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The current excitement in schools around Makerspaces, robotics, and STEAM education is underpinned by substantial research in how students can learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics, in a connected, collaborative, interdisciplinary approach. The investment in innovative learning spaces, and resources such as 3D printers and electronics provides us with an opportunity to change the way we think about teaching and learning in STEAM disciplines. 

Dr Kate Thompson is the head of the Creative Practice Lab (CPL) at Griffith University. The CPL combines teacher education, digital technologies (including robotics and digital fabrication), with state-of-the-art video recording and online collaboration systems (including a newly designed Virtual Internship). The CPL aims to provide opportunities to engage with innovative research, and to engage in research partnerships with schools to understand pedagogical approaches to STEAM in face-to-face and online environments.

Kate will present stories from her research, including the OLT-funded STEP-UP project, connecting school students, STEAM experts, and in-service and pre-service teachers. This work allows us to understand those moments in which students connect their knowledge and skills across the STEAM fields to answer questions, solve problems and create products. 

Kate will discuss the implications for teacher practice and preservice teacher education.

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Dr Kate Thompson
Senior Lecturer, Educational Technology, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University

Kate Thompson teaches all things digital and technology related, and her latest teaching project is a new Graduate Certificate in STEAM Education. She has far too many research projects on the go. They tend to be with teams of researchers, using innovative analytic or data collection techniques, about connecting people and knowledge to answer some big questions about learning and teaching.

The underlying focus of Dr Thompson’s research is learning sciences, specifically collaborative learning and discovering patterns of learner interaction that could be used by an instructor to indicate progress through a task. Her research in this area influences how educators design for the use of a range of digital technologies as the tool around which collaboration occurs in increasingly complex face-to-face and online collaborative environments.

Kate’s research has been applied in collaborative learning and learning situations that include school students (primary and secondary), undergraduate and postgraduate students. A recent focus has been in interdisciplinary collaboration with two core groups: environmental science graduate students (USA), and STEM preservice teachers, teachers and school students (Australia). The impact of this research is widespread in the USA, through a National Science Foundation grant, the team is implementing the research-informed design of collaborative, interdisciplinary problem solving in five institutions, and another five to be added in 2017.

In Australia, Dr Thompson leads teams working with STEM preservice teachers, teachers and students in Brisbane and Canberra. This research has direct impact on preservice teacher education at three universities, including Griffith University, and including Dr Thompson’s appointment as the Program Director for a new Graduate Certificate in STEAM Education. She is involved in planning for the 2017 National Forum for enhancing the training of mathematics and science teachers.

In 2016 Dr Thompson received funding to lead the Creative Practice Lab (CPL) at Griffith University. Located in a newly constructed learning space in the School of Education and Professional Studies, the CPL combines teacher education and digital technologies, with state-of-the-art video recording and online collaboration systems. The ultimate aim of the research in the CPL is to understand pedagogical practices in contemporary learning spaces, learning analytics informed practice, and online collaboration and design.


Event details
When: Wednesday 3 May, 11:30 am - 1pm
Where: Room 612, Education Building A35
Brown Bag: Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch

About the Blog

Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).
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