The third AusPLAT Conference was an entirely online event that had around 104 registrants from six countries. The presence of 25 upper secondary school psychology teachers was incredibly valuable and a reminder that psychology is rapidly growing as a subject in secondary schools across Australia.
The two Keynotes were from Australia and the USA. Renata Meuter (Chair of HODSPSA) captured our attention by asking “How difficult is it really to become a psychologist?” Susan Nolan (2021 President of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology) provided a fascinating array of teaching example in her talk “Go Viral: How the Pandemic Helps Us Teach Scientific Literacy in a Global Context”.
The Symposia covered some great topics, including a very internationally focused ICOPE symposium: International Perspectives on What’s Next for Psychology Education. Jacky Cranney hosted the symposium on the perennial topic: Psychological Literacy: What next? Finally, Karen Marangio forged new international ties with the International Symposium: Secondary School Psychology Engagement with Professional Associations. Susan Nolan also hosted a wide-ranging discussion about Psychology Learning and Teaching Globally: Forging Connections Among Professional Organizations with STP, ESPLAT and AusPLAT representatives.
Our Honours Workshop was a virtual exploration of the main issues facing Honours programs (and courses) across Australia. The goal was to help shape the future of Honours in psychology.
The remaining sessions covered some critical topic areas, such as: Engaging our students, Teaching Postgraduate Psychology students, Keeping tabs on Postgraduate Psychology competencies, Psychology in Secondary Schools, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Psychology Education, The Science of Learning, Life after University, and Stress at University.
Our conference consisted of viewing the pre-recorded presentations (all available from YouTube) while the presenter was actively responding in the Zoom chat area. The level of engagement was extremely high and feedback indicated that this was something that the participants really valued.
The breakout rooms were available between sessions and presenters also joined these immediately after their session to talk to anyone who had further questions (or just wanted to chat).
While we would have loved to meet face-to-face, the virtual event was a very strong indicator of the interest in the scholarship of learning and teaching in the Australian psychology education community and we look forward to connecting again (either in-person or online). The conference provided some great opportunities for future collaboration and building networks across Australia and internationally.
Thanks to the Conference organising committee: Frances Martin (Chair), Tony Machin, Jacquelyn Cranney, Tanya Machin, Karen Marangio, John Reece, Kimberley Norris, and Dawn Darlaston-Jones and a special thanks to Susan Abel for her amazing support throughout.