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New Leaving Cert science course poses risk to ‘high standards’ of education

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2014 by steve

“Leaving certificate teachers have expressed concerns over the new science syllabi proposed by the Department of Education …” (more)

[TheJournal.ie, 14 April]

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New Leaving Cert science courses may not ‘set the bar high enough’, report warns

Posted in Teaching on April 14th, 2014 by steve

“A planned new syllabus for Leaving Cert science subjects is in danger of creating lower standards by focusing on ‘learning outcomes’ rather than traditional building blocks of knowledge, a leading researcher has warned. Prof Áine Hyland, emeritus professor of education at University College Cork, has criticised the planned reforms …” (more)

[Joe Humphreys, Irish Times, 14 April]

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US university science: The shopping mall model

Posted in Research on March 21st, 2014 by steve

“US universities resemble high-end shopping malls. They use nice buildings and good reputations to attract good students and good faculty. To pay for this, external funding – once viewed as a luxury – is a necessary condition for tenure and promotion …” (more)

[Paula Stephan, vox, 20 March]

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Science in media is ‘sporadic’ and ‘limited’, says SFI

Posted in Governance and administration on March 6th, 2014 by steve

“Mumbo-jumbo, hokum and quackery rarely seems to have much trouble getting broadcast, but is there enough science on air? Science Foundation Ireland doesn’t think so …” (more)

[Laura Slattery, Irish Times, 6 March]

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Dear Minister – 10 things for you to think about regarding maths

Posted in Fees and access on March 3rd, 2014 by steve

“Dear Minister: You are clearly very happy with the surge in numbers taking honours maths. You claim that this is good news because it is crucial for the ‘knowledge economy’ that we have high numbers taking higher level maths, now transformed into Project Maths of course. Here are some assorted ideas and comments for you to consider …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 3 March]

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Are we all natural-born scientists?

Posted in Life on March 2nd, 2014 by steve

“Carl Sagan once said: ‘Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact’. I have heard this argument repeated many times by those seeking to improve the teaching of STEM subjects and I think it is dead wrong …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 1 March]


Is there a STEM crisis in these islands?

Posted in Governance and administration on February 26th, 2014 by steve

“Quacquarelli Symonds have published the QS world university subject rankings. One particular aspect of these tables has been noted in both the UK and Ireland …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 26 February]

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In which sexism leaves me speechless

Posted in Governance and administration on February 22nd, 2014 by steve

“There’s a lot of talk about sexism in science these days – blogposts, op-eds and tweets roll out on a daily basis, and even Parliamentary committees get worked up about it. It’s no longer a minority of isolated people concerned about the problem …” (more)

[Jennifer Rohn, Mind the Gap, 21 February]

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Opening Science: The evolving guide on how the Internet is changing research, collaboration and scholarly publishing

Posted in Research on February 19th, 2014 by steve

“Open research practices seek to make scientific practice more efficient and accessible. A new book offers an overview of the Open Science landscape. Benedikt Fecher, Sönke Bartling, Sascha Friesike outline why ‘research on research’ is necessary and also demonstrate how to contribute to the collection via GitHub …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 19 February]

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Male, Mad and Muddleheaded: The portrayal of academics in children’s books is shockingly narrow

Posted in Life on February 14th, 2014 by steve

“Academics in children’s picture books tend to be elderly, old men, who work in science, called Professor SomethingDumb. Why does this matter? Melissa Terras presents the findings from her two-year search on the representation of academics and argues these portrayals should be challenged …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 14 February]

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Are Scientists Reading Less? Apparently, Scientists Didn’t Read This Paper

Posted in Research on February 8th, 2014 by steve

“The headline, ‘Scientists reading fewer papers for first time in 35 years’ was published online in the news section of Nature by the astute science journalist, Richard van Noorden. This bold claim referred to a new, but unpublished paper, by Carol Tenopir and others …” (more)

[Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, 7 February]

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Elsevier opens its papers to text-mining

Posted in Research on February 3rd, 2014 by steve

International“Academics: prepare your computers for text-mining. Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers …” (more)

[Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 3 February]

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Serendipity at the heart of some of the world’s greatest scientific breakthroughs

Posted in Research on February 3rd, 2014 by steve

“While the modern world of commercially driven research might lead you to believe that most innovators and inventors know exactly what they’re doing, the reality is quite different …” (more)

[John Holden, Irish Times, 3 February]

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Parents failing to guide girls into science and technology

Posted in Teaching on February 1st, 2014 by steve

“The poor uptake by girls of study in science, technology and engineering may be partly because parents feel ill-equipped to advise them on the new world of work …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 1 February]

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Science isn’t swayed by the fashion of the age

Posted in Research on January 30th, 2014 by steve

“Last week, I gave a public lecture at Trinity College Dublin on the emergence of the Big Bang model of the origin of the universe. We got a very good turnout, as always with events hosted by Astronomy Ireland …” (more)

[Cormac O Raifeartaigh, Irish Times, 30 January]

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Education and Science Quotes

Posted in Research, Teaching on January 20th, 2014 by steve

“Here are some nice quotes, sayings and downright clichés related to education, science and innovation that I have come across over the last while as I read and researched for this blog and my ebook …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 20 January]

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Calculus of innovation

Posted in Teaching on January 14th, 2014 by steve

“What is it American policy-makers do not get about proficiency in mathematics and science at high school being one of the most important predictors of economic success—both for individuals themselves and for the country as a whole? …” (more)

[The Economist, 14 January]

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Time to make science work in the classroom

Posted in Teaching on January 10th, 2014 by steve

“It is of great concern that children are losing interest in science and maths by the age of eight. This may be due to how science is taught at primary school level. Many primary school teachers did not experience science instruction as part of their teacher training …” (more)

[Ingrid Hook, Irish Times, 10 January]

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Is there really a replication crisis in science? And is there really a problem with the reliability and validity of the published literature?

Posted in Research on December 28th, 2013 by steve

“A tiny post here (30 words) linking to another blog on problems with the published scientific literature attracted lots of hits – and left me wondering about the vexed issue of replication and reproducibility (these are not the same things) in science …” (more)

[Shane O’Mara’s Blog, 28 December]

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Scientists pitch projects in plain English at NUIG

Posted in Research on December 15th, 2013 by steve

“Who won the newspaper cartoon war in 1913? What are ‘orphaned’ public goods? These and other compelling questions were the focus of an unusual contest for academics in a Galway theatre this week …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 14 December]

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