2024 CASTeL 10th Science and Maths Education Research Conference

13-14 June 2024

“Beyond Boundaries – Future-proofing Science, Maths, Technology and Engineering Education”

Conference Speakers

Prof Matthew Inglis

Matthew Inglis is a Professor of Mathematical Cognition in the Department of Mathematics Education at Loughborough University, UK. His research aims to understand the cognitive processes involved in numerical thinking, logical reasoning, and mathematical practice. His work has been widely published across both psychology and education journals. In 2014 he was awarded the Selden Prize by the Mathematical Association of America, in 2017 he was named the Times Higher Education Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year, and in 2021 he was awarded the British Psychological Society Book Award for ‘An Introduction to Mathematical Cognition’.

Title: How should science and mathematics education research be communicated to teachers?

Abstract: If education research is to have any impact on practice then it needs to be communicated to practitioners in one form or another. Despite this, little research has examined how to present education research in ways that maximise the ability of teachers to make informed decisions. In this talk I first distinguish between two types of research output that we might want to communicate: educational findings and educational theories. I will then report a series of recent empirical studies that my colleagues and I have conducted which explored the effects of various choices would-be communicators of these two types of output can make. I conclude by arguing that research communication is an important but under-researched topic in education.

Dr Katriona O’Sullivan

Katriona is Senior Lecturer in the Assisting Living & Learning Institute, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University. She is also a memoirist and her first book, Poor, debuted at #1 on the Irish Non-Fiction bestseller list. She is the Principal Investigator on the STEM Passport for Inclusion project, featured recently on RTE Changemaker series. She has held research grants from the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland leading an initiative to tackle digital inequality in education.  She also successfully led the largest HEA PATH funded programme entitled Turn to Teaching which focused on diversifying teacher education. She has been an invited speaker at the World Education Forum, the European Gender Action Workshop on Women and Digitalization and most recently at the UN gender equality workshop. She has worked with Irish policy makers to develop policies around education and inclusion. She has published research on equality, gender, education, inclusion and STEM.  

Title: “We are not all the same!” Why we need to consider more than just gender equality in STEM education and employment

Abstract: We know that women are under-represented in many STEM fields, and that this poses significant challenges for the emerging workforce. But when we think about women we tend to see them as belonging to one homogenous group, we develop our equality activities based on this assumption, often failing to consider that many of us populate different social identities which can also act to support or stop women from seeing STEM as a viable option for them. In this keynote address I will discuss the importance of considering social class alongside gender in STEM participation, I will describe my own personal journey through education and employment to demonstrate the added challenge that class brings, as well as describing my research on how and class impact on girls STEM opportunities. This keynote will discuss the importance of taking an intersectional approach to STEM Participation.

Dr Cliona Murphy

Dr Cliona Murphy is an Associate Professor in Science Education at DCU’s School of STEM Education Innovation and Global Studies within the Institute of Education.  She is deeply committed to teacher education, focussing on empowering both student and practicing teachers to enhance their confidence, skills and passion for teaching science.  Cliona has a strong research background and has contributed significantly to the fields of Nature of Science, Inquiry-Based Science Education, Education for Sustainability and Climate Change Education.  Currently, she holds key positions including the Director of CASTeL, Co-chair of the science and pedagogical committee of UNESCO’s Office for Climate Education; and, Chair of the  Science Education Working Group of  The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA).

Title: STEMming the Tide: Nurturing Scientific Literacy for Active Global Citizens

Abstract: Science education, whether standalone or part of integrated STEM approaches is a fundamental component of primary and post-primary curricula globally. Research indicates that engagement with (integrated) STEM projects enhance students’ learning of the STEM disciplines, provides opportunities to focus on problem-solving in authentic situations and supports the development of key competences.  However, it is also evident that effective STEM education requires both disciplinary teaching of Mathematics and Science as well as integrated STEM projects.  Despite the significance of STEM education, many students worldwide do not pursue science education beyond second level, highlighting the critical role of early years, primary and post-primary science education in fostering scientific literacy and understanding of science’s real-world applications. In this paper I will explore the concept of scientific literacy and its development across early years, primary and post primary education.  I will reflect on the opportunities teachers miss for developing scientific literacy while implementing science curricula and consider how teachers can maximise opportunities to foster deeper understanding of science and its application and relevance in our everyday lives .