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December 2010 Archives

Well, it's nice to be back on line! I haven't had much chance to write anything in the last week, but it would have been nice to have been able to if I'd wanted...

Reasons for not posting: a) the registrar & I have been incredibly busy at work, trying to process student enrolments before the Big Christmas Shutdown (which we both intend to spend hanging out with family, eating, drinking & generally having fun) - no spare time to set finger to keyboard.

and b) we moved house over the weekend - only to the other side of Hamilton but still, a huge amount of work. Once we'd got stuff out of boxes and the place resembling a home rather than the warehouse for an auction company, I innocently plugged in the computer & all its little gizmos & prepared to surf the net, yay! But alas, no broadband. Until today, when the nice men from Chorus came by & put the right wires in the right sockets in the rather spiffy switchboard thingy we've acquired.

So life has returned to normal (& the registrar will be happy as I am now going to do some more enrolments from the comfort of my home office -sure beats trekking across Hamilton in the peak of the pre-Christmas frenzy!)

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I've just received an e-mail about a forum on Science & Innovation in Education, which'll be held next year in Wellington on 19-20 April. Now, quite apart from the fact that I'd really like to go to this one, I thought I'd write a bit about the forum here because my correspondent is in the throes of developing a series of questions to form the basis of discussion & asked if I'd be willing to share them around as any & all feedback on them would be very welcome.

In other words - are the following questions 'good' questions?

Do you think they'll be useful in promoting discussion?

If you had to narrow the list down to - say - half a dozen questions, which ones would you include, & why?

(I do have my own opinions here, but that's all they are, & I'd rather throw this open to everyone here & get a decent discussion going around science education in New Zealand.)

So, don't be shy! And read on...

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I had a quick web-surf in between walking the dog (before it got too hot) & doing some paperwork. And behold! there was a post by PZ entitled My mouse has two daddies. So the paperwork had to wait a bit :)

PZ's writing about a rather clever - & intricate!) - piece of work that's resulted in a baby mouse whose genome has absolutely no contribution whatsoever from a female mouse - it's all from 2 males. A fascinating piece & well worth a read.

Now, back to what I was supposed to be doing...

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After writing my last post, in which a young-earth creationist expounded on their idea that the planet was once a giant nuclear reactor, I wondered what else was out there. So in the gap between one appointment & the next, I went looking. I almost wish I hadn't...

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Things have been totally hectic since I got back from the conference trail - all the usual end-of-year stuff plus heaps of students coming in for advice about their study plans for next year. (Hint for future students - try to do a bit of planning before you come in; it makes the process much easier :) I don't mean picking out every paper that you might want, but having a broad idea of what you are most interested in is a good starting point.)

But I still managed to sneak a look at Pharyngula while I took a a few minutes to eat lunch. Where I found this gem:

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Well, I've just got back from a series of conferences (3 in the space of 10 days) - & all of them about teaching! I was getting pretty tired by the end of it all, but at the same time it was really good to be able to spend time talking about teaching (& about research into teaching & learning) and to pick up some tips from some of the country's top tertiary teachers.

One of those teachers was Otago's Phil Bishop, aka 'the Frog Man'. If you want to know anything about frogs in this country then Phil's the man to go to :) He kicks off each of his first-year lectures with a 'frog fact of the day', & one of these is about the 'paradoxical frog, Pseudis paradoxa.

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I've just spent a couple of wonderful days at the inaugural First-Year Biology Educators' Colloquium, hosted by Otago University's Phil Bishop at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, near Dunedin. There were some absolutely inspirational speakers there & I came away with some ideas that I'd like to adapt for my own teaching. And I gave a talk myself (well, led a discussion, really), on the interface between secondary & tertiary biology teaching & why we need to be aware of it.

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