Digital science magazine helps teachers engage students around world

By / 15th of May, 2014

WHEN the University of Adelaide released its first issue of e-Science in May 2012 executive Dean Professor Bob Hill couldn’t possibly foresee how quickly it would become a hit.

Based on an inventive curriculum change by South Australian teachers three years ago, the magazine has encouraged practical and relevant science learning in the classroom, earning it national and international attention.

The quarterly digital magazine won an award at last year’s South Australian Interactive Media Excellence awards and became a finalist for two other awards.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences Professor Bob Hill said the impact e-Science has had on university science schools is evident from the praise it regularly receives.

“I have been invited to speak at many interstate meetings about our innovative agenda,

 “We have had a very positive impact on decisions made in other Universities”, Professor Hill said.

In 2013 Apple acknowledged the positive teaching agenda e-Science has and highlighted this in a ‘real stories’ article on their website.

In Apple’s Newsstand e-Science still ranks number four for free science titles in Australia while some countries rank it number one.

Editor of e-Science Dr Kelly Banwell said the magazine will encourage students to pursue careers in science – a field which is declining in interest.

“I like to envisage a situation where the teacher might be referring to the text on an iPad, while the students undertake one of the supplied activities on the classroom PC,”

“It could really make a difference to how people, including teachers and their students, see science,” Dr Banwell said.

e-Science has been steadily growing in viewers, with the magazine showing up in places the University of Adelaide never imagined reaching.

“I’m always surprised by the number of different countries from which we receive emails and that appear in our usage data,” said Dr Banwell. “There are obviously some keen e-Science supporters in Mauritania – we’re regularly number one on their App Store Newsstand.”

Thirty five per cent of e-Science users originate in Australia, while the United States holds the second largest readership at 19 per cent and China counts for 13 per cent. India is another market.

The magazine has seen steady growth since its beginning, with the number of unique downloads at 74,143.

When the latest issue was released last week this figure jumped by almost 5000 viewers to 78,592 unique downloads.