Oda Heidi Bolstad
I had the privilege of spending three months in the EPI*STEM Centre at the University of Limerick. I was a visiting doctoral student in the Centre from September to December 2019 as part of my PhD in mathematics education. My stay was funded by the Norwegian National Research School in Teacher Education (NAFOL).
In my PhD project, I study teaching for mathematical literacy/numeracy in Norwegian schools. As part of my theoretical framework, I use a model developed by Professor Merrilyn Goos, director of EPI*STEM. She is an experienced and recognised numeracy researcher and the opportunity to learn from her was my main reason for visiting. It was interesting and inspiring to get to know her and her colleagues in EPI*STEM and to learn more about their work.
Norwegian PhD students are encouraged to spend some time abroad during their fellowship. I found it interesting and informative to work in a different research community and experience a different country and culture. It has been educative both professionally and personally. I believe that my visit can contribute to enhanced collaboration in educational research between our two nations.
I want to thank everyone in EPI*STEM for being so warm and welcoming. I look forward to seeing you all again.
Faculty of Humanities and Education
Volda University College
I was a visiting scholar from the University of Tasmania. I arrived at the Centre in April as part of an extended stay in Ireland combining study and family commitments.
My PhD concerns an investigation of interconnections between the Arts and STEM. I felt very welcomed at EPI*STEM and enjoyed the conversations I had with other students from as far afield as Indonesia, Cyprus and Turkey, and on topics as wide ranging as sean-nós and thinking in pure maths.
During my time in Ireland I was engaged in writing on the theory of STEM/STEAM, arts-based practice (ABR) as a qualitative research methodology and practice, as in creating artworks that can be explored for data.”
PhD Candidate: Arts practice-based research and STEM
(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
Projects: Powerful Knowledge
College of Arts, Law and Education (CALE)
University of Tasmania
During the Spring semester I had the fantastic opportunity for a Visiting fellowship at EPI-STEM, University of Limerick. During this time, I continued a project begun with Prof Merrilyn Goos. The project involves investigating the beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning of Australian Mathematics Teacher Educators, both mathematicians and mathematics educators, who teach secondary mathematics pre-service teachers. By including other Irish colleagues this project has been extended to investigate the beliefs of Irish Mathematics Teacher Educators who teach post-primary mathematics pre-service teachers. This cross-cultural study will allow us to understand the beliefs of Mathematics Teacher Educators which will lead to the development of strategies to increase the collaboration across the boundaries between mathematicians and mathematics educators. By understanding the variation in beliefs of Mathematics Teacher Educators, mathematics educators will be able to have conversations with preservice teachers about preservice teachers’ own beliefs and how they develop and the influence that beliefs have on their future students’ beliefs about mathematics.
I was welcomed by EPI-STEM staff and we had many discussions exploring cultural differences between Irish and Australian mathematics teaching practices, teachers’ beliefs and curriculum documents. Other conversations explored how to teach post-primary preservice teachers how to plan and teach inquiry-based science activities. These have both lead to collaborative projects in both countries.
I am extremely grateful for my time at EPI-STEM and the warm welcome and the professional conversations we have begun.
Dr Margaret Marshman
Senior Lecturer, Mathematics and Physics Education
School of Education
University of the Sunshine Coast
Nahed El Oud
A key part of deciding which college to go to is finding a good fit. And a great way to get more information is to visit the colleges in person.
Visiting colleges may not be possible for everyone, but I was lucky to be accepted to visit UL. I made a lot of researches to determine which university is suitable, and I decided that UL is the right place for me especially after I found out about EPI*STEM centre which is so similar to SMEC at AUB.
A tour to the campus was an opportunity to me to get a first-hand view of a college. A college brochure or website can only tell a little about the university. To really get a sense of what the campus life is really like I needed to walk around the university and visit the buildings such as the main building, the library, Business school, etc.. I was told that UL ranks in the top 3% of universities in the world, and that there is about 15,000 students and 2,700 international students from all over the world.
This visit also gave me the chance to talk to the wonderful staff who helped me a lot and whom I will never forget (my host - Ms. Helen Fitzgerald, Ms. Nichola Keegan, Ms. Alex Quinn-O’Sullivan, Ms. Ivana Darcy, Ms. Sinead Hanrahan and the director of EPI*STEM Ms. Merrilyn Goos). This gave me the chance to get answers to important questions such as the nature of work, aim, and mission of EPI*STEM and what procedures do they follow in their research centre.
I was offered many official college materials, such as brochures, and the EPI*STEM newspaper.
I felt comfortable walking around the campus as if I was at home. I didn’t imagine UL campus is so wonderful and huge like that, and spending time on the campus helped me determine how important UL is.
My visit was so important and beneficial to me, because in addition to exchanging info between me and my host, Ms. Helen Fitzgerald, I was also introduced to the Irish culture and to the wonderful country. It was an unforgettable experience.
Best wishes to all,
Nahed El Oud,
Science & Mathematics Education Centre (SMEC),
American University of Beirut,
I spent a week at the Epi•Stem Centre in late February. The aims and work of the Centre relate closely to the work of the Marang Centre at The University of the Witwatersrand where I work, because Epi•Stem also combines work on research and postgraduate teaching in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education with research-based teacher development work in these fields. My week in Limerick had several highlights – meeting colleagues working in teacher development in mathematics education, and discussing ways to set up research around this work, a seminar I gave entitled ‘Thinking about primary maths teacher knowledge in South Africa’, and discussing the data with attendees, visiting Mary Immaculate College and interacting with staff working there in primary mathematics teacher education and research (which is my specific field of interest) and visiting a primary school in Limerick with them. I also sat in on reading sessions run by Prof Sibel Erduran, and had conversations with doctoral students about their work.
A little less academically, I also visited the Milk Market, crossed the mighty Shannon, listened to live playing on ‘elbow pipes’, and – bought a copy of Angela’s Ashes!
Thanks to Sibel, Aoife, Niamh, Grainne, John, Mairead, Aisling, Helen and all the others for the opportunity to hear about the great work you are doing, and for your hospitality! I look forward to seeing some of you up ahead at the SAARMSTE conference and/ or the SAARMSTE Research School.
SA Numeracy Chair
University of the Witwatersrand
My visit to Epi•Stem happened thanks to Sibel's acceptance. At the time, I was in my PhD's second year and my visit lasted almost four months. I developed, under Sibel's supervision, the methodology for the Phd's data analysis. This collaboration was funded by a Brazilian agency (CAPES).
My stay at the centre was joyful thanks to the warm welcome of staff, researchers and students. The University of Limerick has a good infrastructure, with a complete and modern library, a beautiful campus and great sports facilities. The main goal of the visit was achieved, and more than that, I think it was possible to create a link Ireland-Brazil that will be fruitful for a longer period than my visit.
Miss you guys!
Mestre e doutoranda em Ensino de Ciências
Departamento de Ecologia - IBUSP
I visited Epi•Stem during the fall semester of 2014. The research in Ireland was funded by a Fulbright Scholarship. I was hosted on my 3 month visit by Dr. John O’Donoghue.
The goal of my research was to learn about the approach to teaching Maths currently emphasized in Ireland.
The research results included teacher observation and interviews from more than 14 schools and 60 teachers from Ireland and the United Kingdom during the fall semester of 2014. The research included a survey of 144 Irish teachers asking them to compare key teaching distinctives with those generated by Indiana teachers as well as another survey of 147 Irish teachers asking them to assess the overall success of the current Project Maths initiative in Ireland.
I was very much excited about the results of my semester stay in Ireland. I formed many new collegial relationships.
I am Associate Teacher in the University of Málaga (Spain) and was a visiting researcher with Epi•Stem in the University of Limerick, from 17th July until 19th September in 2014.
My experience was very satisfactory; from a personal and professional point of view. During this period, I was working with the Professor Sibel Erduran and we designed a research study with the purpose of investigating Primary teachers’ perceptions of argumentation and discourse in science classrooms and how to evolve perceptions’ when they participate in a specific intervention about the argumentation in science education. That work is being developed in this academic course 2014/15 in the University of Málaga (Spain). Part of the result of this work will be presented in a symposium at the next conference ESERA 2015 in Finland.
During my visit, I got to know the work of the researchers in the centre and to share experiences with two visiting researchers that were also on a visit at the same time. I participated in the monthly research seminars where I had the opportunity to present my developed work and receive feedback that allowed me to improve the design of my work. In addition, I had the opportunity to attend a symposium in the centre where Professor Michael R. Matthews, Professor in School of Education at the University of New South Wales, spoke about his work.
In conclusion, I stayed in a place where I could improve my research information thanks to the professional staff who are developing interesting lines of investigation in Science Education. I am very glad to have had this experience and very grateful to the staff of Epi•Stem for welcoming and treating me like a member of the team. I recommend this enriching experience to everybody.
Carolina Martín Gámez
Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales.
Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación.
Universidad de Málaga.