Global minds meet to improve education in the bush

Published 16 January 2009

Keynote speakers from around the world will attend the four day event, which offers an international forum for sharing research findings, innovative ideas and evaluated approaches to boost education in the bush.

˜International data confirm that for many countries the learning achievements of students in rural areas are often significantly lower than those achieved by peers in metropolitan areas. The aim of the International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education (ISFIRE) is to bring together people from around the world who want to help teachers and students in rural, regional and remote locations', explained ISFIRE convenor, Dr Chris Reading.

ISFIRE is organised around six themes, including: promoting rural policy initiatives; nurturing the rural teacher experience; and addressing special issues in rural education. ISFIRE is a joint initiative between the National Centre for Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR Australia) at the University of New England and NURI-Teacher Education Innovation Centre at the Kongju National University (South Korea).

˜It is not too late to register to attend. ISFIRE is not just important for teachers, educators and researchers but also for those who work in educational roles in government and private sectors. The symposium provides an exciting opportunity for professional conversation said Dr Reading. ˜Keynote speakers from South Korea, Norway, Canada, the United States of America and Australia are taking part. We are hoping to build on successful innovations which have already been trialled and discuss ways to tailor these ideas so they can be implemented around the world', said Dr Reading.

Over the four days (February 11- 14) fifteen different sessions will take place. Each session will consist of three presentations. After each session participants will discuss how the initiatives could be implemented in their own countries.

As part of the conference, participants will also have the chance to experience a taste of Armidale. Tours of Saumarez Homestead and McCrossin's Mill Museum have been organised, along with visits to New England Regional Art Museum and Petersons Wines.

In 2011 the second ISFIRE symposium will be held in South Korea. It is hoped the symposium will become a biennial event hosted in different countries.