A new home for SMART
The Science, Maths and Real Technology (SMART) outreach program has been offering live, interactive, demonstration based science shows to schools since 1998. Thanks to the Equity and Diversity Unit and the Faculty of Science and IT, SMART now looks to an exciting new era.
What is SMART?
The aims of the SMART project are:
- to inform, inspire and involve school aged students in science, and
- to provide opportunities for the University’s own students to learn and practice the skill of science communication.
The program has been an overwhelming success by entertaining and educating almost 250,000 people over 15 years.
A little bit of background
The Equity and Diversity Unit (EDU) had been utilising SMART’s services to provide science shows and workshops for low SES schools since 2008. In early 2012 this included commissioning the “Careers Show”, a hybrid of Careers talk and live Science show created especially for AIM High school audiences.
At the start of 2012, the SMART program’s funding was pulled by its major sponsor, the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research (DIISR), leaving SMART's future hanging in the balance. When the former Manager of the SMART program took a job within EDU as a School Liaison officer, the possibility aroseof absorbing the project into AIM High. In 2013 this change of ownership was instigated with SMART becoming a project within the AIM High suite of offerings.
The move brings many benefits to SMART, including an audience of around 70 Primary and 14 Secondary low SES schools in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-North Coast. As EDU will now be covering the cost of shows in these schools we expect engagement to increase, making SMART just as busy as it always has been except now with a more focussed audience base.
A training opportunity for UoN students
SMART will remain a training opportunity for University students with two full-time scholarships available (generously sponsored by the Faculty of Science and IT) to learn the art of science communication and gain experience in presenting live science shows. Longer-term, the intention is for these SMART scholars to assist with research into effective science communication to low SES audiences.
While AIM High shows will be its mainstay, SMART is delighted to be able to honour existing commitments to contracts with Coal and Allied to deliver shows in the Lower and Upper Hunter, and with Engineers Australia, deliver much needed science shows in the Northern Territory. SMART is also proud to continue representing the Faculty of Science and IT at events such as open days and school campus visits.
The beginning of a new era
While 2012 marked the end of one era, thanks to the Equity and Diversity Unit and on-going support from the Faculty of Science and IT, there's now a new era to look forward to. SMART looks forward to engaging AIM High’s audience in the wonders of science and can proceed with the confidence that only 15 years of experience can bestow.
To find out more information about SMART, please contact Sarah-Jane Judge on extension 54380