School of Physics and Astrophysics

Postgraduate research profiles

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Mark Gargano


Supervisors

Start date

Nov 2010

Submission date

Nov 2014

Mark Gargano

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Thesis

Measuring the effectiveness of specialist science programs in changing students’ attitudes and motivation, and teachers’ confidence and self-efficacy, through participation in authentic astronomy research

Summary

Mark Gargano commenced a PhD research project in November 2010 at the Department of Imaging and Applied Physics at Curtin University. The thesis title is, ‘Measuring the effectiveness of specialist science programs in changing students’ attitudes and motivation, and teachers’ confidence and self-efficacy, through participation in authentic astronomy research.

The aim of this research is to investigate students’ motivation, interest, perception of science and potential scientific careers through participation in authentic astronomy research using a range of remote and robotic telescopes including the University of Western Australia (UWA) SPIRIT (Spice-Physics-ICRAR-Remote-Internet-Telescope), an outreach and research telescope at the Perth Observatory and from the beginning of 2012 The Zadko Telescope based at Gingin. Surveys and interviews are being conducted with teachers involved with student excursions and research groups through the Gravity Discovery Centre and professional learning activities with NASA Spaceward Bound to ascertain any changes in interest and with their classroom practices in science classrooms.

Why my research is important

These facilities are being utilised by secondary school students to obtain data in the detection of asteroids and Near Earth Objects (NEO). Practical activities are also being conducted at the Gravity Discovery Centre (GDC), thus providing a non-telescope component and practical ‘hands-on’ investigations within a specialist science centre. Students from Year 5 to Year 12 can be involved with either aspect of this research project. This project involves working in collaboration with academics and professionals including those from UWA, Curtin University and the GDC, as well as other groups such as the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC), UWA Spice Centre for Learning Technologies and NASA Spaceward Bound, where teachers participating in specialist professional learning through field expeditions are being surveyed and interviewed about their classroom techniques and attitudes towards 'Earth and Space Science' before, immediately after and 12 months post-expedition.

Funding

  • ARC (12 months leave due to full-time appointment)


 

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Last updated:
Monday, 2 August, 2010 2:54 PM

http://www.physics.uwa.edu.au/1023927