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October 2020
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CATALYST 2020 BC Science Teachers Conference

This Friday, I was invited to take part in the BC Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference, called Catalyst. This is an annual gathering of science teachers from all across British Columbia. Usually, most of the teachers come from the Lower Mainland as the conference often happens here. However, this year it was an online conference and the results were astounding!

This year the conference was organized online for the first time in its history (at least, this is what I know) and the result was very surprising. At least, I didn’t expect the participation to increase at least twice as compared to the previous years. I was also very pleased to see so many new teachers and teacher-candidates attending the event. I also didn’t expect the conference to attract this level of participants and of presenters. For example, BC Association of Physics Teachers has lead one of the conference tracks. In it, we had a presentation by Katie Mack – a theoretical cosmologist and Assistant Professor at Carolina State University. The level of her presentation was unbelievable. We had almost 200 people participating in it and the questions were coming from the floor at a higher rate than what you would expect in a regular event.

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Then we had a very engaging presentation by the Perimeter Institute Outreach Team. Towards the end of the day we also had a presentation by outstanding BC physics teachers who shared their experiences (both good and bad) of teaching physics.

It was a very productive and exciting day. I hope that it opened new opportunities for us to reach out to teachers all across the province and even far beyond. Teaching science has no borders, so why our professional development should? I am very excited by this day and I am very proud of the engagement of our science teachers. Most importantly, I am very grateful to John Munro – the president of the BC Science Teachers’ Association, who mobilized science teachers and took this challenge as an opportunity to reconsider how we run our professional development. Maybe we should have a more flexible – blended Pro-D approach – both online and face-to-face event. Thank you BC Science Teachers’ Association (https://bcscta.com/bcscta-executive/ ) for making the step in the right direction! I also wanted to thank the Executive Board of the BC Association of Physics Teachers (www.bcapt.ca) for pulling together such a fantastic collection of talks. Well done!

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