The Science Learning Centres network has been up and running now for over a year. The most recent to open was the National Centre in York, in November 2005.
So far the centres have received fantastic feedback from teachers and technicians. For example, after one course for teachers and technicians new to the teaching of AS and A-level biology, one teacher wrote: "I was attracted to the course because I teach the AS level on my own. None of the other teachers can help me with the practical work. So as soon as I saw this course I thought 'Fantastic, get down there, do the course and go back and tell them how it's done'. We have a big department at school so we tend to do the same practicals over and over again. I wanted to get a different insight and bring some different perspectives to it.
"I thought the day itself was brilliant. I'm particularly impressed with this respirometer because we don't use it and I never thought of actually doing it - it's so simple and you can take actual measurements instead of sitting there with a funnel over the top of your aquatic plant counting bubbles, which can be very frustrating. I've really enjoyed it. I now know how to run an accurate respirometer and it'll be the first thing I'll be doing next year.
"The experiments we've done have been successful, and that's what students want. They want experiments that work or they lose interest quickly. I'll definitely be coming to more Science Learning Centre courses and will persuade other staff to attend."
To find out more about what's happening in your Science Learning Centre during the ASE Annual Conference, visit stand C1, or join the lunchtime reception on January 7, in Bar3sixty between 12noon and 2pm.