Friday 25 November 2022. 12:30pm - 1:00pm

Catherine Fargher, John De Nobile

Modular PD enables pathways for generalist teachers to ‘learn as they teach’ science investigation with Dr Egg Adventures Laboratory digital resources

Contact Author: Catherine Fargher (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

School of Education, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2113, Australia


With an ever-increasing demand for quality STEM learning in the 21st century, teachers in Australia face certain challenges that make professional development in this field difficult to achieve and maintain. There is a need for efficiency in STEM training for generalist teachers in primary schools, with few primary teachers having a strong background or tertiary qualification in STEM subjects (Timms et al. 2018, p. 18). On top of this, during 2 years of COVID teaching conditions, many state schools were only required to teach literacy and numeracy during the lockdowns, meaning many students have fallen behind in essential STEM skills. Now, many schools must address these short-falls in teacher support for students' engagement with STEM subjects.

To remedy this ongoing problem, we are studying the implementation of a Modular Professional Development (‘modular PD’) program to equip current primary teachers with STEM training. This enables pathways for generalist teachers by linking STEM training with literacy, as well as using modular PD to ‘learn as they teach’ in the classroom. The online portal also supports primary school students' engagement with and understanding of STEM concepts.

Our current product, the Dr Egg Adventures Laboratory, has been co-designed with leading STEM educator and MQ School of Education Senior Lecturer Dr Anne Forbes, and has been funded by MyScience@MQ, the New South Wales (NSW) Departments of Industry and Treasury. The Laboratory has been trialed with participating teachers in 6 NSW schools during 2020-21 to determine its effectiveness as a training tool for STEM skills with students and teachers.