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Dr Stuart Kohlhagen, one of Australia’s foremost public scientists, will discuss how education is changing to develop people suited for the new economies and societies we are moving into. Drawing on his background in research into education and brain science, Kohlhagen will detail our new understanding of how learning and skills development takes place, and how this is creating innovation in education approaches.
About Australian Consulate-General:
The Australian Consulate-General in Chennai was formally opened on 15th April 2015 by Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP. The Consulate-General focuses on strengthening bilateral relations between India and Australia through political, economic and cultural work in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala as well as the Union Territories of Puducherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Dr Kohlhagen has been actively involved in informal science and mathematics education and promotion for over 40 years. He was part of the team that founded Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, in 1979. He was its first exhibit designer, and during his 30 years of service with Questacon held the roles of exhibition manager, manager of master planning, and Deputy director. In addition to leading and supporting the development of new education and outreach programs, Dr Kohlhagen also led Questacon’s participation in various research projects into the science of Learning, as well as the role of informal approaches within the formal education system.
He has received awards for a number of his inventions, received prizes for Science As Art from HRH Prince Charles, and been awarded Iron Science Teacher by the Exploratorium, the only non-US citizen to receive the honour. In 2000 he was awarded the honour of the Public Service Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours for his contribution to informal education.
Since taking early retirement from Questacon at the end of 2017, Dr Kohlhagen has been working as the Science Nomad. This project sees him working with teachers, universities of education, science museums and science centres across the world, promoting approaches to learning in formal school settings, and exhibit design that foster 21st century skills. Curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving and resilience are the key skills he seeks to support. These approaches combine the latest understandings from the science of learning with the most basic of materials to draw learners into deeper understandings of principles, and develop lifelong skills in self education. As part of this work, Dr Kohlhagen has worked in over 20 countries.