Episode Sixty-Six – On SwanCon 2011 – Interview With Sean Williams And SciFi Meets Education
SwanCon is a science fiction convention held in Perth, Western Australia. It is Australia’s longest running science fiction convention, and probably the longest running in the southern hemisphere.
Resources from the EduStream feature at: http://fablecroft.com.au/swancon-edustream
Questions about the relevance of Science Fiction and Fantasy to education is not unheard of – there’s a great number of discussions going on all the time about what is suitable and what helps promote a greater understanding of both fact and fiction. Will young people be confused? Will enjoying Science Fiction and /or Fantasy lead to a poor understanding of not only Science, but other subjects? Do teachers have to be anti-fantasy in order to deliver content about the real world?
As a life-long fan of Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, films with special effects and everything that will guarantee a good read – this educator is not alone when it comes to supporting the sometimes-maligned genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy!
This is the second time that SwanCon has featured on the Token Skeptic podcast; last year I interviewed Scott Sigler (Episode #14 – On Science Fiction and Skepticism: Interview With Scott Sigler).
This year I interviewed Sean Williams – he’s a number one New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and has published thirty novels for readers of all ages, seventy short stories across numerous genres and the odd poem. He and Garth Nix recently announced the publication of a five-book fantasy Young Adult Adventure series Troubletwisters. He’s won a number of writing awards and recieved a nomination for the prestigious Philip K. Dick award for Saturn Returns.
In addition to that interview, you’ll be hearing from Bevan McGuinness, a teacher of upper-school Science at Wesley College in Perth, who presented on ‘Mad Scientists: Using The Science In Science Fiction In The Classroom’ with Peter Van DerKwast of Kolbe Catholic College. It was a fascinating, insightful and very fun presentation that proposed that even ‘Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus‘ can be used to teach Physics!
I also spoke to the Track Director of the SwanCon Edustream, librarian Tehani Wessely, about the collective efforts of the convention to encourage everyone to see the value of Science Fiction and Fantasy within education, not just the teachers and parents. Many thanks to all the presenters for their great content and I look forward to seeing what 2012 has to offer.
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