NEW ZEALAND
TARANAKI

Directors Profile

Christine Fenton Ph.D, M.Sc.

Michael Fenton M.Sc., Dip.Tchg

BACKGROUND SUMMARY

Christine and Michael Fenton encourage students of all ages to develop a passion for learning and problem solving. They set up and managed the Nexus Research Group voluntarily, donating their time and expertise over many years, on top of work and family commitments. They have a wealth of teaching and research experience to draw upon, becoming known for their innovative approach in science & technology education and their experience with alternatives for educating gifted children.

The start of Nexus: In 1994 Michael and Christine left the Tertiary sector and Massey University and Michael began to teach at High School in 1995. Realising that they possessed a number of skills they wanted to pass on, they founded the Nexus Research Group (NRG) in 1997. The NRG was a non-profit educational and research facility, the only High School based research organisation in New Zealand run by Christine and Michael on a voluntary basis in their "spare" time.This unique approach to education uses the principles of 'authentic learning' and provided students of all ages to make original discoveries. NRG associates and advisers have included some of the worlds leading authorities in their field, university professors from around the world, and various government and industrial advisers. The NRG reported its findings at conferences, in journals and on its website ( http:// www.nexusresearchgroup.com ).

They are proud and honoured to have been associated with Dr Sir William Pickering, former head of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and widely recognised as responsible for America's success in exploring the planets, as patron of the Nexus Research Group.

ADVISORS ON SCIENCE

In 2000 Michael attended the SciCon 2000 conference and presented a paper exploring how students and scientists can become real partners in research. Michael and Christine continue to be advocates for scientist, teacher, student and community partnerships. As part of their mission to encourage young scientists Michael and Christine have begun assisting Primary schools with the organisation and judging of mini-science fairs and pre-selection of entries for the Taranaki regional Fair.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • New Zealand Microbiological Society
  • Post Primary Teachers Association
  • Royal Society of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers

AWARDS

Michael Fenton:

  • New Zealand Ministry of Education E-Learning Fellow (2008)
  • Microsoft New Zealand Partners in Learning Innovative Teacher (2008)
  • New Zealand INTERFACE magazine 'Best use of ICT in teaching' finalist (2008)
  • Daily News The Wow! Factor "Mad Scientist of the Year" (2007)

Dr Christine Fenton:

  • Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki Research Leadership Award (2009)
  • Waikato Doctoral Scholar (2008, 2009, 2010)

BOOKS / CD-ROMS / SOFTWARE RESOURCES

Nexus Research Group website, M and C.D. Fenton, © 1998-2010. www.nexusresearchgroup.com

Physics Interactive CD-ROM, World Interactive Software, distributed by Roadshow Entertainment (NZ) Ltd.

GeneE: DNA Fingerprinting and DNA gene sequencing simulator.

RIGEL: Real world interactive games and electronic interface.

MATRIX: Multimedia capable database.

GraphX: Interactive graphing tool

Interactive whiteboard (IWB) or SMARTboard ready programmes made by Michael...

PRESENTATIONS / WORKSHOPS

Fenton, C. 2011. Waikato Doctoral Scholar Christine Fenton Education blog

Fenton, M. 2011. Understanding Achievement Based Assessment and SOLO taxonomy. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki.  June 8.

Fenton, M. 2011. Primary Science Teacher Fellowship Royal Society, Auckland.

Fenton, C.D., and Fenton, M. 2010. Secondary school teachers microbiology workshop - New Zealand Microbiology Society conference, Auckland University, November 30.

Winter, M., Anderson, D., Fenton, M. and Glasson, B. 2010. Supporting the Primary Science Teacher Fellows - Transforming Primary Science. SciCon 2010 conference, Nelson, July.

Fenton, M. 2010. Primary Science Teacher Fellowship Royal Society, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch.

Fenton, M.. 2009. Swine Flu in New Zealand Inglewood High School, April 31.

Fenton, M. 2009. Diving in to Differentiated Learning Inglewood High School, March 30.

Fenton, M. 2009. Tips and traps for ICT and eLearning - trends from ULearn08. Inglewood High School, March 12.

Fenton, M. 2008. I don't use technology; does that make me a bad teacher? Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) Research Forum workshop, November.

Fenton, M. 2008. Interactive eLearning tools for Mathematics, Science and Robotics: The RIGEL project. ULearn08 conference, Christchurch Convention Centre, October 7-10.

Fenton, M. 2008. ICT and 21st Century Learning. Inglewood High School.

Fenton, M. 2008. Authentic learning using the RIGEL data logger and sensor system. Bell Block Primary School.

Fenton, M. 2007. Interactive ICT tools for Mathematics. Inglewood High School.

Fenton, C., and Fenton, M. 2005. The Science Big Day Out. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) and the Taranaki Science Fair

Fenton, C.D. 2005. Avian Flu. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. New Plymouth.

Fenton, M. 2005. Making sense of NCEA. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. New Plymouth.

Fenton, M. 2005. Robots big and small. Bell Block Primary School.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2005. Genetic Modification: Is New Zealand Swimming Against the Tide? University of the 3rd Age and Merrilands Ladies Probus Club. New Plymouth.

Fenton, M. 2004. Using the Knowledge Network. Taranet cluster.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2004. Understanding the difference betwen qualitative and quantitative research methods. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. 2004. What are Microbes? Public Address. Tui Ora Infection Committee. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. 2004. Safe Food Handling and Preparation. Maru Wehi Hauora. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. 2004. Keeping a Culture Collection. Workshop Training. Science Teaching Technicians. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2004. How did Ancient Cultures Engage in Science? Science Teacher Workshop. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2004. How to Motivate Science Students. Science Teacher Workshop. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2004. Genetic Modification: Do the Risks Outweigh the Benefits? Vital Issues Forum. New Plymouth.

Fenton, M. 2004. Virtual Communities via Broadband Networks. Guest presenter. Project PROBE Launch. Ministry of Education. Stratford.

Fenton, M. 2004. Artificial Intelligence and Computing. Future Problem Solvers. New Plymouth Boys' High School. New Plymouth.

Fenton, M. 2004. Nanotechnology and Information Processing. Future Problem Solvers. New Plymouth Boys' High School. New Plymouth.

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2002. Crime Scene Investigation 3-day workshop

Fenton, C.D. and Fenton, M. 2001.Teaching under the Microscope (NZMS conference)

Rabbit Calivirus Media Wars

Evolution - Fact or Fiction?

Science & Religion; Much Ado about Nothing

Crime Scene Investigation 3-day workshop

e-Learning Seminar/Discussion. Getting staff to share a similar vision and finding where they fit in...

Fun with Science and Technology. Schools welcome a visit from a Dalek...

CITATIONS / NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

2009 North Taranaki Midweek, June 24. Robots test skills;

2009 Taranaki Culture: fresh out of the box. Edited by Susette Goldsmith. Published by Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

2009 Daily News, 8 June. "WITT work in gallery spotlight"

2009 Game Maker Technology Magazine Issue 16, June. "Game Maker in Schools"

2009 North Taranaki Midweek, May 20. School radio station a tool for learning

2009 Daily News, 6 May. "High school teachers bound for Asia"

2009 New Zealand Doctor, April 22. "Official HPV DVD gets 'not achieved'

2009 North and South, March. Making school work

2009 Daily News, February 18. School science gains an F

2008 The Press, Christchurch, November 29. Papers: must try harder

2008 Stratford Press, October 29. Finding the missing link

2008 EDUVAC Education Weekly, October 20. Award for Inglewood innovator

2008 North Taranaki Midweek, October 15. Innovation has its rewards for teacher

2008 Daily News, October 16. Invention one out of the box

2008 Daily News, April 30. Shining a light on the future

2007 Daily News, December 26. The Wow! Factor "Mad Scientist of the Year"

2007 Ministry of Education Press Release, October 10 Innovative teachers to explore new technology horizons

2007 Daily News, June 4 "Teacher's invention makes a lot of sensor" - RIGEL system main feature in the Breakthroughs section

2007 Daily News, June 4 "Science-fiction fuelled Dad" - other things Michael makes for his children

2005 Daily News, November 2 "Avian flu action plans outlined"

2005 Daily News, October 1 "Special projects keep girls at school " - using WITT science facilities for gifted children.

2005 Daily News, August 27 "Career search quite a science" - using WITT science facilities for NCEA practical work.

2005 Daily News, August 18 "Timeless Robot" - Bell Block School pupils get a visit from a Dalek!

2005 Daily News, June 4 "Robots inspiring young engineers" - Mike's Cybot as example of cross discipline co-operation to run novel courses for school students.

2004 Daily News, December 15 "WITT scores lab testing deal" using WITT science facilities for work of natioanl significance to the dairy industry.

2004 Daily News, August 20 "Dissection just one tasks for studenmts" - using WITT science facilities for STAR practical work.

2003 Daily News, December 19 "Jamie aims higher than the lab bench" - 10 year old Jamie graduates from the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. She also receives the Science Departments award for consistent high standards.

2003 The North Taranaki Midweek, November 5. "Website of wonders"

2003 Daily News, October 7. "Smiling Scientist" - 10 year old Jamie passes 12 Tertiary level papers studying part-time over two years.

2003 Daily News, August 13. "Laser Wars shines at Science Fair" - featuring the innovative Laser Wars combat game

2003 Kiwi in Taranaki CDROM and booklet. May. Taranaki Kiwi Trust

2002 Daily News December 12 CSI course - "Gore galore in latest WITT course". Christine and Michael run Taranaki's first Crime scence Investigation course with police co-operation and input from the New Plymouth CIB.

2002 Daily News November 22  Jamie Fenton at WITT - "Jamie (9) needs to take an education fast-track"

2002 Daily News August 27 "Nexus puts Taranaki students on course"

2002 About Kids. Issue 9 March/April. "Gifted children"

2002 Daily News January 22 Jamie Fenton passes School Certificate Science

2001 Daily News November 22 Jamie Fenton "Jamie proves she's a cert for bright future"

2001 TKI website (Min of Ed), 'gifted children' Section

2000 Educational / Key resource awards for the Nexus Research Group website.

2000 The School Daily magazine, June

1999 Eduvac, The Education Weekly, December. "Scientists impressed by New Plymouth school research"

1999 Otago Daily News, November 26. "Schoolboy scientist impresses meeting" - Jared Broad, 14, is the youngest researcher at an international Microbiology Society conference held at Otago University.

1999 Daily News, November 26. "Bug study earns accolades"

1999 The North Taranaki Midweeker, August 12. "Nexus Research Group"

1998 Daily News, September 9. "Lunch-time scientists too busy for tuck shop"

1991 New Zealand Microbiological Society award for best oral presentation of a scientific paper at the Wellington Annual Conference.

PUBLICATIONS / PAPERS PRESENTED

Winter, M., Anderson, D., Fenton, M. and Glasson, B. 2010. Supporting the Primary Science Teacher Fellows - Transforming Primary Science. SciCon 2010 conference, Nelson, July.

Fenton, M. 2010. New Zealand INTERFACE, 22, March. Getting digital and dirty in maths and science

Fenton, M. 2009. RIGEL - Learning from Life: Communities of learning via a connected curriculum. Microsoft Partners in Learning Regional Innovative Teachers conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 26th -29th.

Fenton, M. 2009. Ministry of Health vaccine DVD gets a Not Achieved - cause of concern for 2009 NCEA science exam.

Fenton, M. 2009. Did the Ministry of Health and schools share data in breach of the Privacy Act? Opinion column.

Fenton, M. 2009. New Zealand INTERFACE, Vol 19, No.761. Teaching and the F-word.

Fenton, C. 2009. Waikato Doctoral Scholar Christine Fenton Education blog

Fenton, M. 2008. Authentic learning using mobile sensor technology with reflections on the state of science education in New Zealand 2008 eLearning research report:

Fenton, M. 2008. Pedagogy and student involvement. In Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Generation (EnviroPower) Pilot - Completion Report. Venture Taranaki Trust.

Fenton, M. 2008. Understanding versus Knowledge…the new role of ICT and eLearning Opinion column.

Fenton, M. 2007. Interactive ICT tools for Mathematics, Science and Robotics - getting the most from Game Maker. New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers conference at St Cuthberts, September 25th - 28th.

Fenton, M. 2007. Eduvac, The Education Weekly, Vol 18, No.709. "Innovative ICT black box"

Fenton, C.D. 2007. The NZ Science Teachers Journal. (Term 2, Number 115). Microbiology Misconceptions in Secondary School Science.

Fenton, C.D. 2007. New Zealand BioScience. (Vol16, No.2). What are we teaching?

Fenton, C.D. 2006. New Zealand BioScience. (Vol15, No.3). Education - The Scholastic Era.

Fenton, C.D. 2006. New Zealand BioScience. (Vol15, No.1). Education - A Collective Responsibility.

Fenton, C.D. 2004. Convenor. Report of Special Education Interest Group to the New Zealand Microbiological Society Annual General Meeting. NZMS Special Interest Group in Education. Microbes Outside the Square Conference. Palmerston North.

Fenton, C.D. 2004. Assessment of Practical Skills in Tertiary Science. New Zealand Microbiology Society Conference. Palmerston North.

Fenton, M and Fenton, C.D. 2004. The NZ Science Teachers Journal. (Term 1, Number 105). Bill Pickering, rocket scientist.

Fenton, M and Fenton, C.D. 2003. The NZ Science Teachers Journal. (Term 3, Number 103). DNA and Genetic Engineering

Fenton, C.D. 2002. New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE) Science Teachers Journal, Term Two) Teaching Under the Microscope.

Broad, J., and Fenton, M. 2001 Education under the Microscope. Proceedings of the New Zealand Microbiological Society Wellington, New Zealand.

Fenton, C.D., Fenton, M., Raynes, A.. 2001. Microbiology Misconceptions in Secondary Schools. New Zealand Microbiological Society conference in Wellington, November 18th - 21st

  • The Royal Society expressed particular interest in the last paper above, presenting our findings to the Ministry of Education.

Fenton, C.D. 2000. Highlights of the Nexus Research Group. The Good Teacher, Term One

Fenton, M., Fenton C.D. 2000. The Nexus Research Group - learning is a challenge not a chore. Presented at Scicon 2000 June 7-11 Massey University.

Fenton, M. Fenton, C.D., Stewart, K. 1999. The Isolation and Characterisation of Caulobacter species in New Zealand Waterways. New Zealand Microbiological Society conference at Otago University, November 23rd - 26th

Broad, J., Fenton, C.D., Fenton, M. 1999. Light Photomicroscopy Using an Internet Webcam Digital Camera. New Zealand Microbiological Society conference at Otago University, November 23rd - 26th

Fenton, C.D. 1999. The NZ Science Teachers Journal. (Term 1).NEXUS.

Fenton, C.D. 1999. The Nexus Research Group. The Good Teacher, Term Two

Fenton, C.D. October 30 1996. Playcentre has much to offer all ages. Ruapehu Press, Taumarunui.

Brown,T.J., Kelly,P.J., Ionas, G., Clarke, J.M., Fenton, M., Pickering, M. 1994. Giardia and Giardiasis in New Zealand.  In Thompson,Reynoldson & Lymbery, (eds). Giardia: From Molecules to Disease. p124-125.

Fenton, M. 1994. The Expression in Soil Bacteria of the Symbiotic Genes from Rhizobium leguminosarum Biovar trifolii. M.Sc. thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Fenton, C. D. 1994. The Isolation and Characterisation of Caulobacter from Manawatu Water Systems. M.Sc. thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Jarvis, B.D.W., and Fenton, M.1994. Expression of the Symbiotic Plasmid From Rhizobium leguminosarum Biovar trifolii in Sphingobacterium multivorum. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 40:873-879

Jarvis, B.D.W., and Tighe, S.W.1994.Rapid Identification of Rhizobium Species Based on Cellular Fatty Acid Analysis.  Plant and Soil

Rao, J.R., Fenton, M., and Jarvis B.D.W. 1994. Symbiotic Plasmid Transfer in  Rhizobium leguminosarum Biovar trifolii and Competition Between the Inoculant Strain ICMP2163 and Transconjugant Soil Bacteria. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 26:339-351.

Fenton, C.D. August 26, 1991. Spectacular Success…and Sorrow Too. New Zealand's Woman's Weekly.

Fenton, M., and Jarvis, B.D.W. 1991. Plasmid Transfer in Soil / Plant Environments. New Zealand Microbiological Society newsletter, August

 

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