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Series:

Tricia McLaughlin and Belinda Kennedy

Abstract

Whilst much of the emphasis upon stem in Australia has focussed upon the need for greater learning opportunities for students and emerging skill gaps, little attention has been directed towards the academic workforce and their capacity to deliver stem education in tertiary contexts. This chapter reports on a nationally funded Australian Government project in building capacity for academics from stem and other disciplines to engage in cross-disciplinary activities. Two of the national case studies are selected for discussion in this chapter. In these case studies, staff awareness and confidence in stem cross-disciplinary work increased, and their understanding of the value of such cross-disciplinary work for students also increased. These case studies provide one model of ensuring that academic leadership is at the forefront of stem learning in the future.

Series:

Amanda Berry, Tricia McLaughlin and Grant Cooper

Abstract

This chapter reports a research project aimed to develop pre-service science teachers’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary stem contexts and pedagogies through participation in a stem mentoring initiative for schoolgirls. In this project, primary and secondary pre-service teachers (PSTs) volunteered to work as mentors, collaborating in the design of learning experiences suitable for school-aged girls, together with teacher educators and researchers in stem at an Australian University. Outcomes of the study focus on main themes of: PSTs’ self-perceptions as emerging stem educators, their understandings of stem and developing a pedagogy around stem, their understandings of school girls’ interest, engagement and learning in stem, and the value of the project for teachers in preparation.

Series:

Jan H. van Driel, Tessa E. Vossen, Ineke Henze and Marc J. de Vries

Abstract

This chapter describes an approach to stem education that focuses on connecting research and design as core practices across the stem disciplines. In this approach, school-industry partnerships provide students with opportunities to acquire real world stem experiences. Collaboration between teachers, within and across schools, and with stem professionals working in local industries are an essential element in the implementation of this innovation. Consequently, schools and teachers are empowered to develop and implement a version of stem education that fits their local context, student population and resources. Research is needed to investigate the impact of this approach on the attitudes and behaviours of students, teachers and stem professionals.

Series:

Grant Cooper and Li Ping Thong

Abstract

With the advancement of immersive virtual reality (VR) there are various possibilities with the introduction of these technologies. Preparing students to effectively navigate, contribute to, and participate in virtual environments appears to be an important set of stem-related competencies in the future. This chapter describes the VR Education Model (VEM), describing elements of this technology and its possible application in the classroom. One factor in student underachievement in stem subjects may be a heavy reliance upon textual representations at the expense of more visuo spatial representations. Therefore, the use of VR may be particularly beneficial when representing and learning about stem-related concepts. The authors envisage a number of scenarios that include but are not limited to the possibilities described in this chapter. The implementation of VR is discussed in terms of a broader stem vision that meets the unique needs and priorities of each school.

Series:

Theodosia Prodromou and Zsolt Lavicza

Abstract

This chapter reports on the analysis of the unstructured interviews of mathematics teachers who reflected on the classroom discussions between researchers, teachers and middle school students who engaged in critical and creative thinking during solving complex and authentic problems that require students to make meanings of the data from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (stem) disciplines; promote discussions to deepen their statistical understanding; and enhance productive classroom norms for statistical inquiries. Outcomes of this research study include identification and illustration of classroom norms for statistical inquiries and facilitate students’ inquiry-based statistical learning and teachers’ planning for inquiry learning.

Series:

Dianne Siemon, Natalie Banks and Shalveena Prasad

Abstract

Across the science, technology and engineering fields there is very little of any substance that can be achieved without the capacity to recognise, represent and reason about relationships between quantities, that is, to think multiplicatively. However, recent research has found that at least 25% and up to 55% of Australian Year 8 students are not demonstrating a capacity for multiplicative thinking. This helps explain the decline in the relative performance of Australian students on international assessments of mathematics and the significant decline in the proportion of Year 12 students undertaking the more advanced mathematics courses. But the data also reveal significant inequities in that students from low socioeconomic communities are far more likely to be represented in the 45 to 55% range than students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who are more likely to be represented in the 25 to 35% range. This situation is untenable where the fastest growing employment opportunities require some form of stem qualification. The chapter presents evidence from two large scale research projects to make a case for focussing on identifying and responding appropriately to students’ learning needs in relation to multiplicative thinking as a key priority in stem education.

Series:

Wendy Nielsen, Helen Georgiou, Sarah Howard and Tricia Forrester

Abstract

Recent curriculum and regulatory changes in K-6 education require an integrative focus by primary teachers. Initial teacher education (ITE) responds to these changes with program innovation to support preservice teacher competencies, subject matter knowledge and pedagogical skill. stem as a recent rhetorical focus provides new opportunity and impetus for ITE programs to support preservice primary teachers to integrate the stem disciplines more deliberately. This chapter provides a number of examples of ITE program elements across the stem Key Learning Areas that illustrate how preservice teachers can be positioned to take an integrative approach to science, technology and mathematics.

Series:

Andrew Gilbert and Lisa Borgerding

Abstract

This case study delves into a five-day STEAM camp at a Reggio Emilia inspired pre-school setting where children explored stem content that included a strong Arts component. The results suggest that integrated STEAM activities helped young children construct understandings for the properties of air and facilitated engagement in argumentation surrounding those concepts. Young children demonstrated rich possibilities and potential for learning across STEAM and this project serves as a reminder that our youngest learners are capable of engagement in stem particularly when explored using the Arts for design, testing and communication of their burgeoning ideas.