The Australian Science Education Research Association (ASERA)

ASERA was established in 1970 and later became the Australasian Science Education Research Association Ltd. The aim of the association is to promote science education and science education research in all contexts and at all levels of education. The journal of the association Research in Science Education is published by Springer. Members of the Association receive the journal as part of their membership.

History

Peter FenshamIn 1970 Peter Fensham (Monash University), the first Professor of Science Education in Australasia, initiated the first conference of what was then the Australian Science Education Research Association. The list of researchers, their institutional affiliations and research interests, who attended this conference can be seen below.

On the right is Emeritus Professor Peter Fensham celebrating his 80th birthday at QUT on October 26, 2007.

That beginning for ASERA (now the Australasian Science Education Research Association) makes it the second oldest science education research body in the world, after the National Association for Research in Science Teaching in USA. This was also several months before the first conference of the then newly formed Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). It is thus likely that ASERA was the first professional body in educational research in Australia.

The New Zealand dimension of ASERA began with the attendance of the late Roger Osborne at the 1977 conference, but was not formalized in the name change to “Australasian” until 1990, 7 years after ASERA first met in New Zealand.

The general belief at the first conference was that every second meeting would need to be organized by Monash, a reflection of the fact that in 1970 Monash was the only substantial centre for science education research in Australia. The notion that Monash would be responsible for every second ASERA was part of the ‘gentle coercing’ that had the Macquarie organizers agree to host the second conference, and is why the third conference was held at a very different form of venue – a secondary science curriculum project headquarters in Melbourne. Such was the very rapid growth of Australian science education research and a strong association that this perspective only lasted until ASERA 5.

Attendees of the first ASERA conference