Thursday


Presentations that will be delivered online via Zoom are colour-coded green

All times are Adelaide time – GMT +9:30

SessionTimeRoom 1Room 2Room 3Room 4
T19:00-10:20Symposium
Larry Bencze
Pro-active Teaching for Eco-Just Re-worldings: Reinforcing Application-based LearningHumanity is facing myriad ‘wicked’ problems – including those linked to petroleum combustion, surveillance systems, manufactured foods, etc. – associated with capitalism-influenced science and technology. Assuming capitalist manipulation of public knowledge and subjectivities and learners’ diversities in terms of abilities, cultural and social capital, etc., the four papers in this symposium provide theoretical and empirically-based arguments for proactive education of students, accompanied by personally-relevant application activities, about possibly-problematic relationships (eg drawn from Science & Technology Studies) among science and technology and societies and environments and encouraging and enabling them to develop/implement sociopolitical actions to overcome harms of their concern.

Paper 1: Sarah El Halwany, Majd Zouda, Minja Milanovic, Nurul Hassan, Jasmine Yeung, Larry BenczeMcGinn and Roth (1999) had argued that fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) offer science education important educational aims that reflect “situated, contingent, and contextual nature of science, while also acknowledging the diverse range of communities and locations where science is created and used” (p. 17). Fields of STS can offer science education equally important opportunities to discuss ‘(bio)political economies of technoscience’ (Birch, 2013) — a growing area of study within STS that remains underexplored within science education (research). Of interest are “ways science (or knowledge of the natural world) is embedded, embodied, and enacted in particular political conditions” (Freitas et al., 2017, p. 553). We reviewed academic articles in these STS journals: Social Studies of Science, Science as Culture and Science, Technology and Human Values (2010-2020). We conducted thematic analyses (Patton, 2002), focusing on (bio)political economies of science and technology. Notions from STS highlighted in this paper include: ‘emotive actants’, ‘anthropocentric temporalities’, ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ and ‘regulatory capture’. We discuss how such notions from STS could have implications for how we teach students about problematic technoscience relations, while accounting for often-overlooked discussions of power as material and affective.

Paper 2: Jasmine Yeung, Sarah El Halwany, Nurul Hassan, Minja Milanovic, Majd Zouda, Larry BenczeInquiry-based learning (IBL) is currently one of the most popular approaches to teaching science (Pedaste et al., 2015). This paper reports changes in my professional practice as a K-8 teacher, specifically my views and practices of IBL after being exposed to the ReAction Pedagogical framework. ReAction sees IBL to be problematic when students are expected to discover often difficult concepts on their own (Author6 & Collaborator1, 2011). Using a self-study approach (Hamilton, 1998), artefacts from my teacher education and teaching practice were analyzed, using constant comparative methods (Charmaz, 2014), to compare my pre- and post-ReAction teaching practices. Using the Learning Control Model by Lock (1990), themes in my teaching philosophy were mapped to illustrate extents to which my practices as a teacher changed on the spectrums of teacher vs student-directed and open vs closed-ended. Findings suggest that post-ReAction, I believe more teacher-directed approaches to start, with conclusions moving from closed-ended to open-ended as students gain attitudes, skills and knowledge to engage with science, are needed to attain the analyzed themes (engagement, student understanding and critical thinking). With the widespread implementation of IBL, this self-study raises further questions to deeply consider uses of IBL in relation to equitable teaching practices.

Paper 3: Majd Zouda, Sarah El Halwany, Nurul Hassan, Minja Milanovic, Jasmine Yeung, Larry BenczeTechnoscience developments are continuously forging new (un)expected/(un)intentional possibilities, with beneficial and problematic consequences. Controlling all possible consequences of emerging technoscience is not usually possible; however, it could be argued that prevalence of certain “sociotechnical imaginaries” (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015) might favour particular outcomes over others. When considering for-profit influences from powerful groups on science and technology, a participatory role of citizens, with critical science literacy, seemed required to bring balances in imaginaries and outcomes. Hence, we advocate youth socio-political activism through science education, while emphasizing examinations of ‘hidden’ problems to better inform decisions. This paper reports on experiences of a high-school science teacher in Greece implementing an activist science education framework in his courses. It examines constructs of students’ ‘micro-sociotechnical imaginaries’ in relation to different commodities and socioscientific issues they are examining. We argue that in constructing their imaginaries, students and their teacher negotiated their prioritized values, and possible values of other stakeholders. Our research indicates significance of value negotiations in bringing forward desired futures. It also points out to possible merits of sociotechnical imaginaries, on the micro-levels of classrooms, in enabling students and teachers to construct visions for how they will lead their lives and teaching practices, respectively.

Paper 4: Larry Bencze, Dave Del Gobbo, Sarah El Halwany, Minja Milanovic, Nurul Hassan, Jasmine Yeung, Majd ZoudaMuch of our world seems precarious. There are fears, for instance, that humanity is on a ‘precipice’ due to threats from climate change, habitat destruction and species losses, nuclear weaponry and more. Meanwhile, societies seem plagued by ongoing struggles like those to eliminate diseases (e.g., cancer) from manufactured foods, privacy and autonomy threats from surveillance systems, and harms from prescription and illicit drugs. Associated with many such harms are fields of science and technology (S&T). However, scholarship from Science and Technology Studies, cultural studies, et cetera suggest that myriad biotic, abiotic and symbolic entities (‘actants’) — including fields of S&T — are interwoven into a global network (dispositif) largely promoting capitalist goals like individual competitiveness, costs externalization and continuous growth. In this light, fields of S&T education seem to have key responsibilities for educating students about such problematic power relations and preparing them for pro-active citizenship. Results of the facilitated action research project — based on constructivist grounded theory analyses of qualitative data — reported here suggest, indeed, that teenagers may help overcome many S&T-related harms through envisaged material-semiotic alliances if directly-taught, with personalized applications, important power-related concepts (e.g., normalizing power).
Angela Fitzgerald, Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn
The push or the pull? Investigating tensions and possibilities in two science teacher educators’ return to schoolsIn science education in Australia and internationally, there are many teacher educators who regularly engage in ongoing work with primary and secondary students through University-School partnership initiatives. There also is a precedent of science education researchers who have returned to school-based classroom teaching roles for sabbatical blocks. In the research literature, it is more difficult to locate studies of teacher educators who have resigned their tenure to return to school-based positions in 2021. In this paper, we draw on research methodologies including self-study, autoethnography and narrative inquiry to begin to investigate tensions and possibilities in our own return to school roles in 2021. While the data collection is in its early stages, some emergent themes include: notions of being an experienced rookie, questioning sense of identity, and navigating the tensions posed by being an educational insider-outsider in a school-based setting. This research is important as it provides very direct insights into the lived realities of the contemporary classroom and how this is juxtapositioned against the experiences provided in initial teacher education to nurture classroom ready graduates. It is anticipated that this study will lead to lively discussion about the ways in which schools and universities can more productively work together.
Peta White, Russell Tytler, Joanne Mulligan, Melinda Kirk
Linking mathematics and science productivelyThe Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science (IMS) project has developed, trialed and refined learning sequences across years 1-6 that productively link mathematics with science in ways that enhance fundamental learning in each subject. The principles of this interdisciplinary linking include: there is fresh learning of foundational constructs in both subjects; each subject enhances learning in the other; and attention is given to progression of knowledge and skills. A central feature of the sequence design is attention to authentic disciplinary epistemic practices through students inventing, evaluating and refining representations. We will draw on a Grade 2 sequence in paper helicopter flight that involves mathematical constructs of measure, variation, and data modeling, to a). illustrate the interdisciplinary design principles and how they operate to enhance learning, and b). explore the challenges for teachers in implementing such interdisciplinary learning. These challenges relate to: teacher pedagogy, epistemology, and knowledge; the need to flexibly interpret and anticipate curriculum progression; and the lack of support in traditional mathematics curriculum practice for this epistemic vision. We will explore the variation in ways in which the mathematics and science interrelate in the different sequences.
Jamil Suprihatiningrum, Carol Aldous, Carolyn Palmer
Meeting the challenges of accessibility for science inclusive classrooms: Indonesia’s portraitThere is no one-size-fits-all answer to supporting a student’s learning needs. However, accessibility for every student to achieve the same learning goals is critical to an inclusive environment. Seven participants from three Schools Providing Inclusive Education (SPIE): viz Cerdas, Pintar, and Pandai in Yogyakarta Indonesia were selected purposively and interviewed to share thoughts and experiences about meeting the challenge of learning accessibility for students with disabilities (SWD) in science. Each participant was invited to consider how learning was achieved and what means were provided to help students learn. Data were analysed systematically, and three themes emerged viz: inclusive pedagogy, inclusive content and inclusive technology. Findings indicated that although a science syllabus was made available, expectations for SWD were set low and learning objectives ill-defined. Although time to co-plan was limited, a collaborative teaching approach existed in Pandai where teachers were found co-creating different worksheets to meet a given student’s need. Teachers in Cerdas and Pintar indicated that they had no time to either vary or accommodate for different modalities in learning science. Although all teachers understood how SWD need interaction with different tools, only teachers at Pintar and Pandai were utilising assistive technologies to help SWD in learning science.
(symposium continues)Linda Hobbs
Criteria for defining teaching out-of-field: Representing a complex phenomenonTeaching out-of-field generally refers to misalignment between what a teacher teaches and their qualifications and background. Because of state, national and international differences in teacher registration, approval and certification, there is no single definition of what makes a teacher in- or out-of-field. Also, realities on the ground often mean that ‘suitably’ to teach a subject is determined by criteria other than qualifications. Also, science teachers can be in-field but feel out-of-field teaching some science disciplines. Representing this complex phenomenon through a single definition fails to capture the complex reasons teachers are or ‘feel’ out-of-field, and the potential responses that are needed to attend to this issue. In this paper we report on a study contracted by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) where we used a systematic literature review and interviews with key informants to develop six research-informed criteria to determine out-of-field-ness; these criteria are categorised as Measurable (1.Qualification, 2.Workload and 3.Capability), Self-report (4.Identity and 5.Structures), or Longitudinal (6.Pathways). Four definitions were derived from these categories. This approach to defining teaching out-of-field enables the criteria to foreground different aspects of the phenomenon and position different stakeholders as being part of both determining how teachers experience out-of-field-ness and movement towards in-field-ness.
Wendy Nielsen, Helen Georgiou, David Geelan, Angela Fitzgerald
Reflections on running an online conference during a global pandemicAn unanticipated impact of COVID-19 was the usual academic activity of in-person conference attendance. Many professional associations cancelled conferences in 2020 and 2021, but ASERA made a late decision to move to a wholly online conference format for 2020. This was a first for ASERA and its organizers. As our world adapts to ongoing life in the pandemic that now may need to consider future pandemics in our work planning, the aim of this paper is to share reflections on a rapid shift from a F2F format to holding the conference entirely online during a period of lockdown and travel restrictions. Reflections from the conference convenors and a follow-up survey for ASERA’s membership serve as data for this presentation. The convenors reflected on the initial decision to go online, the justification for the design of the online conference (including the decision to run it at no/little expense) and how it went, while the survey (n=91) sought perspectives from attendees on their experiences of this first-ever online conference for ASERA. Our aim is to contribute to greater understanding of running online research-related events, an occurrence that will become more frequent or likely as we adapt to the ‘new norm’ post-pandemic.
Bill Palmer
Storytelling: Chemists, Crime, Fraud and Scandal‘Story telling has recently been recognised as a powerful means for improving learning about science.’ (Gamito-Marques, 2020, p. 583).
Recently, I was researching the life stories of the authors of American Chemistry laboratory manuals. Almost all of authors to have led what appeared to be exemplary lives but one author whose manual I had admired for many years had committed a major fraud. This led me to the idea of attempting to connect chemists and crime by finding the stories of some villainous and scandalous chemists. Many stories connecting chemists with crime relate to forensic science where the chemist’s evidence in court leads to the conviction of a criminal. However, this study will provide examples of chemists or persons with an extensive chemical knowledge using that knowledge to commit a crime or committing a crime in the course of their chemical career. The examples chosen will provide instances to discuss the legal moral and chemical aspects of the cases. This could provide a useful starting point for courses involving a discussion of ethical issues in science.
Morning Tea10:20-10:50
T210:50-12:50Heather McMaster, Christine Preston, Hailan Wang
A macroscopic model introducing the particle nature of matter to upper primary school studentsProperties of materials can be explained using a model showing matter to be composed of tiny particles. There is debate as to whether this model should be introduced in primary school. Students’ measurement of solid objects in Mathematics can lead them to believe that volume is always conserved while in Science, they learn that heating a material changes its volume. This study aimed to determine whether introducing students to the particle nature of matter using a concrete macroscopic model, would help them accommodate a scientific understanding of why heat changes the volume of a material. Task-based interviews were conducted with six Year 6 students who observed that air in a balloon expanded when heated and contracted when cooled. Prior to this experiment, half of them were introduced to a simple macroscopic model of the particle theory of matter. Students’ varied explanations and diagrams to explain the change in the size of the balloon, revealed that they held and continued to hold the belief that the volume of air is conserved when heated, because its mass is conserved. Only those introduced to the macroscopic model, believed that the number of air particles remained the same when the air was heated.
Russell Tytler, Vaughan Prain
Transduction as fundamental to learning scienceThere has been increasing recognition of the multimodal nature of knowledge development (Gooding, 2004; Latour, 1990) and learning (Lemke, 1990). While much research has focused on identifying the affordances of different modes and the ways in which different representations are enlisted to describe and explain phenomena, the question of how the meanings entailed in concepts shift and expand across modes (Lemke, 1990), titled ‘transduction’ (Kress, 2000), has been less explored. Yet the transduction process is fundamental to students realising, aligning, generating and coordinating representations in learning science (Kozma & Russell, 2005; Volkwyn, 2019). In this presentation we will draw on a range of primary school activities and sequences designed around representational work to explore the fundamental role of transduction in student reasoning and learning and the challenges this entails. In the Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Science (IMS) project we have developed a pedagogy with stages of orienting, posing representational challenges, evaluating and building consensus, and applying and extending conceptual understanding. We will analyse student artefacts to explore the fundamental role, the nature of, and challenges associated with transduction as students engage with material and representational work. We will describe the strategies teachers use to support this fundamental process.
Nicholas Ruddell, Holly Randell-Moon
Indigenous Automation in the Budj Bim eel traps and Brewarrina fish trapsIn secondary and tertiary school science settings, there are few Australian programs that integrate Indigenous and western knowledge systems in STEM. We contend it is timely that we move toward pedagogical frameworks that include both Indigenous and western knowledge systems in the form of cross-cultural science. This paper discusses and realigns the way we view the theoretical space that exists between western and traditional Indigenous knowledge systems by focusing on Indigenous engineering principles of automation in the Budj Bim eel traps and Brewarrina fish traps. The eel traps at Budj Bim are a vast aquaculture network designed by Gunditjmara peoples to manage and automate the flow of eels and fish. The Brewarrina fish traps, devised by the Nyemba peoples, are estimated to be one of the oldest human technologies and similarly to the eel traps, worked to automate fish farming. We use a case study approach to show how these can be used as a contemporary STEM learning resource, with suggested learning activities. Highlighting the case studies’ use of automation is an impactful way of connecting Indigenous engineering to contemporary STEM debates about automation and engage students with Indigenous science as an ongoing and lived practice.
Symposium
Mihye Won
Using immersive virtual reality to enhance learning of science – design and evaluation of science learning and user experiences
Immersive virtual reality has captured the imagination of many science educators. What can it do for education? Would it really work for my students? What does it take to adopt VR or to investigate its educational possibilities? In this symposium, a group of researchers presents
what to consider in designing and evaluating immersive virtual reality activities for science learning and what they have found from the design and evaluation of science learning through immersive VR over the last three years.
Paper titles:
– Design and evaluation of science learning in immersive VR
– Educational affordances of 3 learning media
– Students’ exploration of 3D models in immersive VR


Paper 1: Mihye Won, Dewi Ungu, Henry Matovu, David Treagust, Mauro Mocerino,
Roy Tasker & Chin-Chung TsaiImmersive virtual reality (VR) is an advanced visualisation system that allows students to jump into a virtual world to interact with real and imagined objects, explore abstract science concepts, discuss their ideas with peers, and construct a deeper understanding. Despite its unique potential, educators are yet to embrace the new medium and explore its educational possibilities systematically. In this presentation, we introduce a framework to guide the design and evaluation of immersive VR for education. The framework is an adaptation of Dede’s (2009) immersion strategies for educational research. It includes technological affordances of immersive VR as the instructional medium (sensory, interactivity and embodied movement), in relation to the integrated learning content (relevancy, agency and challenge) and pedagogical approaches for knowledge construction (guidance and social interactions). As a showcase of how the framework works, we present the design features and the learning activities of an immersive VR learning program (Amazing Snowflakes), then discuss the evaluation of the students’ learning within the immersive VR program through a video analysis of 22 first-year university students in relation to students’ engagement and learning outcomes.


Paper 2: Henry Matovu, Dewi Ungu, Mihye Won, David Treagust, Mauro Mocerino, Roy Tasker, Chin-Chung TsaiVisualising dynamic molecular interactions with existing learning media has proven to be difficult for many students. We investigated how learning activities in a new learning medium–collaborative immersive virtual reality (VR)–helped students improve their understanding of hydrogen bonding between water molecules. Twenty-two first-year university students were paired to go through the learning tasks. Videos of the VR sessions were analysed. Students walked around the molecules or lowered their bodies to change their views of the hydrogen bond formed. The 360-degree views of the molecules and interactivity in the immersive VR environment helped students to understand how the angle and distance between the molecules affected the strength of the bond. Embodied movement, such as rotating and moving molecules, and visual cues in form of changing colours and thickness of the bond helped the students appreciate the dynamic nature of the intermolecular interactions of water. However, without the tactile force feedback as is available in magnetic physical models, students struggled to associate the hydrogen bond with attraction and repulsion between the molecules. Our findings show that collaborative immersive VR supported students’ understanding of abstract concepts such as dynamic interactions and spatial relations in molecular systems.

Paper 3: Dewi Ungu, Henry Matovu, Mihye Won, David Treagust, Mauro Mocerino, Roy Tasker, Chin-Chung TsaiVisualising molecular structures and interactions remains a challenge in understanding and applying chemistry concepts, such as intermolecular forces. Eleven pairs of first-year university students used three learning media (physical models, computer simulation, and immersive virtual reality) to learn the hydrogen bonds between water molecules. Using the immersion strategies framework adapted from Dede (2009), session videos and pre-/post-interviews were analysed to evaluate students’ learning in each media. Students learned different concepts in each media, despite similar learning tasks. The magnetic model’s tactile nature engaged students’ attention to the repulsive and attractive forces between water molecules. The computer simulation’s interactive animations and energy graphs directed students’ attention to the hydrogen bond’s optimum angle and length. The 3-D virtual environment and embodied interactions within immersive virtual reality led students to connect the spatial arrangement of hydrogen bonds in ice to the six-fold symmetry of snowflakes. Our findings showed that students’ learning of chemistry concepts such as hydrogen bonding was influenced by how the affordances of each learning media were aligned with the learning content and pedagogical approaches. The immersion strategies framework was instrumental in analysing students’ learning, and it could inform the design of learning activities in both non-immersive and immersive learning media.
Lina Aviyanti, Carol Aldous, Penny Vandeur
Investigating the factors that foster and hinder understanding of physics concepts among prospective physics teachersThis study sought to identify multiple variables that foster the understanding of physics concepts among Indonesian prospective physics teachers using quantitative methods . The relationships arising between these variables were examined using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). Variables that were considered to hinder the improvement of prospective physics teachers’ understanding of physics concepts were explored through semi-structured interviews. Five questionnaires were completed by a total of 706 participants, and 25 of these participants were interviewed individually. The results confirmed that the demographic factors of participants and their beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, as well as how they were able to argue and reason scientifically, affected positively their understanding of physics concepts. Furthermore, the study identified a number of factors that inhibited participants’ development in understanding physics concepts that related to their approaches to learning, the instructional media used, the nature of the classroom learning activities, the kind of learning assessments used, as well as the form of homework or assignments given in class. The findings of the study have the potential to contribute to the efforts of practitioners and policymakers wanting to improve the quality of physics teaching practices among Indonesian pre- and in-service teachers.
Anne Pillman, Lindsay Conner
Why didn’t they transfer? – factors affecting the transfer of science concepts by year 6 studentsTransfer of learning is core business for educators as it is both the goal of education and the means by which progress towards that goal is measured. This research investigates the factors affecting transfer of science concepts by year 6 students in South Australia.
Twelve classes (n=244 students) were divided into two groups and taught with either low challenge (tell and practice/bounded framing) pedagogy or high challenge (productive struggle/expansive framing) pedagogy using an AA/AB experimental design. Students’ transfer of the targeted science concepts were followed through two units of work constructed to minimise variation other than pedagogy. High challenge pedagogy correlated with a small increase in the percentage of students transferring the target concept in the summative assessment task. However it appears that a range of other factors relating to the concept, the transfer task, student learning dispositions, the class and the teacher act together with pedagogy to impact on transfer. Implications of this for educators are discussed.
Kimberley Wilson, Phillip Dreise
Embedding principles of Indigenised learning into tertiary primary science education curriculumTraditionally, science education has been an area where there has been minimal inclusion of Indigenous perspectives as a result of a number of factors including the dominance of Western science narratives, the marginalisation of diverse groups within the discourse of science, and a prevalent view of Indigenous or Traditional Ecological Knowledge as being less rigorous than Western Science (Aikenhead, 2006). Recent Australian Curriculum initiatives, including the development of 95 content elaborations targeted at embedding Indigenous perspectives in Science, reinforce the imperative for all educators to develop the self-efficacy and capability to embed diverse perspectives in science lessons in a way that moves beyond tokenistic attempts at inclusion. The intent of this project has been to establish the preparedness of academic staff to support pre-service teachers to integrate Indigenous knowings in science education, and to investigate areas of challenge and possibility. The method for this project has been embedded in an action learning model with an overall goal of establishing a professional learning community dedicated to improving pedagogical practice. Findings of the project indicate that goodwill on the part of staff could act as a platform for transformative practice that embraces and reflects a full realisation of the complexity of Indigenous knowings.
(symposium continues)
Suarman Halawa, Ying-Shao Hsu, Wen-Xin Zhang
Analysis of Instructional Designs for Promoting Inquiry Practices in the Physics Curriculum Standard Documents and TextbooksThis study explores textbook instructional designs for promoting inquiry practices and expected outcomes in physics curriculum standards at the secondary level. Three criteria were employed to select textbooks: (1) approved by the Ministry of Education of Singapore and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, (2) mostly used at the secondary level, (3) included physics content and practices based on the curriculum standards. We selected two textbooks from Singapore and three from Indonesia for analysis of learning goals, consistency with national curriculum standards, inquiry skills, understanding of inquiry, and inquiry types. Results showed that the Singaporean curriculum standards explicitly exhibit inquiry skills for each type of physics content (defining, identifying, using formulations, constructing models, interpreting data to construct conceptual understanding). Most inquiry activities are structured inquiry (64.7%), providing few opportunities for students to understand the inquiry. Activities in the Singaporean textbooks engage students in reflecting on investigations (100%), but few expect students to communicate their results. Contrarily, inquiry activities in the Indonesian textbooks expect students to communicate or present results of experiments (23%) but do not engage them in reflection. Findings indicate that the textbook inquiry practices were not designed to include all features of inquiry practices.
Connie Cirkony, Glykeria Fragkiadaki, Richard Gunstone
School science – Thoughts on an approach to rethinking what students learn and how they might be better engagedDiverse science curriculum movements have provided different conceptualisations about the science content students should learn and suggested several pedagogical practices to engage students in science learning. However, identifying what is meaningful for the students to learn during their formal school education and keeping students engaged in science over time remains an ongoing challenge. This presentation aims at discussing three quite diverse broad areas of scholarship relevant to school science to provide insights around this challenge. Three broad areas are discussed in turn: a) the concept of imagination and creativity through cultural-historical approaches of early science learning; b) the relatively long-standing support for inquiry-based approaches; and c) the Northern European constructs of Didakik and Bildung as possible paths to having school curriculum respond to the problematic dimensions of science content. We argue that this discussion can lead to approaches that address challenges in a way to promote threads that orient around the ‘big ideas’ (Harlen et al., 2010) of science fundamental to the learner over the course of their education.
Kathy Paige, Lisa O’Keefe
School science – Thoughts on an approach to rethinking what students learn and how they might be better engagedPaige, Lloyd & Smith (2017, 2019) provide a set of eight eco-justice principles that underpin a transdisciplinary approach to science and mathematics teacher education for sustainability. The principles focus on imaging preferred futures, nature education, connections to place, active participation/activism and prioritising of culturally responsive pedagogies. With these principles in mind, we continue our on-going work with pre-service teachers (O’Keeffe, Paige & Osborne, 2019) exploring ways we can enhance their experience and challenge their perceptions particularly around eco-justice and equity in teaching mathematics and science. In particular, our current work with colleagues across the final year explores ways in which targeted interventions around culturally responsive approaches support pre-service teachers to include this approach in transdisciplinary units of work. In 2020, our research question, to challenge us as science and mathematics pre-service teacher educators, was ‘How might a transdisciplinary, culturally responsive approach to education build knowledge and capabilities for sustainable futures with final year primary /middle pre-service teachers?’ Pre and post data were collected, along with forum posts and samples of student work. In this presentation we focus on the pre-service teachers’ initial confidence ratings in integrating their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, the topics of their transdisciplinary units of work and an analysis of their descriptions of units of work.
Lihua Xu, Chris Speldewinde
Interdisciplinary learning in mathematics and chemistry: A case study of two primary classroomsThe advocacy of interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning in the STEM subjects presents a strong critique of traditional science and mathematics curricular in their capacity to support student development of 21st century skills and dispositions required for the future (Tytler, et al., 2019). Empirical studies that demonstrate the benefits of the advocated interdisciplinary approaches are still emerging. This presentation reports on an empirical study of two primary classrooms where an interdisciplinary approach to science and mathematics has been developed and enacted as an intervention. This study employed a design-based research methodology (Cobb, et al., 2003), focusing on student representation construction and model-based reasoning through a guided inquiry pedagogy. Both teachers enacted an interdisciplinary sequence, designed by the research team, focusing on concepts in chemistry (physical change) and mathematics (data modelling) with grade 5 students. Drawing on classroom data, student work, and interviews, we demonstrate 1) the different directions that each teacher undertook in guiding student exploration of physical change through data modelling, and 2) their connections to the variations evident in student representations. The findings have implications for designs of future interventions that promote interdisciplinary learning and the support needed for effectively enacting such interventions in primary classrooms.
Lunch12:50-1:40
AGM1:40-2:50
T32:50-4:50Sarika Kewalramarni, Nikolai Veresov
Multimodal Creative Inquiry: theorising a new approach for children’s science meaning making in early childhood educationWith technology becoming the mediator of children’s everyday contexts, there have been very few studies which consider the multimodal nature of technologies to act as semiotic tools for enabling children’s sense making of everyday scientific phenomena. This paper explores how by using technologies such as robotic toys, multimodal creative inquiry might be conceptualised and implemented for children’s meaning making in science We consider Halliday’s (1978) and Vygotsky’s (1987, 2016) theoretical ideas for showing how the most important characteristics of social semiotics are connected to imagination, play-based and creative inquiry for children’s science meaning making. Qualitative data was analysed from two preschool classroom video observations of 40 children’s playful interactions with technologies, such as robotic toys, two teachers’ reflective journal documentation and children’s drawings and constructions. Findings show children participate and discuss elements of scientific concepts in inquiry-based dialogues and make sense of science concepts whilst becoming creators of multimodal representations arising from their interests and curiosity. The robotic toys that operate through Apps provide a medium for creative inquiry affording communication spaces through multiple modes (visual, digital touch, movement), fostering children’s meaning making of everyday science phenomena. Practical implications lie in upskilling educators’ integration of robotic toys as a semiotic resource and deploying a multimodal creative inquiry approach for reconfiguring children’s science learning opportunities in early childhood educational practices.
Yi-Fen (Yvonne) Yeh
Learning Nature of Science through Inquiry-based ReadingThe importance of Nature of Science (NOS) is shown in the revised curriculum benchmarks or standards in many countries. To develop students’ understanding of NOS, popular science texts offer good discussion materials for history and philosophy of science (HPS) and socio-scientific issues. Inquiry activities that enable students to understand how scientists study the world is a good teaching strategy for NOS instruction. This study attempts to investigate how one literacy teacher and two science teachers through co-teaching a 16-session unit (approximately 720 mins) develop students’ understanding of NOS through inquiry-based teaching and self-designed experiments. Selected readings included a chapter which discussed how Darwin and Wallace collaborated and competed when developing the theory, articles about scientists’ endeavors and social values toward the pandemics and etc. The results from the pre- and post-tests of VNOS questionnaires indicated a significant improvement in students’ understanding of inference and theoretical entities as well as social and culture influences. A variety of techniques that the literacy teacher and science teachers used in inquiry-based reading activities and weight-measuring experiments were identified, analyzed, and discussed.
Keith Skamp, Eddie Boyes, Martin Stanisstreet
Students’ willingness to act on their beliefs in reducing global warming as they age (Grades 6-10): Comparative changes in culturally different countriesUsing a novel questionnaire, we explored – for the first time – whether a measure of students’ (n > 12,000; Grades 6-10; 11 countries) willingness to act on their beliefs about the effectiveness of 16 actions in reducing global warming (GW) changed as they aged and whether these changes (in willingness to act on beliefs’) varied in the different cultures of the 11 countries. Schwartz’s quantitative measures of each country’s position along three cultural dimensions (autonomy <–> embeddedness, egalitarianism <–> hierarchy, harmony <–> mastery) were used. ANOVA analyses found students’ willingness to act on their beliefs changed as they aged and such changes varied across different cultures: e.g., for some actions to reduce GW, students in more embedded cultures were more willing to act on beliefs compared to those in more autonomous cultures, and this willingness decreased (in both cultures) as they aged. Features of each cultural orientation could be aligned with the findings. Connections between students’ willingness to act (on beliefs) and the actual effectiveness of measures to reduce GW and the perceived personal ‘cost’ (e.g., convenience, financial) of these measures were also explored across the cultures. A country’s ‘cultural press’ on students’ willingness to act to reduce GW has pedagogical implications for climate change education.
Katrina Elliott, Kathy Paige
Three case studies: valuing science in the middle school – students, teachers and parentsWhilst there is much research highlighting teachers’ reasons for valuing science and why it should be valued, there is less about what factors influence students’ valuing of science. In the middle school only 8.6% students consistently expressed science-related career aspirations (Sheldrake, 2018).The aim of this study is to find out what factors contribute to those students who value science and are engaged in learning science, in order to be able to suggest changes in pedagogical practices. The purpose of my research is to work in the space/intersection between parents, students and teachers and their impact on students valuing and identifying with science (Halim et al 2018). Three case studies of Year 8 classrooms have been used to determine how students’ values and identities are impacted on by their teachers’ pedagogical practices, parents’ value of learning science and social media (Yin 2003). The instruments used for data collection were classroom observation, semi structured interviews with 6 Year 8 science teachers and 18 students. In addition students were asked to bring along an artefact that represented their value of science and how they identify with learning science (Pahl & Rowsell, 2019).
Ching-Ting Hsin, Hsin-Kai Wu, Jyh-Chong Liang
Factors Predicting the Science Teaching Practices of Kindergarten Teachers in Indigenous Areas in TaiwanPast studies have found that kindergarten teachers had low science teaching self-efficacy and rarely taught science. Additionally, when compared with non-Indigenous children, Indigenous children had low achievement and participation in science. Our research aims to establish a model to understand the associations between kindergarten teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy, their outcome expectations for students, and their teaching practices in science. Also, it examined how other factors (e.g., mastery experience, perceived contextual support, attitude toward minority groups, and attitude about multicultural teaching) predict teachers’ self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) was employed to analyse 384 valid questionnaires from private and public kindergarten teachers in indigenous areas of Taiwan, teaching children aged 4-6. The results showed that science teaching self-efficacy was the unique positive predictor for the teachers’ science teaching practices. Moreover, three factors significantly and positively predicted teachers’ science teaching self-efficacy: teachers’ mastery experience; perceived contextual support; and attitude about multicultural teaching. Finally we found that four factors significantly and positively predicted teachers’ outcome expectations for their students: teachers’ self-efficacy; perceived contextual support; attitude toward minority groups; and attitude about multicultural teaching.
Jenny Martin
Exploring participant engagement during an astrophysics virtual reality experience at a science festivalThis study investigates Australian university-based teacher educators’ design practices for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) primary science education units using ethogenic social psychology. In Ethogenic Social Psychology, all human social action is understood as deliberate and motivated on two analytically distinct registers, the practical and the expressive, i.e. directed towards either instrumental or moral ends. Actions directed towards instrumental ends are necessary to produce the means of ongoing life. Actions directed towards moral ends maintain or disrupt normative relations between persons and social orders. Participating teacher educators’ retrospective accounts of their design practice were sought as data. Online semi-structured individual interviews invited participants to describe and account for their unit design. Analysis focussed on the way in which the teacher educators discursively constructed the purpose of their design practice and particularly, whether their intentions could be described as practical or expressive. Preliminary analysis revealed that theories of science learning orient Australian teacher educators’ practices in design for ITE primary science education units. The research adds insight into the well documented gap in the literature on how teacher educators transform their expertise in discipline-based education to teacher education and highlights specific concerns related to the development of primary science teacher educator practice.
Hyeonjeong Shin, Suhyun Seo, Chan-Jeong Kim
Exploring Students’ Agency concerning Climate Change through Action-oriented School Club ActivityClimate change is one of the most significant and urgent issues students should face deal with and respond act right now to respond to. A social action-oriented school club activity program for climate change was developed through collaborative action research with teachers. The study aims to explore students’ agency to respond to climate change through their experiences of participating in school club activities. Four teachers and Forty-three secondary students in four schools in Seoul Metropolitan Area were participated for a year. The club activity programs had to be adjusted according to the pandemic policy for schools and school schedules changed frequently. This made substantial differences of program execution among schools. However, the cores of the program, the urgency of climate change and fostering their action competence, had been emphasized in all schools participated. Data were collected through interviews with, journals, photo essays, and social actions by students. Students’ agency was explored and understood as expressed action that emerged from students’ negotiation with structures such as the nature of climate change issue, the intention of teacher or program design, limited situation, etc. We discussed the implications for developing and applying for future action-oriented climate change education programs from the research findings.
Kylie Walters, Brendan Bentley
Cognitive Load Theory and the human movement effectDespite the Australian government’s national focus on improving student learning outcomes in science-based subjects, a continual decline remains. The intrinsically complex and abstract nature of science-based concepts has proven difficult for secondary students to master. Recent advances in cognitive research have provided educators with practices to improve learning and mastery. The drawing together of the principles of Cognitive Load Theory and Geary’s evolutionary educational psychology centred on specific human gesture has provided educators with the opportunity to design learning tasks sympathetic to reducing working memory load. The study investigated the effect of a specifically designed learning task using hand gestures in a Year 8 secondary school science class on the topic of particle theory/Brownian motion. The study found students who received specifically tailored content-congruent gestures had a beneficial effect on achievement and cognitive load scores when compared to students who experienced the same scientific content taught by traditional teaching methods.
Elisabeth Taylor, Christine Norris
Primary science specialists in AustraliaPrimary science specialists in Australia are educational professionals at the forefront of educating our nation for the 21st Century. They are expected to bring to primary schools a level of science knowledge and understanding that allows them to take on important leadership roles in this core curriculum learning area. They not only advise colleagues and teach science-related contents. They also extend their leadership to include Science-Technology-Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and the cross-curriculum priority Education for Sustainability. Given that science education experiences of students at primary level appear to influence students’ enthusiasm about and engagement with science later in life, it can be assumed that science specialists at primary level play a pivotal role in helping prepare future STEM professionals. Our small-scale pilot study investigated self-efficacy belief constructs of preservice teachers currently preparing to become primary science specialists at an Australian university. In particular, the inquiry focused on self-efficacy relating to STEM and Education for Sustainability (EfS). We conducted in-depth interviews which were analysed using an interpretive grounded theory approach yielding positive results. modified STEBI pre and post questionnaires for STEM and EfS were administered online resulting in low response rates. Our presentation therefore focuses primarily on the qualitative aspect.
Jinglu Zhang
Factors Affecting the Assessment Quality of Students’ Scientific Argumentation CompetencyArgumentation plays a central role in science education because it leads students toward deep learning by engaging them in the practice of constructing and evaluating scientific arguments. There has, however, been little study on developing assessment instrument for this practice despite the growing interest in the topic. This paper explores the factors that should be considered to improve scientific argumentation competency (SAC) assessment based on a three round qualitative study in an iterative process of developing a SAC assessment instrument. By analysing data from interviews of teachers, cognitive think-aloud interviews of students, and after-test follow-up interviews of students in each round of the study, the instrument was modified and prepared for the next round of the study. The author analysed all the interview transcripts using thematic analysis. The study found that overlapped factors emerged from teachers’ and students’ interview, and no new factors contributing to the instrument improvement appeared in the third round of the study. There are in total 10 factors to be considered as important in promoting SAC assessment instrument design. The author argues that these factors provide detailed information in supporting SAC assessment research although its universality has not been tested.
Rachel Sheffield, Rekha Koul
Sustainability and Environmental literacy: Examining understanding, behaviour and attitudes of 1st year tertiary studentsThis research informs ongoing environment conversations around the ‘Global crisis’, ‘Global and environmental emergency’ and the ongoing ‘war against nature’ (Greta Thunburg, 2019). Marches across Australia and around the world have seen students leave school and be granted permission to leave University to participate in marches calling for changes and government reform. However here is little information about wider Australians beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of the environment. It was determined that individuals knowledge, attitudes and beliefs would then provide a strong indication of their possible actions to make changes to protect the climate.
This project examined the environmental literacy of the 1st year University student community, that included student engineers and pre-service teacher, focusing on their knowledge, beliefs and behaviours using a pre-validated survey by Shih-Wu Liang, Wei-Ta Fang, Shin-Cheng Yeh, Shiang-Yao Liu, Huei-Min Tsai, Jui-Yu Chou & Ng, E (2018) that tested the environmental literacy of Taiwanese undergraduate students. More than 1000 1st year students completed the survey over several years and it was determined that all students demonstrated strong positive attitudes towards the environment, but many lacked key knowledge that would support their environmental literacy.
Najo Kortam, Ahmad Basheer, Nibal Barbara
The Effect of Simulation-based Biology Teaching on Students’ Achievement and Attitudes toward ScienceSimulations are teaching tools that have many benefits such as teaching improvement, facilitating learning, and developing important skills. This study examines the effectiveness of teaching cell biology with simulations and its influence on the students’ achievement and attitudes towards science. Participants of this pretest-posttest quasi experimental research included 102 middle school students from four 9th grade classes who studied the teaching unit “Cell Structure and Function”. The experimental group studied the subject with a simulation-based teaching approach, while the control group studied it with a traditional teaching approach. Mixed methods design was utilized. The research data were collected via pre and post achievement tests and a questionnaire regarding the students’ attitudes toward science. In addition, interviews were utilized to explore the applicability of simulation-based teaching of cell biology. The findings showed that the simulation-based teaching approach led to a statistically significant increase in the experimental student group’s achievement, and a significant difference in the students’ attitudes towards science, compared with the control group. The interviews revealed that students stated enjoyment, interest, satisfaction and greater understanding of complex topics. In light of these findings, it could be beneficial to increase the use of this teaching-learning strategy in teaching biology.