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From the CEO.


With the end of 2009 rapidly approaching, so is the 'changing of the guard' as it relates to the leadership of ASTA. In his final journal column as President of ASTA, Peter Turnbull highlighted some of the issues that have faced our association during his time as President. Although Peter still has a year to serve on the ASTA Executive as Immediate Past President, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to ASTA over the past two years. It is not easy to juggle the commitments expected of the leader of a pre-eminent national professional association with those that are undoubtedly demanded in one's 'day job'. Peter has not only done this very successfully, but has also made a significant contribution to the growth of ASTA. Previous experience has taught me that to achieve all this in such a short timeframe is most commendable. I would also like to recognise his support of the ASTA Secretariat and the positive way in which he has interacted with the Canberra office team.

I welcome Anna Davis to the position of President of ASTA in 2010 and 2011 and look forward to continuing to work with Anna and the rest of the ASTA Executive to improve science education through our support of science teachers, in collaboration with our state and territory member science teacher associations.


Much of the planning for CONASTA 59 at the University of Technology in Sydney in 2010 has been done and we are now in the process of 'fine-tuning' the program in readiness for next year. It is shaping up to be a great conference, continuing the CONASTA tradition of providing something interesting and challenging for everyone, be they a science teacher, laboratory technician or science educator.

For the first time, CONASTA will be organised and managed by the ASTA Secretariat, a prospect that is both daunting and exciting. We believe that by bringing the organisation of our national conference in house, to people who understand how our conference works, we will not only alleviate pressure on the state and territory STAs hosting CONASTA, but hopefully keep costs down as well.

This issue of Teaching Science announces, by way of a flyer and a double-page advertisement, the Call for Abstracts, Earlybird Registrations, and the launch of the official CONASTA 59 website all of which are due to open on Monday 4 January 2010. This is an excellent opportunity for teachers and other science educators not only to attend CONASTA, but also to conduct workshops, laboratory sessions or computer sessions that they feel will be of interest and value to their colleagues.

Please read the information carefully and, in particular, the timelines, which are critical in ensuring that this process runs smoothly and to schedule. If you have any questions at all regarding any aspect of CONASTA 59, the registration process, or the Call for Abstracts, please do not hesitate to contact us via our CONASTA email address:


In the past two issues of Teaching Science I have mentioned an online professional learning project that ASTA has undertaken in collaboration with the Federal Government to improve science teachers' understanding and use of online professional learning tools. I mistakenly informed our readers that this work was being done with the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR). Rather, it is through collaboration with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) that we have conducted a number of successful online professional learning trials using the Elluminate platform.

We have also collated the results of our online professional learning survey (conducted earlier this year) and the preliminary summary of data can be viewed on the ASTA website ( under What's New? The data makes for interesting reading and will be included in a final report to DEEWR on the project's findings. It is also envisaged that ASTA will be making some recommendations to DEEWR regarding the development of other online professional learning opportunities for science teachers.


The association is promoting two high-quality new resources that are worth a look. The first, Backyard Science, is mainly targeted at the primary years, whilst the excellent astronomy resource, Window to the Universe, has been written for junior secondary students.

Backyard Science has been developed by the Australian Children's Television Foundation. An innovative multimedia resource, it promotes the development of scientific literacy for students in Years 4-7 through 40 teaching strategies for classroom experiments, 80 digitised video clips, detailed science content notes, student worksheets, interactive games, Kahootz 3 animations and links to additional web resources. An order form is available in the Resources section of our website:

Window to the Universe is a new free teaching resource designed for students in Years 9-10 across Australia. It comprises twenty-one lessons arranged in three sections, the first introducing students to waves, the second tackling the key concepts and components in the Universe, and the last covering astronomy techniques and technology. The resource harnesses a wide range of activities and styles to engage students. Lesson topics can be used and adapted individually but also form an integrated unit that engages and challenges students by exposing them to this exciting area of science. This excellent teacher resource was developed as part of the Questacon-Scitech SKA Education project, funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research, supported by an experienced team of science teachers from the Science Teachers Association of NSW, and coordinated by an experienced astronomy educator/teacher from the CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility. Register on the ASTA website for your free copy.


We wish to apologise to Brenton Honeyman for omitting his name on the published list of ASTA life members in the last journal. Brenton was awarded life membership in 1988.


Once again this year, we are going to save loggers the trouble of cutting down an extra tree or two by not posting out Christmas cards to our many colleagues, friends and supporters and instead donate the money that we would have spent on this exercise to support the educational outcomes of needy children in Australia. Therefore, from all the staff at the ASTA office, we wish you a very enjoyable Christmas and trust that 2010 is one 'out of the box' for you and yours.

Until next time.
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Title Annotation:chief executive officer
Author:Russo, Peter
Publication:Teaching Science
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2009
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