Presentations that will be delivered online via Zoom are colour-coded
All times are Adelaide time – GMT +9:30
|Session||Time||Room 1||Room 2||Room 3||Room 4|
This qualitative investigation explores students’ interest and enjoyment derived from learning socio-scientific issues (SSI). In this study a small group of 15-year-old students (N=41) are selected and interviewed regarding personal beliefs of about three discrete ecological stimuli (textbooks, media news [MN], and framily [i.e., family and friends]) either positively or negatively affect their SSI learning interest and enjoyment. The significance of this investigation is that it opens an opportunity for students to not only examine their own perceptions about what makes learning SSI interesting and enjoyable personally, but also allows them to equally voice their perspectives on what does not make learning SSI interesting and enjoyable. Data collected from students located at three separate high schools in southern Taiwan using a one-on-one interview protocol especially designed for this study were examined to answer a single research question: Why do student perceptions of textbooks, MN, and framily affect their SSI learning interest and enjoyment? Results show greater impact of MN on students’ interest and enjoyment learning SSI, and textbooks of greater impact than family. Reasons for these results as expressed by these students, and why the findings of this investigation may be of importance to science educators, are forwarded.
|David Treagust, David Blair|
Time to Challenge the Limitations of What Science Concepts are Taught in Primary SchoolThe most consequential development in educational practice over the past 50 years is the change of focus from classrooms being teacher-centred to being student-centred. Much of this change has been supported by the work of Piaget with the stages of concrete and formal operational thinking giving rise to hands-on science curriculum in primary and lower secondary school. These levels of thinking also bring restrictions that abstract concepts should not be taught in primary school. For example, the Australian National Curriculum stipulates that the concept of atoms should only be introduced in middle school. In primary school heat is taught without mention of atoms and light is taught without mention of photons. So how are primary students expected to develop an understanding so that they can explain the phenomena to which they are engaged? Empirical evidence from research in educational psychology shows that there is considerable plasticity in young children’s capacity to understand abstract scientific ideas, especially when presented appropriately with hands-on activities and an enquiring learning environment. Our research introducing Einsteinian physics concepts to primary and lower secondary students shows that these students appreciate the atomic description of matter (atoms, electrons, photons) because it has such strong explanatory power.
|Coral Campbell, Lihua Xu, Linda Hobbs|
Research-informed frameworks to support teacher professional learning and school change in STEMWith the recent endorsement of STEM education as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda by the Australian Government, the challenge facing educators is how to meaningfully embed STEM-related knowledge, skills, and dispositions in all levels of schooling. Educators and researchers are becoming increasingly interested in investigating contexts that support students’ learning in STEM and what teaching approaches are most conducive for developing problem-solving, reasoning and design skills. Such debate and consideration of the value of STEM in education acknowledges a proliferation of multiple understandings of STEM education and the emerging diversity of approaches to STEM teaching. This presentation reports on teachers from primary schools in regional Victoria who were involved in a professional learning program specifically designed to build their confidence and capacity for teaching STEM through inquiry-based approaches. Frameworks relating to STEM curriculum development and teacher and school change provided structure and focus for the program. Data of changing teacher STEM pedagogy provide insight into the diverse responses that schools can have to professional learning. The findings of the study indicate the importance of research-informed frameworks that are flexible enough to be applied to schools at different stages of STEM implementation
|(symposium continues)||Senka Henderson, Donna King|
Emotional responses of middle years students when writing two different Biostories using computersWhile a significant body of research states that practical work, such as laboratory activities, discrepant events and demonstrations are regarded as highly interesting and seen favourably by students in science classes, there is less research about the computer-based activities that evoke interest and emotional responses. In the current study, we present the case study of year 8 students during two school terms when writing Biostories to show how the emotional responses were aroused during the computer-based activities when students were writing about two different Socioscientific issues. The two topics were Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining and Singed which focussed on the biology of skin burns. Through an ethnographic case study method, we have collected and analysed data including video recordings, observations of the classroom, thinking prompts, interviews, field notes and emotion diaries completed at the end of each lesson. Three themes emerged. First, students’ reported interest was higher on average for the topics of Singed compared to CSG mining. Second, students expressed positive emotions and interest in computer-based classes for both topics, however when the interest scores for computer-based lessons for both topics have been compared, there was a greater average interest for Singed compared to CSG. Third, as reported on the thinking prompts, students’ responses to questions about the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with CSG mining and Singed increased in frequency and variety as the term progressed, however, there was a greater increase in the CSG topic. Finally, we provide reasons for the students’ heightened interest and more favourable experiences during computer-based lessons.
|Amanda Berry, Jared Carpendale|
Unpacking Teachers’ Thinking and Practice of Integrated STEMThis presentation explores how teachers with a commitment to teaching integrated STEM (i-STEM) perceive and implement such programmes. Integrated STEM education emerged from the idea that emphasising connections between the disciplinary components of STEM, along with making links to society and real world problems, can enhance student motivation and interest in STEM subjects. However, while there are many claims about the value of i-STEM, little is known about how teachers think about, and implement, i-STEM approaches within their schools and classrooms. In this study, 12 teachers from Victorian secondary schools with an explicit commitment to teaching i-STEM were interviewed about their views about i-STEM, along with the issues and challenges that they encountered when designing and implementing i-STEM approaches. Preliminary findings indicate that most teachers are implementing these approaches with little support and were concerned about doing i-STEM ‘the right way’. At the same time, they considered i-STEM as more engaging than traditional science and mathematics classes, and when students worked in groups to respond to real-world problems, those tasks fostered key thinking skills such as creativity and problem solving. However, participants rarely considered the curriculum outside of their own STEM discipline when planning or developing assessment tasks.
|John Cripps Clark, Linda Hobbs, Seamus Delaney, George Aranda, Chris Speldewinde|
Devising a framework of innovation: Insights from evaluating the Victorian Tech Schools initiativeSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is positioned as critical to achieving a STEM literate workforce and society. Evaluations of STEM-focused initiatives are needed that focus on the nature of innovation arising and the conditions that are needed to create this innovation. This presentation draws on insights about innovation from an evaluation of the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Tech Schools Initiative. Drawing on Jäger’s (2004) wave model of innovation, an Innovation Framework focusing on content, structure and people was developed and is being used alongside an evaluation framework to underpin an Impact analysis (focusing on the outcomes) and an Ecosystem analysis (focusing on the conditions needed for innovation to occur). Seven categories of innovation have emerged from analysis of interviews with Tech School staff, industry partners and host representatives. The categories highlight the innovative nature of the Tech Schools, the products of innovation emerging and expected, and critical success factors that will inform the ongoing evaluation. This theorisation of innovation extends our understanding of: the nature of innovation at STEM learning centres; innovative approaches to STEM education; the conditions needed for innovation to arise; and what might be transferable to other similar initiatives.
|F2||10:50-12:50||Rebecca Cooper, Jared Carpendale, Jennifer Mansfield, Karen Marangio|
Creativity and Critical Thinking in Secondary Science Pre-Service Teacher EducationOne of Monash University graduate attributes is to prepare graduates who are critical and creative scholars. Coupled with the rise in creativity and critical thinking as aspects of learning and teaching, the secondary science education team at Monash University investigated how having a greater emphasis on the explicit articulation of creativity and critical thinking in their teaching and assessment with pre-service science teachers would influence their own thinking about creativity and critical thinking. Four (authors) secondary science educators participated in this reflective study over two semesters. Data were collected in the form of curriculum and planning documents, meeting notes, meeting recordings, reflective journal entries. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted looking for emergent common themes. Findings signal that while aspects of creativity and critical thinking were identifiable in units and assessment items to the educators, the challenge came in articulating this clearly to pre-service teachers. However, with this clarification and articulation came a further tension where explication led to oversimplification. Further, there was a sense that pre-service teachers may interpret creativity and critical thinking as freedom and limitless possibilities, thus foregoing appropriateness and suitability in order to embrace creativity and critical thinking.
|Kai-Ming Kiang, Wai Man Szeto|
Teaching Traditional Chinese Science as a way of nurturing scientific literacyWhether Traditional Chinese Science can be considered as a true science has often been debated in the academic circle. In the eye of the public, however, it is often accepted as an alternative science, especially in Chinese society. For science educators, approaching Traditional Chinese Science as pseudoscience without any open discussion, in general, could easily stimulate students’ resistance, which could be counterproductive. In this presentation, we suggest using Traditional Chinese Science as a starting point to engage students to debate and ponder upon the meaning of science. This could allow better integration of the nature of science with ones’ culture and prior knowledge. This approach was adopted in a general education course in a Hong Kong university that aims to nurture scientific literacy. Through analyzing the class discussions and term papers from this course, the result showed that teaching Traditional Chinese Science could effectively arouse students’ interest, as well as enable them to reflect on the meaning of science in a more socially and culturally embedded way. We believe that our approach can be considered as a reference case for other science educators to design their courses.
|Kyla Adams, Roshan Dattatri, Jyoti Kaurb, David Blair|
Ten years on: Impact of a Primary School Intervention on Aspects of Einsteinian PhysicsMany students complete their compulsory science education without being taught modern physics concepts. In 2013 the first study of a modern physics teaching intervention conducted with an Australian upper primary school class was published. This intervention was the first step in challenging the paradigm of Newtonian teaching in schools. At the end of the first intervention, positive influences on participants attitudes towards the content was found. In 2020, 11 participants in the initial study (out of 26 total) were contacted for a follow-up questionnaire and interview to determine long-term effects. The results of the follow-up indicate that the intervention maintained a positive impression on participants. The models and analogies used during the six-week intervention were highly memorable. None of the respondents indicated feeling that they were too young to learn the concepts at the time. The participants found the interventions to be beneficial to their future learning. Even close to ten years after the intervention the participants remembered several key concepts and generally found no contradictions in concepts in future learning. The long-term follow-up of the intervention indicates that Einsteinian physics can be taught at the upper primary level and be recalled several years later.
Improving a science teacher’s epistemic teaching competence by implementation of ambitious science teaching practicesThis study showed an elementary teacher’s implementation of ambitious science teaching (Windschitl et al., 2018) practices and investigated her practices in terms of Apt-epistemic performances (Barzilai & Chinn, 2018). The teaching context was to facilitate elementary students’ construction of explanatory models of why the landscapes near upstream areas are different from those near downstream areas. Students’ (N=29) classroom discourses and their worksheets for seven science classes on weathering, erosion, and deposition were analysed to describe whether the learners’ epistemic performance was aptly conducted: whether it was successful, was based on their competences, and was conducted in appropriate ways for the learning goals. The results showed even elementary students could engage cognitively in epistemic performance when they constructed explanatory models for the difference of the landscape around a river. The practices adopted from the ambitious science teaching framework helped elementary students conduct epistemic performances by guiding how they talked and acted during the classes. However, their participation in epistemic performance was restricted to the argumentation on how they connected their explanations with experiments. The capacity of ambitious science teaching practices was discussed to improve elementary students’ epistemic performances and science teachers’ epistemic teaching competences.
|Tabetha Spiteri, Amanda Berry, Rebecca Cooper, Jared Carpendale|
Primary School Girls’ STEM Education Experiences – A Pilot StudyThere have been calls for more research into STEM education in Australia, particularly, the impact of STEM education on girls’ STEM attitudes and aspirations (Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources, 2020). This presentation will discuss the results of a pilot study conducted as part of a larger PhD study into girls’ integrated STEM education experiences during the transition from primary to secondary school, and how girls’ STEM attitudes and aspirations are influenced by these experiences. A qualitative methodology was used to capture girls’ STEM classroom experiences from their perspective. Participants for the pilot were a small number of 11-13-year-old girls from one Melbourne K/P-12 school with a dedicated STEM program. These girls were invited to photograph their STEM classroom experiences at the beginning of the school year, and to select two of their photographs to use as visual aids when discussing their experiences in a follow-up focus group interview. Results from the pilot will be used to test and refine the methodology to be undertaken in the main study, and will provide sought-after evidence into the impact of STEM education on girls’ STEM attitudes and aspirations in an Australian context (Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources, 2020).
|Ei Seul Kim, Hye Eun Chu, Hyeong Moon Lee, Jinwoong Song|
Investigating the impact of an intercultural STEAM program on group creativityDuring the COVID-19 lockdowns, Korean schools developed various ICT network systems to deliver science teaching online. This helped schools pursue online intercultural interactions. Thus, this study explored the impact of the online intercultural STEAM program on students’ group creativity in science classrooms. We developed eight lessons on the topic of ‘The zero-energy house’ which were introduced into science classrooms in Korea (Anyang) and Australia (Sydney) asynchronously. Hong’s (2016) Science Classroom Creativity (SCC) questionnaire was modified to 60 questions to examine the group creativity of 27 Korean Year 10 students. The questionnaire was implemented before and after the application of the intercultural STEAM program and 11 Korean students participated in in-depth interviews afterwards. The classroom artefacts and the students’ comments posted on an online bulletin board were also collected and analyzed. Of the many components under group creativity, our findings demonstrated both quantitative and qualitative improvements in cognitive and affective areas and significantly higher response levels in active class engagement and creative behavior. The interview and artefacts analyses, including students’ thinking processes and solutions on the zero-energy house, will be shared during the presentation.
|Bruce White, Lisa O’Keeffe, Melanie O’Leary|
Teaching Science through STEM inquiry projectsOne approach to implementing STEM in schools, is through the use of inquiry projects (The Office of The Chief Scientist, 2017). However, a move towards learning science through STEM inquiry may require changes in teachers’ practices (Timms et al., 2018). What is not always clear is what teaching practices best support student learning in inquiry projects/inquiry based pedagogical approaches (Murphy et al., 2019). This presentation draws from data collected as part of a STEM project conducted in partnership with Catholic Education South Australia schools. This STEM project supported teachers in development and enactment of STEM Inquiry Projects. Teacher and student perceptions of the teaching approaches most frequently used during the inquiry projects and teachers’ self-reported confidence to teach science in an interdisciplinary environment will be presented and discussed.
Teachers reported significant increases in their knowledge of inquiry approaches and how to teach science in an interdisciplinary environment. Inquiry projects that required authenticity, critical thinking, and a need to communicate and collaborate created more opportunities for student centred approaches to teaching and learning, and this in turn impacted positively on pedagogical practices in Science.
|Sherab Tenzin, Mihye Won, David Treagust|
Student-generated Diagrams to Engage Students in Understanding Science ConceptsStudent-generated science diagrams have the potential to help students explore causal explanations for many science phenomena. We investigated how this activity helped students learn fundamental science concepts and understand causal explanations. Sixty-one Year 7 students from a high school in Australia participated in the study. A total of 183 diagrams from three physics lessons were analyzed for the study. The analysis of the diagrams showed evidence of students’ engagement with the content and efforts to understand the causes. Many students used appropriate representational conventions such as arrows with varying length, thickness, and numbers to represent forces with different magnitude. They also showed the overarching concepts of balanced and unbalanced forces in their diagrams more consistently as the lessons progressed. Some students successfully provided causal explanations, but the majority struggled to construct causal explanations. Nevertheless, drawing diagrams helped students see the links between observations and key science concepts and between the concepts. Student-generated diagrams also provided teachers with an overview of students’ conceptual understanding and difficulties, which could be used to tailor their support for students. The analysis showed that student-generated diagrams can assist students’ knowledge construction, provide information for teachers to scaffold students’ learning and plan future lessons.
|Chloe Nelson, Jan van Driel, Victoria Millar|
Teachers’ perceived benefits of interacting with science centresOut-of-school science centres, including science museums, are common around the world and are visited by millions of school children and their teachers each year. Previous studies have highlighted a range of benefits for pre-service teachers interacting with science centres including knowledge gains and positive affective changes. However, less attention has been given to the benefits that in-service teachers experience through their interactions with these centres. This study presents the results of an investigation into in-service teachers’ perceived benefits of their past interactions with science centres. A total of 55 in-service primary and secondary school science teachers from around Australia responded to a survey about their past interactions with science centres. The study confirmed that in-service science teachers experienced a range of professional growth benefits from their interaction with science centres including science content knowledge gains, increased motivation to teach science and subsequent improvements in their own students’ learning. Teachers also described benefits such as connecting to other science teachers, science professionals and industry. Future research should explore the characteristics of science centres that contribute to these benefits and how these centres can contribute to fostering communities of practice.
|Ha My (Anna) Mang, Hye-eun Chu, Sonya Martin, Chan-Jong Kim|
Theoretical approaches to an SSI-STEAM teaching: Developing and evaluating an SSI-STEAM programThe need to develop scientifically literate and active citizens has shifted attention to pedagogical approaches that integrate arts into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), or STEAM. However, questions have arisen about STEAM’s capacity to meaningfully and authentically connect students to real-world problems. This gap could be addressed by integrating socioscientific issues (SSI) into STEAM instruction. However, there are limited discussions on theoretical frameworks and program evaluation tools that can guide teachers in planning and teaching an SSI-STEAM integrated curriculum. Using a design-based research (DBR) method, this study identified key principles that informed the development of an SSI-STEAM framework. This framework was translated into a program evaluation rubric for teaching and learning purposes, and then used to analyse the study’s program and other existing programs. In this presentation, the science topic “Climate Crisis” was analysed.
The findings indicated that effective SSI-STEAM learning was dependent on four key principles: Enacting values and practices, Affective learning, Authentic contexts and activities, and Interdisciplinary thinking and integrated practices. These principles could only translate into program development by adding a sixth stage known as Enact to the 5E inquiry model. Many of the evaluated programs did not adequately meet the criteria for SSI-STEAM learning.
|Kathy Smith, Jennifer Mansfield, Deb Corrigan, Nicoleta Maynard, Peter Ellerton, Charlotte Pezaro, Shelley Waldon|
Understanding Problem Based Learning in school-based STEM educationTo explore Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a way to enhance Australian school-based STEM education, researchers from Monash University and Queensland University (UQ) are working with Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools (MACS) and Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE). This presentation reports on the findings from Phase One which addresses the question: What principles define the fundamental nature and intention of a PBL model of STEM Education? PBL experts in both science and engineering, from across Australia and internationally, were invited to take part in online focus groups. The analysis aimed to elicit some key principles, issues and values associated with PBL from a practice perspective. Findings identified a range of key considerations including, the typology of problems, the importance of context, teacher identity, the role of time, assessing a process of learning rather than focusing on the assessment of a product, and understanding the difference between problem solving and PBL. The significance of the learning environment, including access to and use of both physical space and learning tools was also highlighted. This information informs the next phase of the project which explores the development of a pedagogical framework for school-based STEM education.
|Harry Lyndon, David Lloyd|
The enduring relevance of the Conceptual Mediation Program (CMP)A meta-study of 86 different models of conceptual change in the domain of science education [Potvin et al (2020)] demonstrates that there has been an overt emphasis in this research on epistemological perspectives. Only one project reviewed focussed directly on the psychological causes and resolution of the learning difficulties experienced by science students that being the Conceptual Mediation Program. The CMP was a decade long research project conducted in Australian secondary schools. A review and report on the successful outcomes of this interdisciplinary project has been published (Yates and Lyndon, 2004). The theoretical perspective (Lyndon, 2000) proposed that the well-documented learning difficulties experienced by science students arise as an outcome of the natural tendency of the mind to conserve prior learning in the face of conflicting new experience. It is argued that this tendency is a universal attribute of human cognitive development directly caused by the combined effects of proactive inhibition and accelerated forgetting. We have shown that these effects are controllable as they are contingent on an individual’s recognition of and conscious engagement with these fundamental psychological processes through the use of a mediational learning method. Mediational learning is possible due to the combination of three of our unique capacities, consciousness, language and reasoning. A new perspective has been developed regarding mediational leaning which permits the naturalization of phenomenon of consciousness. An outline of these recent developments in the CMP will be presented.
|Lunch and Close||12:50-1:40|