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Stemming the science 'brain drain'

Deakin seeks to reverse the flow away from maths and science in high schools.





The Age of STEM Educational policy and practice across the world in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (2014)

An image of the STEM book

by Brigid Freeman, Simon Marginson, Russell Tytler (Editors)
Available from Routledge.

Across the world STEM (learning and work in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has taken central importance in education and the economy in a way that few other disciplines have. STEM competence has become seen as key to higher productivity, technological adaptation and research-based innovation. No area of educational provision has a greater current importance than the STEM disciplines yet there is a surprising dearth of comprehensive and world-wide information about STEM policy, participation, programs and practice.

This book is a state of the art survey of the global trends and major country initiatives in STEM. It gives an international overview of issues such as:

  • STEM strategy and coordination
  • curricula, teaching and assessment
  • women in STEM
  • indigenous students
  • research training
  • STEM in the graduate labour markets
  • STEM breadth and STEM depth

Mobile Teachers, Teacher Identity and International Schooling (2014)

An image of the mobile teachers book

by Ruth Arber, Jill Blackmore and Athena Vongalis Macrow (Editors). Available from Sense Publishers.

This book focuses on the increased mobility of teachers and curriculum and what it means for the expansion of international schooling. Teacher and curriculum mobility is considered within the wider context of the rising intensity and rapidity of uneven flows of educational ideas, goods, services and knowledge in the globally interconnected and trans- cultural world of the 21st century (Appadurai, 1996).

The processes of internationalisation in schooling can be understood as interrelated flows of educational goods (curriculum, certification, accreditation), people (students and teachers), ideas (policy), images (markets), culture (inclusivity and cultural diversity), and money (school funds) (Appadurai, 1996). Internationalisation in education is of itself not new, but it has taken on different forms framed historically by various forms of colonialism, imperialism and capitalism (Rhee, 2009). The international teacher labour market is also not new, with various movements of educators (academics, teachers, teachers of English).

Cultural exchange programs are also not new. However, what is new is the rapid intensity with which the mobility of educators, educational goods and people has increased for schools. While the globalisation of higher education has developed its international character in terms of scholarly networks and labour markets, the internationalisation of education is no longer confined to higher education but has spread to education generally. Education, across all levels, has become a globalised business (Ball, 2010). Specifically, the field of international education is radically changing as multinational companies such as Pearson offer packages to governments in developing economies that are struggling to meet demand.

These 'edu-packages' include teacher and leadership training, school buildings, technology infrastructure, curriculum and assessment modules, as well as recruitment and professional development of teachers (Ball, 2010). What is new is the scale and intensity of flows, with Western educational expansion into new markets in China, Indonesia, the Middle East and Japan, most evident in the popularity of the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Western, Asian and Middle Eastern nations, with over 4600 schools teaching the IB globally.

Educational Research and Innovation - Innovative Learning Environments (2014)

An image of the innovative learning environments book cover
by OECD. Available from

How to design a powerful learning environment so that learners can thrive in the 21st century? OECD's Innovative Learning Environments (ILE) is an ambitious international study that responds to this challenging question. The study earlier released the influential publication The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice. This companion volume is based on 40 in-depth case studies of powerful 21st century learning environments that have taken the innovation journey.

Innovative Learning Environments presents a wealth of international material and features a new framework for understanding these learning environments, organised into eight chapters. Richly illustrated by the many local examples, it argues that a contemporary learning environment should:

  • Innovate the elements and dynamics of its "pedagogical core".
  • Become a "formative organisation" through strong design strategies with corresponding learning leadership, evaluation and feedback.
  • Open up to partnerships to grow social and professional capital, and to sustain renewal and dynamism.
  • Promote 21st century effectiveness through the application of the ILE learning principles.

In conclusion it offers pointers to how this can be achieved, including the role of technology, networking, and changing organisational cultures. This report will prove to be an invaluable resource for all those interested in schooling. It will be of particular interest to teachers, education leaders, parents, teacher educators, advisors and decision-makers, as well as the research community.

Constructing Representations to Learn in Science (2013)

An image of the book cover
by Russell Tytler, Vaughan Prain, Peter Hubber and Bruce Waldrip (Editors). Available from SensePublishers.

Current research into student learning in science has shifted attention from the traditional cognitivist perspectives of conceptual change to socio-cultural and semiotic perspectives that characterize learning in terms of induction into disciplinary literacy practices.

This book builds on recent interest in the role of representations in learning to argue for a pedagogical practice based on students actively generating and exploring representations. The book describes a sustained inquiry in which the authors worked with primary and secondary teachers of science, on key topics identified as problematic in the research literature.

Data from classroom video, teacher interviews and student artifacts were used to develop and validate a set of pedagogical principles and explore student learning and teacher change issues. The authors argue the theoretical and practical case for a representational focus. The pedagogical approach is illustrated and explored in terms of the role of representation to support quality student learning in science.

Separate chapters address the implications of this perspective and practice for structuring sequences around different concepts, reasoning and inquiry in science, models and model based reasoning, the nature of concepts and learning, teacher change, and assessment. The authors argue that this representational focus leads to significantly enhanced student learning, and has the effect of offering new and productive perspectives and approaches for a number of contemporary strands of thinking in science education including conceptual change, inquiry, scientific literacy, and a focus on the epistemic nature of science.

Digital Games: Literacy in action (2012)

An image of the book cover
by Catherine Beavis, Joanne O'Mara, Lisa McNeice. Available from Wakefield Press.

Digital Games: Literacy in action is the result of a wide-ranging investigation into the educational possibilities involved in young people's games. From their creation in the classroom to analysing games and the world of games as text, academics and teachers are now taking seriously the serious play of young people.

The contributors use the interaction between the theoretical frameworks of games as text and games as action to explore a wide of range of issues relevant to the teaching of English and literacy. These include understanding games as media texts, the place of digital culture in young people's lives, the narrative and visual design components of games, exploring concepts of role play and identity in games, the potential for games to engage disengaged students, and issues of gender and social interaction in game playing.

Earlier books (2007-2009)


Discussion Papers

Learning From the Margins working conference papers (July 12-13, 2004)

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

27th February 2015