Opportunities and obstacles for STEM education

Deans lecture series 2017

Although the acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has gained substantial traction around the globe in the last decade, its educational implication is much debated. Interpretations of STEM education differ in their emphases, for instance, on interdisciplinarity or integration, on developing skills such as critical thinking or creativity, or on introducing contemporary content (e.g., robotics, virtual reality). In any case, there is an expectation that STEM education will boost student interest and achievement, and that pursuing STEM studies will enhance students’ employability. Yet, implementation of STEM education poses serious challenges for schools and teachers in terms of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and organisation. This presentation will explore the longitudinal research needed to determine the impact of STEM education on students, teachers and schools.

Professor Jan van Driel

Professor Jan van Driel

A former chemistry teacher, Professor van Driel has a PhD in chemical education from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He was a teacher trainer and educational consultant at Delft University of Technology, before joining Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching in 1995. He went on to become the Professor of Science Education in 2006 and Director of ICLON, Leiden University, before moving to Australia in 2016 to become the Melbourne Graduate School of Education’s inaugural Professor of Science Education.

A world leading scholar, Professor van Driel’s work is influential in informing the professional development of science teachers and he has done extensive research in the domains of teaching, teaching education and higher education. He is co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Science Education and was Vice-President of the Netherlands Educational Research Association from 2001-2009. Until recently Professor van Driel was chair of the Interuniversity Centre for Teacher Education and secretary of the board of the Technasium Foundation (Netherlands).