About LENScience Connect

LENScience Connect Interactive Learning Experiences

Since 2007 LENScience Connect has produced 37 interactive learning programmes. In partnership with schools and science communities, these programmes enable students throughout New Zealand to engage with each other and with scientists in discussions about scientific research and its potential impact in our communities. While the majority of these programmes are aimed at Year 13 students, we have also engaged in programmes for Year 5-8, 7-9, 9-10 and 11-12 students as well as for teachers.

  • Events are broadcast via Web and/or Satellite Television and made available for later review.
  • Video-conference connections bring live feed from selected host sites into events.
  • LiveChat allows participants to engage in continuous discussion and enables all participating schools to contribute to live Q&A sessions that feature in all events.
  • Through our secure online community site, group interactions create on-going connections, as teachers and students take the learning experience into their own classrooms.
  • Programmes are linked to the New Zealand Curriculum and designed by teachers and scientists to enable students and teachers to access science communities, creating interactive learning opportunities that would not be possible in a standard school setting.

What do we know about how students respond to these learning opportunities?

  • Whether aged 8 or 18, learning experiences that let students talk to other students, scientists and teachers around the country are very engaging.
  • Hearing their own question being discussed on TV or over the internet is motivational for students and stimulates further discussion.
  • Scientists are impressed and often challenged by the questions and discussion that students initiate.
  • Even though teachers tend to think that students can’t multitask [participate in the LiveChat and listen to the webinar at the same time] – they can. Whats more, the LiveChat enables students to debate and discuss ideas with other students around NZ during the event, and often out of these debates collaborate to form combined question that are asked during the LIVE Q&A.
  • Convincing digital migrant teachers that LiveChat is a great tool for digital natives is very important. Students from schools where the teachers allowed the class to take part in LiveChat got more out of the programmes than other students.
  • Taking part in LENScience Connect makes students feel like they really have met the scientists, other students and teachers involved in the programmes.

Design Team:

Following a pilot programme conducted in 2007, the LENScience Connect model was designed in 2008 by a team bringing together expertise in Science Education, Science, Information Technology (IT) Architecture, Broadcast Technology and Television Production. The team was led by Jacquie Bay (Education Design), Robert Hamilton (IT Architecture), Steve Roberts (Broadcast Design) and Dave Hedge (Production Design). Three scientists participated in the original project design process: Dr Jo Perry, Associate Professor Deborah Sloboda and Professor Sir Peter Gluckman. The model was developed by a collaboration involving the Liggins Institute, Gravida, University Media Productions, Kordia, and VoltTV Productions

Design Awards:

  • New Zealand Tertiary ICT Innovation in Infrastructure Award 2010 – awarded jointly to LENScience and the University of Auckland’s ITS Division.
  • Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand Education Innovation Award 2009 – awarded jointly to LENScience and Kordia

Partner Schools and Science Organisations

LENScience gratefully acknowledges the many schools throughout New Zealand that have participated in the programme review process since 2007 and provided feedback. In particular we acknowledge the schools that enabled the 2008 Senior Biology Seminar Series Design Trial.

Since 2007 LENScience Connect has broadcast 37 programmes involving scientists and educators from institutions including:

  • Graivda:National Centre for Growth and Development
  • The Liggins Institute
  • The University of Auckland
  • The University of Otago
  • The Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Biology and Evolution
  • Lincoln University
  • The Bio-Protection Research Centre
  • The University of Canterbury
  • Fertility Associates
  • Northern Regional Genetic Service
  • The University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  • Imperial College, United Kingdom
  • McGill University, Canada