A wide range of materials, including more than 700 online resources were provided by private and public Australian organisations, as well as government departments. This collection now offers a single point of access for teachers and students from pre-school through to secondary school.
Funded through the Australian Government’s $12.9 billion water reform initiative, Water for the Future, and hosted by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, the website is designed to support the curriculum of each State and Territory.
With water not generally specified in the curricula, key concepts and themes were used to connect the online water resources to required learning objectives, according to project leader Will Kershaw from the Working Group for Cleaner Production (WGCP), in the Faculty of Science at UQ.
“Our brief was to make it easy for all Australian pre-school, primary and secondary teachers to access online water education resources from across Australia and incorporate these into their lesson plans,” said Mr Kershaw.
“We created a website on which the materials can be linked by key themes and concepts to the learning objectives for any curriculum, school level and subject. This has given teachers the freedom and flexibility to adapt a growing body of water-education resources to meet their specific needs,” he said.
Mr Kershaw and his colleagues at the WGCP collaborated with UQ researchers from the School of Education and the Centre for Biological Information Technology to source and identify the best resources, review the curricula and develop the website.
Working with UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest, the group was chosen over 19 other tender applicants for the government project.
The unusual combination of a large environmental group with a history in water and environmental education, along with IT and education experts, made the group highly attractive, according to UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson.
“This is a key example of how UQ, through UniQuest, can facilitate a multi-disciplinary consulting team as well as the willingness of UQ researchers to combine their collective expertise to meet a client’s unique needs,” he said.
Working closely with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, the website was successfully launched on 1 February 2010. The website can be viewed at www.environment.gov.au/wet
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.
UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 0 409767199
Working Group for Cleaner Production (WGCP)
Established in 1996, WGCP assists and educates industry on implementing eco-efficiency measures. (Eco-efficiency combines environmental improvement with cost reduction to maintain competitiveness, while becoming more sustainable and adapting to the pressures of a carbon constrained economy.) The group has a very strong background in water as well as environmental education. It is located within the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, Faculty of Science, at The University of Queensland.
P: + 61 7 3365 1545
M: 0430 001 084