STEM Education in Ireland: Spotlight on Research Impact and Practice. Event Report
The aim of the symposium was to provide a forum for researchers and policy makers in Ireland to share insights and experiences of putting STEM education research into practice. A range of themed sessions throughout the day provided numerous opportunities for participants to share experiences, to discuss and to reflect on disciplinary and interdisciplinary STEM education research and to consider future possibilities for STEM education.
After the welcome by Centre Director, Dr Cliona Murphy, Prof Philip Nolan (Director General Science Foundation Ireland) gave the opening key note on “STEM Education From the personal to the political“. This was followed by a panel discussion, with Prof Nolan (SFI), Dr Padraig Murphy (DCU), Dr Niamh O Meara (Co-director, EPISTEM) and Mr Tony Riley (NCCA), who discussed the role of STEM education in addressing Global Challenges and its importance in preparing students for the future and ensuring they are equipped to tackle global challenges such as climate change, ‘fake news’ and inequalities
The second theme of the symposium was “STE and M education: context and tool or inseparable”. The aim of this session was to question the relationships between mathematics, science, technology and engineering as disciplines of STEM. In this session Dr Sandra O Neill (CASTeL), Dr Aisling Leavy (Mary Immaculate College), Ms Rachel Linney (NCCA), Dr Nially Seery (Technological University of the Shannon) and Dr Paul Van Kampen (CASTeL) talked about a range of integrated and disciplinary approaches to teaching STEM across early years, primary and post primary education levels and the importance of teacher identity and self-efficacy in implementing these approaches.
The third theme of the symposium was “STEM education research for impact”. The contributors to this session were Dr Sinead McNally (CASTeL), Dr Siuin Ni Mhuiri, (CASTeL), Dr Sally Smith, (Director of Research, DCU) and Dr Grainne Walshe (Irish Research Council). They presented on different types of impact STEM Education research can have and the implications of these for STEM education researchers. In addition to having impact via research papers, the impact of working with young children and their parents and working on the ground with teachers, students, educators, policy makers and other education stakeholders were highlighted as important impacts from both educational and funders’ perspectives.
The second key note of the symposium was given by Prof Gillian Roehrig (President of NARST) who talked about the key global challenges facing STEM education and the importance of sharing practice and the development of a common goal for STEM education
A more detailed overview of the symposium is provided in this PODCAST