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e-Science: Enriching science literacy with free, engaging, and curriculum-ready resources [DRAFT]





Project Overview

e-Science presents exciting online content and resources about cutting-edge science research, within the framework of the ‘10 Big Questions’, a set of fundamental and socially relevant questions facing our world. Launched in 2012, e-Science is a truly free electronic science magazine for teachers, students and the general public. It was designed to enrich science literacy at all levels and support teachers by making science interesting and relevant for students. We have had an overwhelming positive response from the public worldwide and e-Science continues to maintain a high ranking for free Science magazines in the Australian Apple Newsstand.


Faculty of Sciences, University of Adelaide


e-Science was self-commissioned by the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide and was supported through funding from the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP): Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research & Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).

The project team are:
Dr Kelly Banwell, Editor
Associate Prof. Karin Barovich, Associate Dean (Future Students)
Associate Prof. Megan Lewis, Deputy Executive Dean, Sciences
Ms Leah Panakera-Thorpe, Acting Faculty Manager
Ms Claire Draper, Support Officer

Project Brief

It’s no secret science is failing to grab the attention of young people in schools. We saw a way to engage students with science through bringing our research to them. We designed a new e-magazine from conception to final product, with the aim of exciting students and teachers about science. e-Science is our unique initiative to enhance the teaching of science in schools and to improve science literacy in the community. e-Science is 100% free and presents exciting interactive online content and classroom resources about our cutting-edge science research, within the framework of our ‘10 Big Questions’. In a short period of time, it has attracted over 50,000 readers from Australia and overseas and continues to grow in readership.

Each issue features articles about topical science research written by leading researchers at the University of Adelaide, enhanced with interactive and multimedia elements that bring bring the stories to life. Also included with each feature article are numerous classroom-ready resources, with explicit links to the Australian Curriculum. In addition, the magazine profiles other useful resources and information sources for teaching science including apps and websites.

e-Science grew out of our own adoption of the ’10 Big Questions’ in our own curriculum. These questions which characterise our research strengths and provide points of interest for students, focus attention on issues of great significance socially, scientifically and sustainably, and include a mix of fundamental and highly socially relevant questions, blue sky research and technological innovation.

Project Need

In 2010 we began to promote the Faculty of Sciences ‘10 Big Questions’ (10BQ) to our current undergraduate students and used them to provide relevance to our degrees when recruiting new students. The questions characterized our research strengths and provide points of interest for students. They focused attention on issues of great significance socially, scientifically and sustainably, and include a mix of fundamental and highly socially relevant questions, blue sky research and technological innovation. We were surprised and delighted to discover that several schools had adopted the 10BQ to aid in their Science teaching. We considered how best to assist school teachers using these questions and this led to the 2012 launch of e-Science. Free and available for iPad or on the web, e-Science has four issues per year, each with four feature articles written by staff from the Faculty of Sciences. Most important are the embedded classroom ready resources designed to assist teachers in inspiring their students which link back to the Australian Curriculum. With 50,000 downloads/views, the app is rated four and half stars in the App Store and has generated positive unsolicited feedback from around the world.

User Experience

Using the Oomph platform we strive to deliver a strong user experience. The focus of the user experience is to provide a rich visual experience with simple navigation and informative content.

Arriving at each issue’s cover page the reader is greeted with an attractive, interactive picture similar to a glossy magazine. The cover invites the user to access the four feature articles directly or alternatively the user can swipe the page across to simulate reading like a magazine. The contents page allows users to quickly scan the content of the magazine. The ‘How to Use’ page ensures the user can easily navigate all the features. The user can tap on an inactive part of the screen on any page to open up a quick navigation tool, for the user to select their desired page.

Each feature articles is interactive offering the reader the options to view videos, scroll through photos and access classroom-ready educational resources. An added value for teachers and educators is the connection we provide between the Australian Curriculum, the article and the resources.

The ‘What’s Hot’ sections highlight feature websites, which are hyperlinked, and apps, which can be downloaded directly from the page.

Pages can be easily shared via email, Twitter and Facebook.

Most importantly the reader has the opportunity to provide feedback on the bottom of every page. We encourage feedback!

Project Marketing

The launch of e-Science included a print campaign in the South Australian Science Teachers Association (SASTA) and Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) magazines and an event showcasing its features. Secondary school teachers, science enthusiasts and local political leaders were invited to this event.

When a new issue is released, teachers, educators and the general public are informed through a variety of avenues. Users of the iPad app are sent a push notification on the day of release and those who have asked to be placed on our subscription list are reminded by email. New releases are also broadcast by RiAus, SASTA, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Science Communicators. Current students, graduates and University of Adelaide staff are informed through the University’s alumni newsletters, University Staff News, and social media.

Teacher Professional Development days have also been used to demonstrate to the practical application of the magazine in the classroom setting.

We have also been privileged to be featured widely in the Apple Newsstand, most notably in the ‘What’s Hot’ and ‘New and Noteworthy’ sections under ‘All Categories’, ‘Education’ and ‘Science’.

In the future we anticipate a bigger presence on social media.

This category recognises education themed apps across all education sectors.
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