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News > School News > BGS Hosts HMC Chemistry Conference

BGS Hosts HMC Chemistry Conference

On 23rd November, Bury Grammar School proudly hosted the Heads' Conference (HMC) for Chemistry in the Northwest.

This event brought together Heads of Chemistry from independent schools across the region, creating a platform for the exchange of ideas, collaboration, and new developments in this field.

Our day began with an enlightening presentation by Dr Katayune Presland, from the Royal Society of Chemistry who spoke on the topic of “using Cognitive Science in the Science Classroom”. Drawing on peer-reviewed research from the Education Endowment Fund, the session delved into the nuances of memory, exploring how pupils learn most effectively. Concepts such as schemas, interleaving, spaced learning, retrieval, and cognitive load reduction were thoroughly discussed, and we considered a variety of potential teaching resources that could be used in the classroom. For example, we saw how regularly revisiting ideas can lead to significant improvement in pupils understanding and recall and examined the evidence as to how best space this out. During the discussions, it was clear that we had gleaned new ideas and activities to take away and use in the classroom, to the benefit of their pupils. 

The afternoon brought our second speaker, Mark Anderson, the ICT Evangelist, who spoke of the potential applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in teaching Chemistry. In a thought-provoking presentation, Mark challenged the common perception of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. Rather than viewing AI as a potential hindrance, he showcased its benefits for educators. From swiftly creating resources based on journal articles and exam specifications to efficiently planning a bespoke Scheme of Work, Mark highlighted the time-saving potential of AI. Of particular interest was the prospect of AI-powered interactive tutors. Teachers could train AI on specific topics, allowing students to access these intelligent tutors for personalised learning experiences. The interactive tutors could explain challenging concepts, quiz students on specific topics, and provide a level of engagement akin to private tuition, potentially leading to elevated academic achievement. 

Overall, this was a very positive day with everyone leaving enthused and eager to try out new ideas in their classroom, and we look forward to our continued collaboration and the pursuit of excellence in Chemistry at BGS!

Special thanks to our guest speakers and to Mr Halstead, Head of Chemistry at Bury Grammar School, for this article.


 

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