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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Grant Cooper and Nicky Carr

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) perceptions of stem education, including their conceptualisations and psychosocial factors associated with teaching it. Methods used to in this study to elicit PSTs’ perceptions included surveys, online responses and drawings. PSTs in this sample commonly conceptualised stem education as involving an integrated approach, placing an emphasis on the relationships between disciplines. PSTs also frequently discussed the importance of developing students’ generic skills, using problem-based learning and inquiry-related pedagogies. Some participants positioned stem education as a way of promoting workforce skills and dispositions in their future students. PSTs generally reported positive attitudes to teaching stem education. They also reported a number of normative influences to teach stem, however there appeared to be limited opportunities to develop their teaching capacity on professional experience in schools. Relatively low levels of self-efficacy to teach particular areas of stem were reported by PSTs, particularly engineering and digital technologies. This paper contributes to debates on calls for reform to teacher education programs and discourses about PSTs perceptions of stem education.

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Kathy Jordan

Abstract

A stem discourse is emerging in Australian national and state school education policies, as governments seek to develop a vision and road map for the future. This official discourse argues in support of a national stem enterprise, so that Australia’s economic growth and way of life will be maintained. Within this discourse, schools are framed as important to increasing the participation and performance of students in stem, and to building a highly-skilled stem workforce. This chapter analyses several recent national and state school education policies to gain greater understanding of this positioning.

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Chunlian Jiang, Wee Tiong Seah, Tasos Barkatsas, Sao Ieong Leng Sylvia and Io Keong Cheong

Abstract

Values are of paramount importance in our society and strengthening values in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (stem) education has the potential to weave an interactive pattern between stem and various societal structures so that these are continuously and critically examined. It could be argued that what students value in their mathematics learning steer their decisions and actions throughout the learning process. In this context, the ‘What I Find Important’ (WIFI) Study was designed to identify what students value in mathematics learning. Survey data collected from 612 Grade 8 students were analysed by means of Principal Components Analysis (PCA), showing that Macau students value achievement; relevance; practice; technology; communication and development. In this chapter we analyse and interpret these values in the cultural context of Macau. Differences between Macau students and their peers in the other three greater China regions (i.e., The Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) are also discussed.

Series:

Sharon Fraser, Jennifer Earle and Noleine Fitzallen

Abstract

In Australia, a National stem School Education Strategy provides guidance for a whole school approach to stem, going so far as to suggest that that new teaching approaches be implemented and evaluated, and that stem be prioritised in teacher professional learning. In recent years, some Australian teachers/schools have enacted stem pedagogies, in the face of a curriculum that remains focussed on the siloed, traditional disciplines of science and mathematics, and more recently digital technologies (implicitly incorporating engineering) but a more consistent and equitable approach is needed. This chapter synthesises what is known about stem as it pertains to primary and secondary teacher practice, leadership in education, and enactment of the Australian curriculum; and summarises the implications for teacher education and professional practice in the future.