ESD pathway at the Association of Science Education Conference, Jan 2018

ESD pathway at the Association of Science Education Conference, Jan 2018

By Margret Fleming

The Association for Science Education Annual Conference 3-6 January 2018

At the University of Liverpool – now free to GLP schools.

This four-day conference brings together over 350 sessions exploring all aspects of science education

A strengthening focus within the conference is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); you can now select a tailored programme to develop your skills and knowledge in this dynamic field. While few schools formally support the role of sustainability co-ordinator, we recognise this is an area of passion and interest to many teachers and students so aim to offer you the chance to meet practitioners from across the world to share ideas and resources.

The ASE is a contributor to the Global Learning Programme (GLP), ‘which supports teachers to enable students to learn about the challenges our world faces and think critically about how to deal with issues such as climate change and sustainability’. Discussion of these global themes plays a key part in this year’s   International Day, Wednesday 3rd January. Last year we had a description of the ASE work in the GLP and an important keynote by Professor Justin Dillon on the links to ‘Citizen science and ethics’. This year we have a focus on Practical work – John Holman. Both topics of international importance. The ASE Annual Conference is part of the Global Learning Programme, so you can now attend free, using e-credits, if your school is a Partner in the programme. The programme has been extended so schools which have used their £500 eCredits. They can still apply if this is a new type of CPD, Details here.

Attendees can use the ASE Annual Conference to find out more about integrating sustainability issues into day- to-day teaching and link this to a whole-school approach to ESD. They will also be able to find out about funding for projects in your school and how to develop approaches to embedding sustainability issues within science teaching.

The whole programme is online at and the filters mean you can select the Conference Theme – Education for Sustainable Development to see all the sessions of particular interest. SEEd and the Sustainable Schools Alliance have recently launched a new Sustainable Schools Doorway on Nature & Biodiversity, and will be using the ASE conference to describe this in a workshop on Friday 5th January. ‘Using the Sustainable Schools Doorways’   See here for further details of the initiative on this website.

Others include:

‘Trashed World’, ‘Transforming STEM Education: Air Quality as a powerful theme for integration’ and ‘ Get your School to Go Green!’ on Wednesday 3 January.

‘Archaeoschool for the Future’, ‘Frontier Science: Artificial Photosynthesis – making fuels from air, water and light’, ‘How to Reduce the Effects of Climate Change’ and ‘Citizen Science: Sharing knowledge. Inspiring action. Valuing nature’ on Thursday 4 January.

‘Environmental Education in Secondary Science’, ‘Going Bananas for Food Security’, ‘Reaching a Zero Carbon Future’, ‘Polar Explorer Programme’, and ‘Science & the World Around Us: Science and Global Learning’ on Friday 5 January

‘Power for the World: Investigation for understanding and application’, ‘Frontier Science: Oceanography – From Microbes to Global Climate’ and ‘Forest School & Science’ on Saturday 6 January.

Joining the ASE has many benefits alongside cheaper entry to events and our brilliant journals. See here. Members can find an article in May 2017’s Education in Science describing last year’s ESD themes entitled ‘Science sustainability and wicked problems’ here This included  a summary of the talk  by Justin Dillon (see above) which set the scene for last year’s conference. These themes have been also been explored by Justin in another SSA blog here. International members can also access this article, as one of their many benefits.


Finally news of a new EU project ‘Urban science’ I am pleased to be working on this project with Wild Awake . It aims to meet the needs of an urban Europe, where scientists of the future will need the skills and knowledge to create healthy and sustainable cities. Urban Science focuses on how science can develop solutions to urban issues, so motivating pupils to view the positive benefits of science to the urban environment. Urban Science is supporting teachers with exciting and innovative ways to teach science that has real life meaning for their pupils. It also meets the needs of pupils to be competitive in a rapidly changing world where scientific understanding is vital. Look out for us at future SSA, SEEd and ASE events.