SiMERR is developing strong links with the three teacher professional organisations working in SiMERR's key areas of interest, that is:
- Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE)
- Australia Science Teachers' Association (ASTA)
- Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT)
A Memorandum of Understanding that commits the partners to collaborative activities, sharing of research data, and the promotion and support of each others' work, has been signed with each Association. Under these MOUs, SiMERR is funding teacher professional development projects for rural and remote teachers during 2006 and 2007.
Each Association has developed a professional development project that focuses on current needs and interests in their discipline. Programs will be conducted in each state, with state-level associations providing resources to support delivery and follow-up of the activities.
The three teacher association projects will, amongst other things, seek to re-invigorate teacher membership in rural and remote areas. Strengthening of the associations in these locations will increase professional development opportunities for teachers. It will also reinforce valuable informal support networks that facilitate the sharing of ideas and resurces, reducing the destructive professional isolation felt by many teachers.
SiMERR Hub members will support these activities where appropriate, further strengthening their links with the Associations and with practicing teachers.
SiMERR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australian Science Innovations (ASI) in 2005. The two organisations have agreed to collaborate on projects of joint interest and to promote and support each others' work.
SiMERR is funding Australian Science Innovations to create aprofessional development package which will support teachers to integrate information and communication technology into lessons. This will be built around RTBSO Junior, a freely available student-centred investigation of science in an e-learning environment, which was released in February 2006. RTBSO Junior provides interactions and animations which encapsulate interactive questions. It also links to external online resources which provide extended activities for the classroom, laboratory or home. Teachers can assume the role of facilitator of learning. The accessibility and flexibility of the new online package will allow all teachers to complete their professional development at any time, and in any location.