No 04: Nov '05 LEARNING BULLETIN Pioneering new approaches to learning Providing practical, flexible, inventive and risk-taking support Insight Highlights Funding opportunities Other ways to bring learning alive INSIGHT SAVE THE SCHOOL EXPERIMENT A new report by NESTA, Real Science, argues that the UK needs more science investigation and experiments in school classrooms. Our economic competitiveness and capacity could be under threat without this – not to mention the motivation and engagement of school children learning science. The report’s findings are endorsed by a NESTA-commissioned ICM poll with over 500 secondary school teachers across the UK. The vast majority consider science enquiry learning to be very important, with 87% agreeing that it can have a significant impact on pupils’ performance. However two in three science teachers (64%) suggest that the biggest barrier to more science enquiry work is a lack of time within current constraints. NESTA is working with many partners across science and learning to advance science enquiry, and is looking to forge new and innovative partnerships to achieve this. Real Science: an executive summary Real Science: the full report Real Science: regional perspectives TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF NESTA'S SCIENCE ENQUIRY LEARNING PROJECTS: Nestonauts: building a ‘moonbase’ in the playground Motivate: using interactive technologies and real world examples to explore maths and science Digital Science: using new media to engage young people with the social and ethical issues in science Back to top HIGHLIGHTS EXPERIENCE THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL SCIENCE Visualise – the beauty of science is a visually stunning new show from science made simple. It combines live science experiments with graphics and music to create a word–less experience which aims to change audiences’ attitudes to science and help them to make their own connections to the science around them. The show launches at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 6 December, at 2.00pm, and tickets cost £4.50. An adapted version of the show will be made available to schools and special needs groups across the UK. Its high impact, non-verbal content makes it particularly useful for non–English language speakers and people with a hearing impairment. Tickets are available from www.wmc.org.uk, telephone 08700 40 2000. DRIVING ENTERPRISE EDUCATION IN MERSEYSIDE The Hotshots Entrepreneurs Academy is the brainchild of one of the North West’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, Matt Johnson. His aim is to develop the business ‘know–how’ of young people across Merseyside, teaching them skills such as managing risk, creative thinking and motivation. He also aims to give teachers the skills they need to embed enterprise learning into the curriculum in Merseyside schools; particularly opportune in the light of a new Government initiative which entitles 14–16–year–olds to five days’ enterprise learning. Matt’s ultimate goal is to encourage a generation of entrepreneurs who will boost the region’s economy and contribute to a more innovative and creative UK culture. DEBATES WITH A DIFFERENCE – NUCLEAR ENERGY Three hundred 14-19-year-olds across the UK are being encouraged to participate in the debate surrounding nuclear energy and nuclear waste. Their views will feed directly into the Government’s current consultation on UK radio-active waste management. The debate, which takes place over two days, uses video-conferencing and includes ‘press conference’ style interactions with experts in the field. Resources are available online for teachers across the UK who would like to stage their own ‘Debate with a difference’. COSMIC SPACE COMES TO PERTH AND MANCHESTER Cosmic Space is a planetarium-type dome which merges astronomy, arts, poetry and philosophy to inspire people about science and the natural world around them. The travelling show – hailed by visitors in Birmingham as ‘awe- inspiring’ and ‘utterly fantastic’ – arrives at Perth Concert Hall from 26 November 2005 and the Oldham Gallery from 14 January 2006. NEW WAYS OF WORKING WITH YOUNG OFFENDERS Dance United offers young offenders an alternative way to access the arts, engage with learning and develop core skills. Through their Academy they provide contemporary dance training, and are developing dance-led approaches to teaching literacy and numeracy. Underpinning their approach is the idea of ‘learning by stealth’; helping youngsters who may have negative or hostile attitudes to mainstream education to learn by ‘doing’ rather than ‘talking’. Young offenders develop life and social skills by helping to organise regular public performances, taking part in activities such as dance administration, box office, stage management, tour booking, lighting, sound, marketing, personnel management and budgeting. Gifted dancers may go on to join the Youth Dance Group and the Youth Dance Company; some may even pursue professional dance careers. ‘ADOPT AN AUTHOR’ PUBLISHES FINDINGS The Adopt an Author project was supported by NESTA in 2003 to test a new model of increasing pupils’ engagement with literacy. In the pilot scheme, children and popular authors emailed each other over several weeks, supervised by teachers, and met face- to-face at the Brighton Festival. This proved so successful that the scheme was rolled out to five new regions; Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, the mid-Pennines and Swansea. The project has now been independently evaluated by Carol Fox and Avril Loveless of Brighton University and the report, along with a promotional brochure, is available on NESTA’s website, www.nesta.org.uk. CAPTURING SCIENCE EXPERIMENTATION ON FILM Films for Learning is an initiative developed by the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester. Teachers and pupils are working with professional filmmakers, Toolkit, to make their own science teaching videos which can be shared with other schools. The project was driven by an awareness that, while hands-on science experimentation in the classroom stimulates learners’ engagement in science, it is not always practical or affordable. Students are asked what activities helped their learning, and work with teachers and Toolkit to find the best way of capturing that on video. Thomas Hardye Schools is one of 20 high-performing schools chosen for the Leading Edge programme, supported by the Department for Education and Skills. Back to top FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES If reading about some of NESTA’s Learning projects has sparked an idea of your own, why not get in touch? We commission projects and invite tenders from organisations and people who can help us achieve our aims. If you have an innovative approach to learning you’d like to discuss with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to top OTHER WAYS TO BRING LEARNING ALIVE NESTA’s goal is to inspire and stimulate creative thinking and innovation in every area of science, technology and the arts. Our Learning programme is only one means to this end. We also manage the legacy of Planet Science, run NESTA Futurelab and support young people through our Ignite! Fellowship project. Planet Science A unique website designed to engage young people with science - as well as teachers and parents. The site contains free games, resources and ideas for everyone. www.planet-science.com. NESTA Futurelab Based in Bristol, NESTA Futurelab brings together the creative, technical and educational communities to pioneer new ways of using new technologies to transform the learning experience. For a showcase of their latest work and research go to www.nestafuturelab.org. Ignite! This project supports the personal development of exceptionally creative young people aged between 10 and 21 years old. Take a look at www.nesta.org.uk/ignite for the latest thoughts on creativity in young people, and a range of activities and games. We intend this to be a quarterly bulletin sent to organisations and individuals interested in innovation in learning and education. If you do not want to continue receiving this bulletin, please send an e-mail to 'email@example.com' with the subject line 'NESTA Learning bulletin/unsubscribe', and we shall remove you from our subscribers list before the next edition. If you have received the Bulletin from a friend and would like your own copy in future, please send an e-mail to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' with the subject line 'NESTA Learning Bulletin/subscribe'. NESTA was set up with an endowment from the national lottery. We invest the interest from this in UK innovation and work to improve the climate for creativity across the UK.