Teaching with SpecFic – Swancon EduStream & more

On Friday 22 April 2011, as part of Swancon Thirty Six | Natcon Fifty, we ran an education-oriented professional development stream on “The Science in Science Fiction”. We looked at how Science, English and other subjects can incorporate speculative fiction into the curriculum in a valid and valuable way.

On this page, you will find resources and recordings from the PD – if you have any great links on the topic, please let me know!


Introductory discussion “Using SF to teach English and as a tool to teach science” – Sean Williams with Tehani Wessely

“Mad Scientists: Using the science in science fiction in the classroom” – Peter van der Kwast and Bevan McGuiness

Mad Scientists 1 and Mad Scientists 2

SFF in the classroom by Alexandra Pierce

Pirates of the Caribbean Unit Year 7 (shared by Alexandra Pierce)

“Teaching the Future” (Academic paper) – Ian Nichols

“Spec Fic in the Library” – Sue Ann Barber, Amy Hightower, Emma Kate, Tehani Wessely (moderator)

This article was one of the inspirations for this panel, originally published in Access, June 2009. “Science fact in sci-fi” by Heather Voskuyl.

Another interesting article related to using science fiction in the classroom, first published in The Literature Base, May 2011 (by Michael Janssen-Gibson).

Token Skeptic interviewed participants here!

Leith Daniel shared his paper from the International English Teachers Conference with us. Titled “Bugs, Buffy and Santa’s Giant Sack: Using Speculative Fiction in the English Classroom”, it examines the use of spec fic in the English classroom.


Great article from issue #68 of COSMOS – “Putting the Science in Fiction

Julie Czernada has some fantastic resources on her website.

SCIENCE AND SCIENCE FICTION: with emphasis on Chemistry and Science Fiction by David A Katz

WAYS TO USE SCIENCE FICTION IN THE SCIENCE CLASSROOM by Connie Willis, David Katz, and Courtney Willis

Teaching Science with Science Fiction by Stuart Surrey

Yes, It Matters If The Science In Your Science Fiction Story Is Accurate” by Charlie Jane Anders

Care for Some Science in Your Science Fiction?” by R. L. Akers

Does good science fiction make good science?” by Dr Paul Willis

Helen Merrick presented at the 2012 English Teacher Association conference in Western Australia on the topic of “Teaching Speculative Fiction” – she’s generously shared her presentation and resources here.