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World Class Research Benefits Schools

4 October 2005

World Class Research Benefits Schools And Community

Leading educational research aimed at impacting classroom practice and enhancing students’ learning is happening in the heart of the Waikato.

At the forefront of this research is Waikato University’s Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research (WMIER). Since its inception in 2000 WMIER has gained a national and global reputation as a leading educational research centre and numerous research projects are currently underway.

Professor Alister Jones is the recently appointed Director of WMIER and has more than 20 years of research experience in science and technology classroom practice. Prior to his present position he was the university’s Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Education Research (CSTER).

At his inaugural lecture on Friday October 14, Professor Jones will talk about his personal insights into the journey involved in developing a new curriculum. Professor Jones was instrumental in the development of the technology curriculum which was implemented in New Zealand schools in 1999.

Principals, technology teachers, educational researchers, policy makers or any interested party are invited to hear Professor Jones speak. The topic of his speech is “Reflecting on the development of a new school subject: implications for curriculum, teaching and learning.” Professor Jones will discuss technology as a developing subject and will examine the influences of politics and the way different perceptions of a subject influence its implementation. He will offer ways in which to build research directions for a new subject and the professional development that is needed.

Professor Jones says technology is a subject that is particularly relevant and important in today’s technological world.

“If students are to take part in the world then they need to understand it. If we are going to move this subject forward we need to look at what is happening in classrooms in regards to teachers and children’s learning.”

Professor Jones is widely published in science and technology. One of his current projects is the development of the Biotechnology Learning Hub. This is an online resource that unites the biotechnology and education sectors to provide effective biotechnology learning experiences for teachers and students. Some of his other projects include the Digital Horizons Laptops Evaluation and the Classroom InSiTe Project, which is a collaborative project with CSTER staff, Dr Bronwen Cowie and Dr Judy Moreland. The Classroom InSiTe project examines effective classroom interactions between teachers and pupils in science and technology.

Professor Jones says he is excited to be part of an Institute that is known for its world class research and its ability to inform policy and make a difference in classrooms.

“At WMIER we attract a lot of international visitors. We can also have an impact nationally because we are talking with schools. Students benefit because their teachers are involved in research that enhances classroom learning.”

To hear Professor Jones speak come to the University of Waikato’s Lecture Theatre TL 2.26 on Friday October 14 at 4pm. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the School of Education Staff Common Room.


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