The Vision

It’s no secret that there is a STEM crisis, as both the number of science teachers with science degrees and the number of students choosing science is in decline.

In the Smart Science Initiative project, we’re developing intelligent courseware for year 9 and 10 (13-16 year olds) – a key stage in science education, as it precedes the biggest drop off in high school science enrolments.

The intelligent courseware contains adaptive and personalised learning experiences in science, with the purpose of helping to:

(a) build scientific literacy and skills in Australia;

(b) promote choosing science beyond Year 10 to create an unbroken pathway to tertiary studies;

(c) develop new learning assets for digitally-connected students, equally accessible to all students regardless of geographic isolation or socio-economic status; and

(d) provide new insights into how today’s students learn.

The experiences are centred around four exciting and active research areas: astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life; infectious disease and antibiotic resistance; our changing planet; and nanotechnology.

Funded by the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program, the Smart Science Initiative project began on September 1, 2013 and finished October 31, 2014. The learning experiences and evaluation were made available to any teacher interested in using them.

The project is a collaboration between the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Australia, Flinders University and Smart Sparrow. Arizona State University is an advisor on the project.

Contact us to find out how you can teach using this intelligent courseware.


How much does it cost?

The content developed during the Smart Science Initiative will be free for all science teachers in Australia to use with their classes until 2017.

How long does it take?

It differs between each course and student ability level, but they typically take 3 to 4 lessons to complete, or a couple of hours of student time.

Will this work on iPads?

Yes, the content has been designed with the iPad in mind and trialled in schools using iPads. The content is accessed through any modern browser, so it can work on almost any device.

We recommend not using it with iPad 1, due to the slow performance of the device.

Can I assign this as homework, or does it have to be done in class?

You can deliver these courses completely online as homework or in class. There are points during the course that can be used to starts class discussions, experiments or independent research projects. But it is also completely self-contained if that isn’t how you want to teach with it.

Will this work at my school?

We have minimum system requirements. Your school needs to be operating modern browsers, and should have a reasonable network.

There are also 6 URLs that you should check with your IT manager to make sure they are not blocked at your school.

To check whether your students’ devices meet the minimum system requirements, please ask your students to browse to

Is it mapped to the curriculum?

These courses were built to meet the Australian Curriculum for year 9 and year 10 science students.


If you are interested in teaching with any of the content you’ve seen on the site, please fill in your details below and we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

Thanks for your interest. We will be in contact with you soon.