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Isabelle’s research area is in STEM education and careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Isabelle’s doctoral thesis focused on rigorously measuring the impacts of both formal and informal STEM education on public scientific literacy. Her current research focuses on gender equity in STEM—from primary education to the STEM workforce. Her research also centres around evaluation to assess the effectiveness of STEM programs and initiatives.
August 2019 - September 2020
- Chief Education and Research Officer
Astrobiology is an ideal context to engage students with the processes of science. However, there is a problem in measuring the effectiveness of engaging students with astrobiology where the learning outcome is aimed at improving student views of science. Most studies suggest little to no change in students' views of science, especially in short ex...
To date, true/false, multiple-choice and short answer exams have been the standard tools for summative assessment in online courses. These techniques are easy to administer and relatively quick ways to measure large groups of students, but they are not the most sensitive and accurate assessment methods. We report on the development and testing of a...
What evidence is there that any public communication of space science is effective? In 2001, Sless and Shrensky pointed out that the evidence of the effectiveness of science communication in general is about as "… strong as the evidence linking rainmaking ceremonies to the occurrence of rain" . In 2017, very little has changed in effectively mea...
What evidence is there that any public communication of astrobiology is effective in changing or influencing the understanding, attitudes and perceptions of science? In 2001, Sless and Shrensky pointed out that the evidence of the effectiveness of science communication in general is about as “… strong as the evidence linking rainmaking ceremonies t...
Background Much has been written about the need to increase inquiry-based learning opportunities in high school science curricula, authenticity of the science experiences and student interest in science. The literature points to the need to engage students in authentic, inquiry-based science experiences in order for them to understand the true natu...
The 30 year decline in young people undertaking science in senior secondary school includes a decline in Earth Science study. The Mars Lab is a federally funded two year partnership between the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney University, and the University of NSW, which delivers direct and practical learner engagement with contemporary science and engine...
The objective of the proposed research is to measure the effectiveness of informal science education (ISE) activities in achieving their objectives, that is, to increase overall interest and engagement in science, knowledge and understanding of scientific content and processes and its relevance to society, and attitudes towards science. ISE activities vary in style, format and participant involvement from one-way transmission of knowledge from scientists to the public, to interactive, participatory events where there is an exchange of ideas and knowledge between the public and scientists. Therefore, the research will also seek to identify the types (style and format) of activities that are most effective at achieving the objectives of ISE. The research will seek to answer the following research questions: 1. Does participation in ISE activities change participants’ attitudes towards and perceptions of science? More specifically, does it: a. increase their trust in science and scientists; b. increase their understanding of the nature of science (how science is practiced); c. improve their opinions on its relevance and value to society? 2. What types of ISE activities are most effective at changing participants’ attitudes towards and perceptions of science (if any)? 3. Are we preaching to ‘the choir’, and if so, does that matter?