ACSME 2021: an inspiring and engaging event

Assessment Panel 3

This year’s ACSME conference was again a celebration of ingenuity, creativity and commitment to high quality education, and showed that the science education community in Australia is stronger than ever. Over 220 academics, professional staff, researchers and students from around the country and beyond connected virtually to share good practice and discuss challenges, particularly those arising from the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The conference kicked off with the inspiring keynote presentation by Alison Flyn (University of Ottawa) where she addressed the question How our programs and courses should change to better equip, include and empower learners?. The second keynote was delivered by Jack Wang (The University of Queensland), who inspired us with his approach to blending online resources with synchronous interactive activities to increase student engagement.

Three discussion sessions brought together expertise from across a variety institutions and settings to take a deep dive into some of the big challenges faced by all those at the coalface of working with science students. These included the topics Are large lectures a thing of the past?, What is the Future of Assessment? , and Learning from each other: a tale of two education sectors. The chat stream was running hot with so many great contributions from the passionate participants.

Twelve parallel sessions and two poster sessions included a rich sample of the innovation that is taking place in science and mathematics classrooms, and the thoughtful approaches used to maximise student learning. Our students are facing so many challenges at the moment but they should be assured by the fact that so many people care so deeply about their learning experience.

The recordings of the keynote presentations and the panel discussions are available on the ACSME website. The program, also available on this website, includes links to pre-recorded video presentations of individual contributors. These resources capture the richness of the discussions had that is now available to all those interested in science and mathematics education.