On Tuesday 26th June, the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and learning (CASTeL), hosted the eighth in a series of biennial Science and Mathematics Education Conferences, SMEC 2018. The conference theme was Connecting Research, Policy and Practice in STEM Education. Professor Merrilyn Goos, Director of EPI*STEM, University of Limerick presented a keynote address entitled ‘Research that makes a difference: Why impact matters’. The second keynote, presented by Professor Anna Steinweg, University of Bamberg, was entitled ‘Quality Enhancement in Mathematics Education: Some Insights into German Initiatives and Research. CASTeL member, Professor Deirdre Butler, School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies provided the final keynote address entitled ‘STE(A)M: More the sum of its parts.’ Altogether 37 different oral presentations and workshops took place which demonstrated the vibrancy of STEM education research across Ireland.
As part of SMEC 2018, the Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning hosted the SMEC Early Career Researchers’ Event. This is the first time that the SMEC conference had a strand dedicated to early career researchers. Researchers (ranging from PME to PhD) presented posters on their research, and took part in small group discussion. There were 18 posters presented on the day, with the research spanning across all STEM disciplines. 22 researchers took part in the small group discussions, where they shared more insights into their research and got the opportunity to make valuable connections. Dr Aisling Leavy, Mary Immaculate College and general editor editor of Irish Educational Studies provided a wonderful close to the day with a talk entitled ‘Getting Published: Insights from a journal editor’.