Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
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Organising practice exams will be different this year. To help, VCAA is setting up an online platform for students to sit the 2019 exams.

Graduate Courses: In the past some Chemistry teachers have expressed interest in teaching physics.  Information is provided on two online courses that offer enhancement in a number of science areas.

Also now is the time of the year when schools are beginning to advertise positions for next year.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 9th September by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics


Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O'Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
  1.  VCAA Online Practice Exams
       2.  Graduate courses in Science and Physics Education:
  • Deakin University: Graduate Certificate in Science (Secondary Maths and Science Initiative (SMSI)
  • UNSW: Graduate Certificate in Physics for Science Teachers
       3.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
       4. Physics News from the Web 
  • Tinted solar panels allow plants to grow efficiently on 'agrivoltaic' farms
  • The power of authority: Why we need to rely on experts
  • Doomsday clock ticks closer to disaster.
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1. VCAA Online Platform for Practice Exams
Organsing practice exams is a challenge this year.  VCAA is developing a new set of resources to assist teachers to prepare their students for external assessment.

"From early September, the 2019 VCE written examinations will become progressively available on the Insight Assessment platform. The platform is a web-based application that enables assessments to be delivered to students online. Access to these examinations on the platform will assist teachers and students to identify any real or perceived gaps in learning that can then be addressed as part of their examination preparation."

"The Insight Assessment platform will support teacher access to the 2019 VCE written examinations through:

  • a clear and accessible registration process
  • a set-up process that is quick and easy
  • automated assessment of multiple-choice sections of examination papers, enabling immediate feedback
  • immediate access to student short- and extended-answer questions to provide timely, informed feedback."

VCAA is running a series of webinars for schools that haven't used the platform on i) Weds 9th Sept at 3:30pm;  ii) Thursday, 17th Sept at 4:00pm and iii) Weds 30th Sept at 10:00am.

Check here for more details and to register for a webinar.  It is unknown at the stage when the physics paper will be available on the platform. The paper will be the full 2019 paper and will contain some questions that are not part of the 2020 study design.  This webpage on our website has information about which questions on the 2019 and previous exam papers are not relevant for 2020.  Solutions to all exams are available here.

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2.  Graduate Courses in Science and Physics Education
Two courses: One for Year 7 - 10 science teachers who have come from other disciplines and another for would-be Physics teachers who have come from other disciplines

a) Deakin University: Graduate Certificate in Science - Secondary Maths and Science Initiative for Out-of-Field Teachers (SMSI)
Deakin University is providing through the Victorian Department of Education a Grad Cert in Science for out-of-field teachers teaching 7-10.  There is an equivalent for Maths.
It is being designed for both those teaching or planning to teach science 7-10, without a science background (or who feel they don’t have the background). It is fully funded by the Department and the teacher get a day time release a week.
It contains a unit on Physics (together with units in Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Sciences).
Unfortunately it looks as if it will be online in the first half of the year but Deakin University are hoping it will be face-to-face for the Physics (and Earth & Space Science) in the second half of the year, so lots of practical activities and industry experiences.
The SMSI is fully funded and participating teachers will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses. Participants from regional and rural schools will have travel, meals and accommodation reimbursed for any centrally based face to face learning days.  The offer will remain open until all places are filled.

For more details click here.

b) UNSW: Graduate Certificate in Physics for Science Teachers (online)
The program is designed for qualified science and mathematics teachers who seek a qualification to teach physics. The courses are entirely online. Each course in this program is designed to be taken sequentially at a rate of one per term, allowing teachers to continue their work as a teacher while studying. The courses cover a general introduction to physics as well as specific branches of the discipline: mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal physics and modern physics, enabling participants to be confident in their ability to teach physics, explain core concepts and present interesting contexts for applications of the science.

The closing date for next cycle is some time in November.  The course cost is $15,600. The NSW government provides scholarships for teachers. A request to SMSI (see above) to cover this course as well may be worth a try.

For more details click here.

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The Vicphysics Teachers' Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

There are nine Government schools seeking a physics teacher:
  • Balwyn High School, Bayside P-12 College, Fairhills High School, Gladstone Park Secondary College, Greater Shepparton Secondary College,  Rochester Secondary College, St Albans Secondary College,  Williamstown High School, and Woodmans Hill Secondary College (2)
This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.
4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) Tinted solar panels allow plants to grow efficiently on ‘agrivoltaic’ farms

Tinted solar panels could allow land to be used to grow crops and generate electricity simultaneously, with financial gains, according to researchers in the UK and Italy. The orange solar panels absorb some wavelengths of light, while allowing those that are best for plant growth to pass through. The team even claim that their setup can produce crops offering superior nutrition.

b) 
The power of authority: why we need to rely on experts
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined why the authority of science is so important – and how it’s so easy to lose.

c) Doomsday clock ticks closer to disaster
For almost 75 years, the Doomsday Clock has monitored how close humankind is to global catastrophe. With the clock now closer to midnight than ever before, Rachel Brazil talks to physicists who say we must step up our efforts to prevent disaster.
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