UOW launches first national science short film competition

UOW launches first national science short film competition

The first national science short film competition will foster creativity and engagement in science education.

The competition, DigiXFest (Digital Explanations Festival), invites university students studying an undergraduate science-oriented degree (e.g. Science, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy) or a teacher education degree in Australia, to create a short video of five minutes or less to explain a science concept or science experience.

“The goal is to engage students in learning, explaining and communicating science by having them design and make digital media, which they commonly do for social media such as Facebook, but instead to channel their creativity into making digital science explanations,” Associate Professor Garry Hoban, from UOW’s School of Education, said.

The competition is the culmination of Professor Hoban’s National Senior Teaching Fellowship, Digital Explanations: Engaging Students in Learning and Communicating Science through Student-created Digital Media, which aims to address the new teaching and learning standard of “Communication” in the field of science.

His Fellowship is funded by $250,000 from the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching to promote new ways for university science students to engage with content by creating five forms of narrated digital media to explain science—podcasts, digital story, slowmation (slow animation), video and blended media, which is a combination. 

Since July last year, Professor Hoban has visited universities in every state in Australia as well as overseas to run professional learning workshops for academics who want to use student-created media in assessment tasks as a new way to engage students in learning content. The ideas and free instructions for students creating the different media forms are encapsulated in his website digiexplanations.com that has had 83,000 visits since he launched the site in September last year.

The idea of students creating digital media to learn and engage with science content has already had take up by academics in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health at UOW. Over the past few weeks, Dr Chris Hyland and Dr Clare Murphy and their chemistry and pharmacology students have created digital media to help them grasp complex science concepts.

Submissions for DigiXFest close midnight, Monday 15 September 2014.  Twelve entries (six from science and six from science teacher education) will be selected as finalists to be judged on the evening of Monday 29 September at the Australian Conference for Science & Mathematics Educators at the University of Sydney. Students can enter individually or in a group and may submit as many entries as desired for their chance to win a share in $2,000 in prize money. 

More information: digiexplanations.com for competition details and entry requirements.

Media contact: Associate Professor Garry Hoban is available for interview on +61 2 4221 4450, 0425368817 or garry_hoban@uow.edu.au