Contemporary Approaches to Research in Mathematics, Science, Health and Environmental Education

24 – 25 November 2016
Deakin University
Melbourne City Centre
Level 3, 550 Bourke St Melbourne

Sponsored by the Research for Educational Impact (REDI) Strategic Research Centre in conjunction with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (STEME) Research Group.

Event details

The symposium will focus on practical and theoretical aspects of research methodology. It follows the highly successful symposia held annually from 1993 to 2005 and again from 2010 to 2015, in which methodological techniques and issues (such as socio-cultural perspectives, productive use of quantitative data, collaborative practitioner research designs, analysing discourse) have been discussed in a lively, informal setting.

It is expected that academic researchers and higher degree research students will gain from the symposium. Please encourage your higher degree students to come even if you cannot attend.

Keynote speakers

Catherine Beavis, Deakin University

Catherine Beavis

Catherine Beavis is Professor of Education at Deakin University. Her research investigates digital games and young people’s engagement with them, exploring the ways in which games work as new textual worlds for players, embodying and extending ‘new’ literate and multimodal literacies and practices, with a focus on changing expectations and orientations towards literacy and learning, and the implications for contemporary curriculum, pedagogy and assessment of the online world.

The Dangers and Delights of Working with Digital Games

Abstract: The potential of digital games to enhance learning, their attractiveness as immersive and multimodal forms, and the ways in which many popular commercial games seem themselves to embody principles of good learning and promote twenty first century literacies, has led to great interest in harnessing the power of games to support learning in schools. Serious games and the Gamification movement provide one aspect of this enthusiasm; another is the exploration of links between young people’s in and out of school digital cultures and play, and what can be learnt from that to enrich curriculum, learning and pedagogy. In addition this provides opportunities to learn more about the nature of contemporary multimodal literacy, participation and communication. Working with digital games in school clearly has much to offer, but doing so also entails complex questions consequent on bringing digital culture into the classroom, ranging from issues of ethics, privacy and identity, representation, rights and meanings, through to challenges presented by curriculum and school structures, game design and affordances, and fluidities between in and out of school play. This presentation addresses promises and possibilities, and a range of ethical, practical and conceptual issues entailed in researching digital games in school.

Richard Lehrer, Vanderbilt University

Richard Lehrer

Richard Lehrer is Frank W. Mayborn Professor of Education at Vanderbilt University. A former science teacher, he is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, a member of the National Academy of Education, and the 2009 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s award for Distinguished Contributions in Applications of Psychology to Education. Working in concert with teachers, he focuses on the design of classroom learning environments that support the growth and development of learning about foundational concepts and epistemic practices in science and in mathematics. In mathematics education, he investigates development of children’s (K-6) reasoning about space, measure, data, and chance when instruction is guided by teacher knowledge of student reasoning.

 Constituting Experiment

Abstract: On the face of it, experiment is a relatively simple encounter with social and natural systems, one predicated on random assignment to conditions with unproblematic and fixed relations between measures and these conditions. In this view, experiment is primarily a method, one stressing design and statistical interpretation arranged to maximize causal warrants and replication. These are clearly important concerns. Yet social studies of the history of experiment suggest a more nuanced view, one involving an open texture between models and phenomena, between measures and characteristics of a natural system, and between material conditions and contingencies of outcomes. I take as an exemplar a recently concluded experiment conducted in the domain of statistical reasoning, where the intention was to support the growth of statistical reasoning by engaging students in statistical practices of representing, measuring, and modeling variability. The scale of the experiment (random assignment of 40 classrooms) spurred new inquiry about professional development, classroom interactions, and the nature of student learning.


Thursday 24th November

9:30 Catherine BeavisWorking with Digital Games
10:30 Morning tea
10:50 Session 1
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Sessions 2, 3
5:00 Sessions end
6:00 Dinner

Friday 25th November

9:00 Rich Lehrer – Constituting Experiment
Morning Tea
10:20 Session 4
12:10 Lunch
1:00 Sessions 5, 6
4:45 Closing session
5:00 Symposium ends


The fee includes morning and afternoon tea, and lunch.

Full registration: $100
Students not in full-time employment: $60

Costs are waived for Deakin University staff and full-time PhD students

Register now

Places at this symposium are strictly limited and early registrations are advised to avoid missing out. To guarantee a place, register now.


Expression of interest: presentations

To register your expression of interest, please complete the EOI submission form by Wednesday 19th October 2016.

Presentations at the symposium will be grouped into sessions of four to five presentations designed to promote focused discussion of a methodological issue. The methodological issues should be broadly related to mathematics, science, health, or environmental education. Each session will provide the opportunity for extended discussion of methodological issues, theoretical framing, research design, instruments and their application, or approaches to analysis, following a number of brief, themed presentations. There is equal time devoted to discussion as to presentations.

Each of the two days will feature a keynote speaker introducing a methodological perspective.

Presentations will be of 10-15 minutes duration. Each presentation should briefly outline the research question being addressed and finish with the findings or likely outcomes of the research, but should focus mainly on the research methodology. Reports on work in progress are welcome.

If you are interested in presenting at this symposium please register your expression of interest using the form at the bottom of this page.Presenters will be asked to submit a short written paper of 3 to 5 pages for online publication in the symposium proceedings.

CAR Symposium Template25.3KB

Key information


Deakin University
Melbourne City Centre
Level 3, 550 Bourke St Melbourne


24 – 25 November 2016
9am – 5pm


Full registration: $100
Students not in full-time employment: $60

The fee includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Contact us

For enquiries please email: