Odd Tore Kaufmann

During the spring semester 2020 I got the opportunity to stay at EPI•STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education as a research scholar. The intention was to improve my written and oral english language, as well as get time for my own research. During this time at UL, I continued working on three projects. One of the projects is about how teachers handle students’ errors that occur in classroom conversation. I and some colleagues analysed fifty-one lessons from twelve teachers, and created error-handling teaching profiles across teacher cases. The goal of this study is to understand how teachers handle errors in the introduction of the lesson, when students are working alone, in pairs, and in whole-class situation. The second project is about teachers’ views of student capabilities within a national professional development initiative. We have studied how teachers, in the context of a professional development program, in collegial discussion talk about students’ mathematical capabilities. The third project is about programming in mathematics education. In the autumn 2020 programming will be integrated in mathematics in the Norwegian curriculum, with the rationale that it fosters problem solving and logical thinking skills and motivates students to learn mathematics. In this project I aim at getting a better understanding of how pre-service teachers view programming as a topic in mathematics education, by analysing their answers to a digital survey concerning their view on integrating programming in mathematics education. The intention was to present this research at the ESAI conference in Dublin. Initially, the plan was for me to be in Limerick for six months. Unfortunately, my stay was only for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

I want to thank everyone at EPI•STEM for being so welcoming. I want to especially thank Merrilyn Goos for giving me this opportunity, and everybody at the postgraduate room for fruitful discussions.

Odd Tore Kaufmann
Ostfold University College
March 2020

Elif Selcan OZTAY

I visited EPI•STEM, National Centre for STEM Education in the spring semester of 2020. My visit to Ireland was funded by Erasmus+ staff mobility. I was hosted by Prof. Dr. Merrilyn Goos. The main aim of my research was to learn about the STEM education and approached used in teacher education in Ireland. My research area is pedagogical content knowledge, pre-service teacher education and STEM education so I thought EPI•STEM was the right place for me.

During my week in Limerick, I had the opportunity to talk to my host Prof. Dr. Merrilyn Goos and wonderful staff in UL. This gave me an opportunity to talk about the aim and mission of EPI•STEM, the kind of research conducted by researchers in EPI•STEM and compare the STEM education in Ireland and Turkey. Also, I met with Dr. Aishling Flaherty and Dr. Niamh O’Meara who work in teacher education. We discussed ways to set up research on teacher education. The visit was so beneficial for me, in addition to interacting with staff working in the same field, I saw the Irish culture and Irish people hospitality first hand. Thank you for an unforgettable experience.

Dr Elif Selcan OZTAY
Assistant Professor, Chemistry Education
School of Education
Van Yuzuncu Yıl UniversityFebruary 2020

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

December 2019


Suzanne Crowley

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.”

Best Wishes

Suzanne Crowley

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

August 2019


Margaret Marshman

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

June 2019


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,

Administrative Assistant,

Science & Mathematics Education Centre (SMEC),

American University of Beirut,

May 2019


Hamsa Venkatakrishnan

visitor3I 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.

Hamsa Venkat
SA Numeracy Chair
University of the Witwatersrand


Renata Orofino

visitor1My 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




Jim Freemyer

visitor2I 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.



Carolina Martín

Carolina Martin Gamez visiting ULI 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.

Click here to see more photographs from Caroline's visit

Carolina Martín Gámez
Didáctica de las Ciencias Experimentales.
Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación.
Universidad de Málaga.