Speech by Academy Chief Executive: Academy launches a new system of professional learning

June 25, 2024

This is an abridged version of the speech delivered by Australian Academy of Science Chief Executive Anna-Maria Arabia at the launch of the Academy’s Primary Connection and reSolve resources on Tuesday 25 June 2024.

Hello, Hughes Primary School! Thank you for hosting the Australian Academy of Science this morning and for being with us bright and early on this crisp Canberra morning. 

We are delighted to be launching our all-new resources for primary science and mathematics teachers.

I don’t need to remind the people in this room that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of almost everything we do and how we advance as a nation and a globe, from solving major global problems to creating new businesses and jobs we haven’t yet imagined, STEM is a fundamental foundation in our lives and our future. 

The stronger the grounding we all have in problem-solving and critical thinking, the more equipped we will be to navigate life, lead change and shape a future that is both sustainable and prosperous. And one that enables all Australians, regardless of where they grow up, to participate in and benefit from the opportunities before us. 

Our ability to problem solve and think critically starts with a strong foundation in science and maths, with students in classrooms able to explore multiple ways of thinking, learning and working.  

The Academy has a long-standing and deep connection with, and commitment to, school STEM education in Australia, dating back to 1967 with the groundbreaking Web of Life textbook, which was hailed as the most successful curriculum development project of its time in the world. Developed right here in Canberra!

The STEM education programs of the Australian Academy of Science have at their core, teachers—the beating heart of schools across Australia. 

We are driven by a desire to invest in teachers. 

To support them to nurture and develop students’ curiosity and to lay the foundations for successful investigation, knowledge building and problem solving.

Our approach always has been and always will be guided by the best available evidence—it’s the Academy way. 

For over 20 years, our Primary Connections program has been a favourite among primary school educators. Together with our reSolve mathematics program, these resources attract over half a million visits and nearly 400,000 downloads annually. 

But time rolls on and things change.

The digital transformation: from content creator to capability builder 

With shifts in the education environment—amplified by the pandemic—and the introduction of Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum, we have taken the opportunity to completely rethink how our programs are designed and delivered in contemporary ways for teachers.

We have again consulted the evidence—the Academy way—and rather than simply converting our existing products and services into a digital format, the new digital resources being launched today are a complete reimagining of how professional learning is delivered to support teachers in building their practice capability and confidence. 

This work is led by listening to experts, to evidence, and importantly to teachers. 

We have gained deep insights into their needs and operating environments and this has enabled us to create tools and resources that are purposeful and useful to them, in today’s teaching environment.

Our experience is that when teachers are involved in the development and evaluation of programs, they provide invaluable perspectives, experience and knowledge. 

May I publicly thank every single teacher who has assisted us in getting us to today, so that we can give back to you. 

Summary of key features 

What we are launching today is the beginning of a new system of professional learning. 

Our new interactive resources support teacher practice. They integrate the latest research and explain the design thinking behind each decision in a teaching sequence.

The Primary Connections and reSolve pedagogical toolboxes are full of research-based strategies to build teachers’ practice for teaching science and mathematics. 

They build teacher capability to adapt and mobilise resources and experiences to meet the needs of all learners in their class.  

They recognise that learning is a process, not an event. They recognise that teachers are time-poor but vocation-rich.

They recognise that learners—and teachers—come in all shapes and forms and that they learn differently.

Our resources allow teachers to prepare not just what students need to know, but how students learn best.

They are also fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum Version 9 and include achievement standards to support adapting for local curriculum or syllabus needs.  

They are teacher informed.

And they are evidence based—it’s the Academy way.

On behalf of the Australian Academy of Science may I extend my thanks for the Australian Government funding for being our partner in this endeavour. 

Your commitment means that all of our resources are available free of charge to every single school and teacher across Australia. This lifts us all. It is priceless and we thank you. 

Learn more about the launch of these resources in the Academy's media release

© 2024 Australian Academy of Science