Tuesday 9 August 2016

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Tuesday, August 9th
9:15 AM

Innovation, snakes and ladders, and the greatest equation

Geoff Garrett, Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist

Great Hall 2

9:15 AM - 10:00 AM

11:15 AM

Addressing the STEM challenge through targeted teaching : What’s the evidence?

Dianne Siemon, RMIT University

Great Hall 2

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Numerous public reports are pointing to the critical importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to Australia’s future, but the number of students studying STEM subjects in senior years is declining, and many students in the primary and middle years of schooling do not have access to the ways of thinking and learning needed to succeed in school mathematics. Research over the past 10 years has established the critical role of multiplicative thinking in building student knowledge and confidence at this level of schooling, but there is a need for an expanded, evidence-based learning and teaching framework to support the development of mathematical reasoning more generally, if students are to have a realistic chance of actively participating in a STEM future. This session will report on the findings and experience of an Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Programme (AMSPP) Priority Project in 2013 that explored the efficacy of formative assessment and targeted teaching in relation to multiplicative thinking in a number of secondary schools around Australia. It will also introduce the work of the Reframing Mathematical Futures II AMSPP project, which is aimed at building sustainable, evidence-based, integrated learning and teaching resources to support the development of mathematical reasoning in Years 7 to 10 in relation to algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.

Coding in the curriculum : Fad or foundational?

Leon Sterling, Swinburne University of Technology

Mezzanine M1

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

There has been an unprecedented push to revitalise interest in STEM education. Much of the discussion of the ’T’ in STEM education has been whether coding should be a central element of school education. This talk investigates the arguments for and against ‘coding in the curriculum.’ No sensible person thinks that teaching coding in the classroom will produce master programmers’, any more than teaching music in the school curriculum will produce master musicians. However the teaching of music can encourage some students to become musicians and the same would be true for coding. The issue is more what concepts are addressed in teaching coding, and how essential they are for engendering an understanding of the digital world around us, and improving productivity and innovation for which ICT skills and capability are essential.

Targeting all of STEM in the primary school : Engineering design as a foundational process

Lyn English, Queensland University of Technology

Mezzanine M2

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

With the increased national and international focus on advancing STEM education, it is important to ensure all of its disciplines are represented in the curriculum. To-date, the STEM acronym has been used largely in reference to science, with less emphasis on the remaining disciplines – especially engineering. Yet engineering design, a core component of engineering education, is now seen internationally as a foundational process linking the STEM disciplines, not just confined to engineering. Engineering concepts, design processes, representing, modelling, and innovative design-based problem-solving are all featured within the new Design and Technologies Curriculum. This paper will explore the nature and roles of these engineering components and discuss ways in which they might be integrated within primary school students’ STEM learning. The paper will include findings from STEM-based problem-solving research with a focus on engineering learning.

Why is a STEAM curriculum perspective crucial to the 21st century?

Peter Charles Taylor, Murdoch University

Mezzanine M3

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Well-recognised as a powerful driver of national economic growth, STEM lies at the heart of calls worldwide for educational reform. In Australia, Chief Scientists are calling for STEM education to better engage students on STEM-related career pathways. In the USA, STEM educators are being urged to produce graduates with creative and innovative abilities required of an increasingly high-tech workforce. However, an equally important challenge for STEM education is to prepare young people with general capabilities for active participation in community and professional forums for addressing ethical issues associated with the global impact of science and technology. Education for sustainable development remains a pressing priority. Thus, STEM educators are being challenged to design curricula and pedagogies to develop students' disciplinary knowledge and skills as well as their abilities as critical consumers, creative and ethically astute citizens, innovative designers, good communicators and collaborative decision-makers. There is an international wellspring of educators endeavouring to meet this challenge by combining STEM and the Arts to produce a multi-literate citizenry and workforce for the 21st Century. In this presentation I will outline how two secondary schools in Western Australia are developing interdisciplinary STEAM curricula.

Activating teachers’ creativity and moral purpose in science education

Martin Westwell, Flinders University
Sonia Cooke, Morphett Vale East School R–7 (SA)

Mezzanine M4

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Over the last three years, the Scientist in Residence program (a collaboration between the Department of Education and Child Development, and Flinders University) investigated a model of professional learning in science education that capitalised upon teachers’ moral purpose and drove their creativity. Insight into how teachers transformed their science classrooms is provided through examples of activities, work samples and clips of teachers describing how they changed their practice and how that, in turn, changed the engagement and achievement of the children. These resources will serve to illustrate some of the principles of practice that the teachers drew upon. In particular, starting with the Science as a Human Endeavour strand of the curriculum and letting the Science Understandings serve this purpose. Data about the shift in teachers’ perceptions and practice speaks to the characteristics of the professional learning – making time and space for teachers to achieve a closer match between their classroom practice and their professional identity.

12:00 PM

Lunch session

Plaza 1

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

1:00 PM

Debate : That research shows the what and the how of improved STEM learning

Great Hall 2

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

2:30 PM

Conference close

Geoff N. Masters, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

Great Hall 2

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM