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SAEON supports science and technology teaching


Thomas Mtontsi (centre) at the SAEON Education Outreach Stand with science and technology educators from schools in the Western Cape (Picture by Hadley Lyners)

SAEON participated in the SAASTE Western Cape Regional Conference which took place in Tokai at the Cape Academy for Maths, Science and Technology.

The Conference focused on supporting educators in their profession and was designed to give them an opportunity to share ideas, knowledge and strategies with their colleagues. To this end, presentations, workshops and other sessions were given on life sciences, natural sciences, technology, Earth sciences and physical sciences. Plenary presentations by local and overseas scientists focused on primary science, science education and technology.

Thomas Mtontsi, the SAEON Egagasini Node's Education Outreach Officer represented SAEON at the exhibition and gave a 45-minute presentation on the importance of marine offshore ecosystem education in understanding the scientific debate. To illustrate his topic, he used a DVD showing an oceanographic cruise that investigated the role of the Southern Ocean in global change. He was ably assisted by Hadley Lyners, the SAEON Fynbos Node's new Education Outreach Officer.

"It was a deeply rewarding experience to leave the teachers completely motivated to unearth opportunities in oceanographic literacy to pass on to their learners," says Thomas. "Training the trainer is one of the key strategies of the SAEON Education Outreach initiative," he adds.

The South African Association of Science and Technology Educators (SAASTE) was established three years ago to promote science and technology education by enhancing the quality of teaching and learning of science and technology in South Africa. National and regional conferences are platforms which SAASTE uses to bring educators, curriculum planners and developers, advisers and researchers together.

One of the key aims of the association is to liaise with other organisations with similar aims. SAEON therefore is seen as an appropriate potential partner.

SAEON used the opportunity to network with other participants and interact with educators from different areas of society. "Sharing experiences empower us to act strategically," says Thomas, "and helps us to understand what the educators's key concerns are in teaching different themes in science."


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