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Mark Bishop Personal/Professional Page



Research (and Teaching) Interests:

  • Geomorphometry and the application of geographic technologies and analogue studies to the understanding of aeolian and volcanic land form.
  • The  relationship of dune fields to climate and environmental change for Earth, Mars and Titan.  


Honors and Awards

2012‐      Honorary Visiting Professor/Scholar, China

2012-15   Honorary Visting Research Fellow, University of Adelaide, Australia

2010-11   Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia

2008-11   University Supported Researcher, University of South Australia

2005         Distinction for Outstanding Performance in a Graduate Degree, Curtin University of Technology

1989         Graduate 1st Prize for Excellence in Research, Geological Society of Australia, Fourth Victorian Earthand Planetary Science Conference



Project DiG2ER (Digital Geoscience (geology, geography) Education & Research): Earth Observation & Planetary Science for Teachers - Building Capacity

Project DiG2ER is an Australian-US initiative to build capacity in primary and secondary school teachers in the area of earth observation and planetary science, and to increase the uptake of students engaging in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, particularly those relating to the earth and space strand. 

The field of planetary science has traditionally involved astronomy (mathematics, physics) and earth science (geology, chemistry, biology).  In recent times Earth Observation (EO) and planetary science have grown to include information and communication technologies (ICT), physical geography, and climate science.  This diversity of knowledge and skill-sets has resulted in cutting-edge innovations, a better understanding of Earth as a planet, the issues of society and environment, and a basis for developing a sustainable human landscape.  Planetary science is also a cornerstone for scientific inspiration, exploration, and discovery about the origin and evolution of the solar system, the development and sustainability of life.  The primary aim of Project DiG2ER is to develop and implement a new rigorous and innovative learning program in Earth Observation (EO) and Planetary Science for the Professional Development (PD) of middle school science teachers in South Australia, with the view to increasing the uptake of students engaging in STEM subjects.  While there are several factors that influence a students decision to engage in a STEM subject, quality teaching is likely to be the most important lever for change in the short and medium term, and has the greatest impact on learning [1, 5, 10].  Accordingly, the strategy underpinning the development and implementation of this program is to facilitate the participation of students in space-related fields of study, research and eventually employment, by fostering the professional development of South Australian middle school science teachers in earth observation and planetary science.  Teachers participating in the program will develop both their space science content knowledge and confidence to teach an area of science that has been acknowledged as one that holds fascination for students, particularly in the primary/middle years. 

Capacity building of science teachers across the Middle (6-9) years is consistent with the strategic priorities of DECS, SACSA, and with the National Curriculums Standards for primary and secondary teaching in contemporary pedagogical practices in science [1, 2].  The connections are made explicit with the Australian Curriculum in three main areas: i) Strands of science understanding, Science as human endeavor and Science enquiry skills; ii) Cross curriculum perspectives, in particular sustainability, and; iii) General capabilities of numeracy, ICTs and Critical and creative thinking.  

If we are to alter the steady decline of student interest and participation in science that has occurred during the last 30 years [4], the context of science education in both primary and junior secondary schools needs to emphasise the nature of science and how it operates [5, 6].  Hence, project DiG2ER builds upon the inherent student interest of 'space' that has been reported in recent studies [7, 8, 9], and the premise that the teacher is a critical factor in determining students' interests, enjoyment and motivation to learn science [5, 10]. This proposed PD Learning Program would be developed - under the guidance of the Project DiG2ER Reference Group - through a joint US-Australian effort, and under the auspices of the Department of Education and Childrens Services in South Australia (DECS), the University of Adelaide and the NASA-funded Planetary Sciences Institute (PSI) in Arizona.  The Learning Program and resources of PSIs WISER Project (Workshops in Science Education and Resources) - which was recently funded by NASA to be developed and implemented across schools in Southern Arizona - will be utilized to develop a suite of resources with relevance to SA schools.  The Intellectual Property provided by PSI has a value of approximately US $750,000.  In return, PSI will have access to the Australian examples and materials that are developed during the course of the Australian Learning program, for use in their WISER program.


1. Panizzon D & Westwell M (2009) Engaging Science and Mathematics Education – A five year strategy for South Australia. Report to Premier’s Science and Research Council.

2. Lomax-Smith J (2009) Skills push in SA Primary Schools. Press Release retrieved 26th March 2011.

3. Analogues @ Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas.

4. Ainley, J., J. Kos, and M. Nicholas. (2008). Participation in Science, Mathematics and Technology in Australian Education. ACER Research Monograph No. 63.

5. Ferguson, J., Oliver, C., Walter, M. (2009) Future space scientists: will Australian be ready for lift-off? Proceedings of the 9th Australian Space Science Conference.

6. Tytler, R. (2007) Re-imagining Science Education: Engaging students in science for Australia's future. Australian Education review, 2007, Australian Council for Educational Research: Camberwell, Victoria.

7. Jenkins, EW., Nelson, NW. (2005) Important but not for me: students' attitudes towards secondary school science in England. Research in Science and Technological Education, 23 (1).

8. Maltese, AV., Tai, RH. (2009) Eyeballs in the Fridge: Sources of early interest in science. International Journal of Science Education.

9. Thurgood, L., M. Golladay, and S. Hill, 2006. US Doctorates in the 20th Century, in National Science Foundation Special Report, N.S. Foundation, Editor.

10. Goodrum, D., Rennie, L. (2007) Australian School Science Education National Action Plan 2008-2012, Volume 1. A report prepared for the Department of Education, Science and Training.

11. Department of Accountability and Research Tucson District Statistics (October 2011).


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