ECE Seminar Series: Collaborative research partnerships to create new STEM learning ecologies Event as iCalendar

22 November 2018

4:30 - 5:30pm

Venue: J1 Lecture Theatre

Location: Gate 3, Faculty of Education and Social Work, 74 Epsom Avenue, Auckland 1023.

Cost: Free.

Website: Register

Professor Nicola Yelland
Professor Nicola Yelland, Professor of Early Childhood Studies,Flinders University, South Australia

In this presentation Professor Yelland will consider a research project that involved multiple partners, roles and perspectives. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Bridge project was initiated by the Department for Education in South Australia in order to create contexts for collaborations between pre-school educators and new entrant teachers in six sites across the state. Using STEM learning as the context, the focus of the project was on building bridges to support the transition of learners between pre-school and school. 

The project's research questions were:

  • In what ways can pre-school and reception teachers collaborate to facilitate transition? 
  • Does STEM learning provide a useful context to encourage collaborative learning designs for pre-school and reception learners?
  • What pedagogies are enabled in this collaboration? 

The findings focus on the shared experiences of creating contexts to extend the educators' pedagogical repertoire, and having access to the professional language to articulate the shift in pedagogies over the course of the year. The project explored the ways in which the project elevated pedagogical conversations around children’s voice and advocacy, the practices of noticing and generating questions as the basis of investigations, and extending play-based inquiries into the school context. 

In re-thinking the learning ecologies that the young children were immersed in, the educators reflected on the changes in their ideas and attitudes to learning over the year. The project highlighted the educators' increased awareness about the value of flexible approaches to the use of space and shared materials, to build the connections between the pre-school and school environs, and approaches to pedagogies and learning. They also reflected on the ways in which their different curriculum imperatives could be incorporated into these changing learning ecologies. Finally, the educators reflected on the shift from a traditional view of transition as being "school ready" to one in which discussions of pedagogy were elevated to focus on the learner.

About the speaker

Nicola Yelland is the Professor of Early Childhood Studies in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. Her teaching and research interests have been related to the use of new technologies in school and community contexts. She has also worked in East Asia and examined the culture and curriculum of early childhood settings. Nicola’s work engages with educational issues with regard to varying social, economic and political conditions and thus requires multidisciplinary perspectives. 

Recent publications include: Reimagining play with new technologies in L. Arnott (Ed.) Digital technologies and learning in the early years. (London, UK: Sage) and Yelland, N J & Leung, W M, Policy into practice in Hong Kong pre-primary kindergartens: the impact of a reform agenda viewing early childhood as the foundation for lifelong learning, International Journal of Early Years.

Nicola is the editor of a new edited collection with Dana Franz-Bentley: Found in translation: Connecting reconceptualist thinking with contemporary early childhood practices (New York: Routledge). Nicola is the founding co-editor of two journals, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood and Global Studies of Childhood, and the series editor of Changing Images of Early Childhood with Routledge (New York).