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July 2017


SYDNEY IDEAS: Education and Social Work Dean's Lecture Series

The field of education has seen significant changes in the past several decades resulting from advances in the learning sciences and learning technologies. Collaborative, inquiry-oriented pedagogies are promoted as more aligned with the knowledge creation capacity building needs for 21st century education. Instructions and instructional resources are only one part of the requisite support for this mode of learning. Effective learning requires appropriately designed learning environments (physical, digital and social) and learning experiences to achieve different targeted outcome goals. Advances in learning technologies, pervasive connectedness, the myriad forms of support for user-generation and sharing of content, as well as data analytics and visualization technologies have brought exponential increases in the modes of learning, assessment and feedback. These have brought deep changes to education as a profession.


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Two presenters juxtapose their projects to highlight new insights into research involving school-university partnerships.

Self-Directed Learning in Science, by Prof. Nancy Law, The University of Hong Kong.
This is a University-School Project that focuses on network-based capacity building and knowledge co-creation on learning and assessment design, as well as architecture for learning for scalable innovation.

Thinking Like Scientists by Dr Louise Sutherland, leader of I-Science program, The University of Sydney.
This project examines how different participants (scientists, science teachers, teacher educators and preservice science teachers) value aspects of a science-based artifact produced by high school students.



All children deserve the best possible start in life. Working within a risk and prevention paradigm, many services intervene early, supporting parents’ to cope with adversity. The problem is that telling parents what to do doesn’t work. Partnership models aim to address this, but come with their own challenges. Professionals can retreat from their expertise for fear of being a ‘bossy expert’ and undermining partnership.

This seminar will report findings from a 3-year study across three Australian States, involving over 100 professionals and parents in diverse services. It takes a cultural-historical perspective, framing partnership as a mind-expanding encounter in which professionals and parents collaborate on complex problems. The presentation will reveal the diverse forms of expertise involved, providing answers to questions such as: How can we help parents escape from impossible situations where motives to care for their children pull them in opposite directions? How can professionals guide parent’s learning what they can’t know what is to be learned in advance? Why is the difference between goals and ‘what matters’ to parents so significant? And how can professionals cope with the need to work with incomplete, fragile and uncertain knowledge about those they are trying to help?


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