archives please contact either Rod Fawns at email@example.com or Dick Gunstone at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back as soon as possible. The donors of any such materials will be acknowledged with the items in the archives.