A Curriculum Innovation Framework for Science, Technology and Mathematics Education
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There is growing concern about falling levels of student engagement with school science, as evidenced by studies of student attitudes, and decreasing participation at the post compulsory level. One major response to this, the Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) initiative, involves partnerships between schools and community and industry organisations in developing curriculum projects at the local level. This project fulfils many of the conditions advocated to engage students in learning in the sciences. ASISTM is underpinned by the notion of innovation. This paper describes the findings of case study research in which 16 ASISTM projects were selected as innovation exemplars. A definition of innovation and an innovation framework were developed, through which the case studies were analysed to make sense of the significance of the ideas and practices, participating actors, and outcomes of the projects. Through this analysis we argue that innovation is a powerful idea for framing curriculum development in the sciences at the local level that is generative for students and teachers, and that these ASISTM projects provide valuable models for engaging students, and for teacher professional learning.
KeywordsInnovation School-community links Science education Mathematics education Technology education Teacher professional learning
The authors acknowledge with thanks the funding support of the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Development to carry out this study. Funding from the Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Regional Australia (SiMERR) project, funded by the Australian Department of Transport and Regional Services, was also important in preparing the ground for this study.
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