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Centre for Research in Education in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (CRESTEM)

CRESTEM Seminars

Our seminars span issues in relation to science, engineering, technology, computer science and mathematics education. King's College London (KCL) researchers and scholars from the UK and abroad present their work on issues around STEM teaching, learning, and assessment; public engagement and informal settings education provision; sociology of STEM education.

Research staff and students from KCL and beyond are welcome to attend.

2018-19 CRESTEM seminars

Wednesday June 26th, 1:00 p.m.  -  2:00 p.m.

Location: WBW 2/21

Session title:Women-only spaces in physics: an anachronism in the 21st century, or still crucial?

For the last five years, the University of Oxford has hosted a conference for women studying physics at undergraduate level in the UK, a country where a significant imbalance exists between the genders for rates of participation in physics, both at school and at university level. It should be noted that an inclusive notion of gender is used throughout as the conference aims to include all people who identify as women. Over these five years, 500 people who identify as female have participated in the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), providing glowing testimonials in the conference evaluations, and over 1000 others have applied to take part. But why does such a conference matter? Why are women-only spaces in physics still valuable? Are they not an anachronism in the 21st century?

This talk will present some of the key findings from the conference evaluations across the five years, and also explore the longer-term impact on participants from the earlier conferences, in order to address the questions of whether women-only spaces in physics are beneficial, and, if so, in what ways, and are they still appropriate?

Speaker: Judith Hillier

Judith Hillier is Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of Oxford Department of Education. Her research includes initial teacher education, with a focus on how and why people become physics teachers, explanations in science education, and the under-representation of women in physics.

Wednesday May 15th, 1:00 p.m.  -  2:00 p.m.

Location: WBW 2/21

Session title: International students’ social and intellectual integration in a STEM initial teacher education course in England

The presentation will focus on the challenges encountered by international trainee teachers of integrating socially and intellectually in initial teacher training programmes. Arthur will explain the need to do research on the experience of this population of students, and draw on the concept of ‘Intercultural Competence’ to do that data analysis. Eighteen international science, maths and computer science trainee teachers in London were interviewed in four focus groups. Initial findings suggest trainees faced issues with subject knowledge across different key stages, the use of specialised terminologies, school culture, and expectations of teachers’ duties and relations of power. The analysis is carried out taking into account London’s multicultural educational context and how teachers’ emotions and motivations affect their learning. He will conclude by setting out recommendations for teacher training providers that will contribute to the internationalisation of teacher training programmes.

Speaker: Arthur Galamba

Arthur Galamba is Senior teaching Fellow in Science Education at King’s College London. His research interests are centred around issues related to teacher education, science education and democracy, and the epistemologies of the sciences.


Wednesday April 17th 2019 1:00 p.m.  -  2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 2/21 WBW

Session Title: Inquiry as action: socio-scientific inquiry-based learning

This seminar will report on the theoretical underpinnings and practical outcomes of a European FP7 project, PARRISE (Promoting Attainment of Responsible Research and Innovation in Science Education) which draw on knowledge of science to achieve socially desirable ends through inquiry-based learning. Our speakers will illustrate the pedagogic framework, some of the successes and problems in practice, and possibilities for teacher education and research-informed practice. It will be helpful before the seminar to have some acquaintance with the resources available on the PARRISE website.

Speaker: Ruth Amos and Ralph Levinson

Ruth Amos is a lecturer in science education at UCL/IOE. Her background is in secondary school science education in the UK, chemistry education, environmental education and pre-service teacher training. Her interests include global dimensions in education, learning outside the classroom and enrichment and enhancement in secondary science.

Ralph Levinson is a reader in education at UCL/IOE. He was programme director of the MA in Science Education, and taught on the PGCE programmes, as well as CPD courses. His main research interests are in socio-scientific issues and scientific literacy, science and social justice, science education and creativity, chemistry education and pedagogy in science. He has led research projects for leading organisations such as The World Bank, The Wellcome Trust, the British Academy and the EU.


Wednesday March 6th 2019 2:00 p.m.  -  3:00 p.m.
Location: Room G/552 WBW

Session Title: Gesture, language and thought

This presentation concerns a theory on how gestures (accompanying speaking and silent thinking) are generated and how gestures facilitate the gesturer's own cognitive processes. Kita will present evidence that gestures are generated from a general-purpose Action Generator, which also generates “practical” actions such as grasping a cup to drink, and that the Action Generator generates gestural representation in close coordination with the speech production process (Kita & Ozyurek, 2003, Journal ofMemory and Language).

Kita will also present evidence that gestures facilitate thinking and speaking through four functions: gesture activates, manipulates, packages and explores spatio-motoric representations (Kita, Chu, & Alibali, 2017, Psychological Review). Further, Kita will argue that schematic nature of gestural representation plays a crucial role in these four functions. To summarise, gesture, generated at the interface of action and language, shapes the way we think and we speak.

Speaker: Sotaro Kita

Sotaro Kita is a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Warwick. Professor Kita's work focuses on the Psycholinguistics properties of co-speech gesture, the relationship between spatial language, developmental psychology and cognition and sound symbolism. Kita received his PhD from the University of Chicago, working in the lab of David McNeill from 1993-2003 he led the Gesture Project at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, one of the research foci of the MPI.

This is a joint seminar with the Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication.


Wednesday January 16th 2019 1:00 p.m.  -  2:00 p.m.

Location: Room WBW 2/21  

Session Title: Shifting engagement characteristics of high and low mathematics achievers: identifying relevant underlying factors

The seminar will discuss the implications of shifting engagement with students who have different levels of achievement in mathematics. Using in-depth interviews in positive and negative shifts in engagement in mathematics over one year are discussed. The findings from a current study confirm the importance of individual variation in student engagement/achievement characteristics. Implications for supporting teachers to more accurately gauge student engagement, and use approaches for promoting engagement, with the view to maintain participation in mathematics throughout early secondary years of school are discussed.

Speaker: Karen Skilling

Karen Skilling is a lecturer in mathematics education at King’s College London. Her research interests are centred on student engagement and motivation in mathematics (and STEM more broadly), and teacher approaches to instruction that are cognitively and affectively supportive.  She utilizes mixed methods approaches in her research and is particularly interested in realizing the potential of vignettes as a research method.

Wednesday December 12th 2018 1:00 p.m.  -  2:00 p.m.
Location: Room WBW 2/21  

Session Title: Engineering Masculinities. The Identity Work of Male Working-Class Engineering Students

The presentation will explore the identity work done by four male, working-class students who participate in a Swedish mechanical engineering programme. In this study identity is conceptualised as socially and discursively produced, and we focus in particular on students’ identity trajectories. In the presentation I will zoom in on the students’ negotiations around participation in project work, a pedagogical approach that is gaining increasing attention within engineering educations – as a means to both attract new groups of students and provide students with knowledge appropriate for the future society.

Speaker: Anna Danielsson

Anna Danielsson is Professor of Curriculum Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, and Visiting Professor in Science Education at King’s College London. Her research interests are centred around issues related to gender, identity and power in the context of teaching and learning science and technology, particularly in higher education contexts.


Wednesday November 21st 2018
Location: Room WBW 2/21

Session Title: Emotions in the classroom. Developing research.

There is an increasing recognition of the role of social and emotional factors in education. There are many aspects to this, for example, a) the realisation of the importance of 21st century skills, which are underpinned by social factors, b) how cognitive learning has an emotional element, and c) the attention to mental health issues. This presentation will highlight some of the issues in researching emotional development in the classroom, and indicate some areas of concern for debate.    

Speaker: Brian Matthews.

Brian Matthews is Chair of the Fabian Education Policy Group. He taught in London schools before leading the PGCE at Goldsmith’s College. At King’s he contributes to the science PGCE programme and was involved in research funded by the EU into Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science (SAILS). Previously he led a research project on emotional engagement in science education. Brian’s research interests include science inquiry, gender and young people’s emotions (  His publications include Engaging Education: Developing emotional literacy, equity and co-education (2006) McGraw-Hill/OUP.   


Wednesday September 26th 2018
Location: Room G552 

Session Title: STEM Education: An Australian Perspective 

In Australia the push for advancing the national STEM agenda is strongly impacting education. This presentation explains the Australian context, highlights some key messages from STEM education research, and shares some examples of inspiring teaching/learning approaches being implemented at the school level. 

Speaker: Associate Professor Jennifer Way, University of Sydney

Associate Professor Jennifer Way is a researcher and teacher of mathematics education with the Sydney School of Education & Social Work at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is also currently the Primary Program Manager for the Sydney STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy. In 1998-2000 she worked with the Royal Institution of Great Britain and the University of Cambridge NRICH Maths project, promoting mathematical enrichment for primary age pupils.


STEM Academy:


Past seminars

CRESTEM Seminar Series 2017/2018

Wednesday April 18th, 1-2pm

Professor Merilyn Goos, University of Limerick, Ireland

The strategic agenda for STEM education in Ireland

Abstract: Merrilyn Goos is Director of EPI*STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education. EPI*STEM has played a significant role in advancing STEM education in Ireland. In this seminar Professor Goos will outline the history of the Centre, its future directions, and examples of how it proposes to meet some of the STEM education challenges facing Ireland. It is hoped that the seminar might go some way towards supporting the Centre’s key strategy of leveraging connections and building collaborations with like-minded colleagues and similar Centres in Ireland and internationally. 


Wednesday February 14th, 1-2pm

Professor Quintin Cutts, University of Glasgow 

"Does Lego help develop CS skills?”

Abstract: This talk describes a study to examine possible links between early childhood activities and later success with CS and IT.  As we explore appropriate curricula for an academic discipline of CS, as we surely must do when introducing mandatory CS education into primary schools, such links are important.  Could they explain oft-reported high failure rates in our subject?  Can they be used to create an effective progression framework for CS education, to augment current thinking on the topic?  Will we identify early years and primary activities that could be of value in other subjects as well?  One such is the development of spatial skills, shown by researchers to be associated with success in STEM subjects, but which appears to have received little attention in mainstream education.

Bio:  Quintin Cutts is Professor of Computer Science Education and Director of the Centre for CS Education at the University of Glasgow. He was a leading adviser to Education Scotland on the new 3-15 curriculum for CS (see the November CACM!), and encouraged the Scottish Qualifications Authority to recognise the importance of program comprehension as well as program writing in the national qualifications.  He co-led PLAN C, a national programme of CPD for Scottish school CS teachers, aiming to operationalise recent research results in CS education in formats readily usable by teachers in their classrooms.  He has also been involved in research to understand how learner and teacher attitudes can influence success, and has been a major proponent of the use of the Peer Instruction flipped classroom technique in CS classrooms.

Wednesday January 17th, 1-2pm

Dr David Hay, Reader in Higher Education, King's College London

Telling Things: Ethnography Of University Students' Recipe-Like Laboratory Practical Classes

Abstract: Recipe-like laboratory practical classes are generally eschewed by the schools-based teaching evaluation literature, the majority of which demonstrates that while these classes are successful in regards to “doing with materials and objects”, in regards the more important “doing with ideas”, they are problematic.  Despite this research-work, however, most university lecturers attach great importance to the recipe-like ‘practicals’ which in university bioscience in the UK still account for between one third to a half of teaching-time for years one and two.

In this paper Dr Hay will present ethnography of first year undergraduates’ recipe-like ‘practicals’ in Pharmacology at King’s. The findings show the virtues of attending to a different middle ground between the alternatives of learning skills and action versus learning theory, whereby experimental observation is both theory-laden and realized in the emergence of a non-linguistic repertoire of telling-operations.  What is most important is the ways this “telling” with machines and with the corporeal senses includes an automatic mobilization of the properties of matter as writing and/or utterance.

Monday December 4th. 5.30-7pm

Professor Jill Adler, SARChI Mathematics Education Chair at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Professional Development Of Mathematics Teachers: What Do We Know? And Who Is "We"?

Over the past 15 years Jill Adler has been working on linked research and development in the professional development of mathematics teachers, predominantly in South Africa, and again predominantly, at a secondary level. Participating in and locating this work has included engagement with recent reviews of research on mathematics professional development research on the one hand, alongside a much less comprehensive but nevertheless important engagement with some research on educational development particularly in developing countries or low-income communities.

In this seminar, Professor Adler share her emerging thinking on how mathematics education, particularly teacher professional development, would benefit from greater engagement. She will anchor the seminar in the learning curve of her current project, and probe the questions in the title: what do we know and who is “we”?

Wednesday December 13th. 1-2pm

Dr Karen Skilling and Brentwood School, KCL

STEM and Robots:Secondary school students’ experiences of robot design and construction

This session reports on a transdisciplinary STEM project in one UK secondary school. Over the last year a team of upper secondary students have designed and constructed several heavy weight electro-mechanical robots. The robots have been tested and refined in a cycle of ‘real life’ competitive battles. Research about this project draws on in-depth interviews to elicit student perceptions of STEM, links to subject choice, influences on career aspirations, skill development, identity, and learning processes common to mathematical, scientific, and engineering ‘Habits of mind’.

To bring this session to life, the students will bring along several robots to discuss how their design and engineering understandings have developed and connected to the STEM related subjects they are studying at school.


Wednesday November 15th, 1-2pm

Dr Richard Brock, KCL
A collective case study of the development of students’ ontologies related to physics

Abstract: It has been suggested that the process of categorisation is central to cognition (Harnad, 2005). Students’ perceptions of the kinds of entities that exist and how they are differentiated, their personal ontologies, are significant in shaping how they understand the world. Though it has been reported that students’ understandings of scientific concepts may differ from those of scientists (Piaget & Inhelder, 1941/1997), there remains a debate regarding the nature of the categories students possess and the manner in which they develop (Gupta, Hammer, & Redish, 2010). 

In this seminar Richard Brock discusses his research using a range of probes- such as engagement with practical tasks, concepts maps and concept inventory questions - to explore the dynamics of category development in five secondary school students. Students’ ontological development is an under-researched topic; research in the area may lead to novel teaching approaches to support appropriate scientific categorisation.

Wednesday 18 October 1 - 2pm 

Speaker: Lulu Healy  

Title: Towards an inclusive school mathematics: Learning with disabled students

Abstract: Despite policies that emphasise Inclusive Education, mathematics curricula, along with other school structures, continue to privilege the idea of the 'normal student', a construct that marginalises, excludes and disables many learners. This seminar will present aspects of a research programme that aims to contribute to destabilising discriminatory visions of students' potential for mathematics learning and to the construction of a more inclusive school mathematics.

CRESTEM Seminar Series 2016/2017

Wednesday 19 April 1-2pm,

Speaker: Prof. Michael Kölling
Title: Developments in Educational Programming Environments – Facing the challenge of programming at all ages

Wednesday 8 February 1-2pm, room 2/19 WBW

Presenter: Prof. Janette Bobis, University of Sydney
Title: STEM Enrichment for Teachers

Please view the abstract here

11 January 1-2pm

Wednesday 7 December, 1-2pm venue 3/7 WBW
Dr Carol J Callinan
Hearing gestures: multimodal aspects of children's ideas in science. 
View the abstract here

Wednesday 16 November 
Presenter: Prof. Jill Adler (Chair of Mathematics Education at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and a Visiting Professor at King's College London)
Title: Some benefits and constraints in Lesson Study when structured by a discursive resource
Abstract: here

12 October 2016
Presenter: Dr. Markus Hefter, Bielefeld University, Germany
Title: Training interventions on Scientific thinking

Mathematics Education Research Group (MERG):

CRESTEM/Mathematics Education Research Group runs a seminar series on Theories in Mathematics Education with speakers from Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, Durham University and Institute of Education.

Substantial methodological training will be offered in comparative analysis of mathematics classroom video data and curriculum documents with a pilot data set from a collaborative research project with University of Melbourne and Beijing Normal University.

King's Mathematics Education Research Dialogues:

These seminars regularly feature the work of researchers in mathematics education and are open to all from King's and beyond. If you are interested in receiving announcements, send an email (from the address to be subscribed) to Professor Eva Jablonka:

Previous Mathematics Education Research Dialogues:

  • The public and the esoteric domains of school mathematics: Recontextualising the arbitrary and the non-arbitrary. Speaker: Professor Paul Dowling - Reactor: Professor Jeremy Hodgen (Read more here)
  • Making sense of the long-term development of mathematical learning and thinking. Speaker: Professor David Tall. Reactor: Professor Jill Adler (Read more here)
  • Discursive approaches to university mathematics education research - An example: The transition from school to university mathematics as a discursive shift discursive shift. Speaker: Professor Elena Nardi, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Reactor: Professor Christer Bergsten, Linköping University – Sweden (Read more here)
The Science and Technology Education Group (STEG):

STEG Seminar Series 2016


20 April - Laura Fogg-Rogers, University of the West of England         

Scientists in person: stories about cultures of communication

WBW 2/19

11 May - Prof. Richard Noss, London Knowledge Lab Institute of Education             

Building mathematical knowledge through programming

WBW 3/7

 6 July - Dr. Mark Hardman, DEPS KCL

 title tbc

WBW 2/19

Subscribing to STEG Announcement

You may join our list-service if you are interested in receiving announcements pertaining to the STEG seminar series. To subscribe to this list, send an email (from the address to be subscribed) to Leave the subject line blank, and enter the following in the body of your message: join steg-announce FirstName LastName. If you already subscribe and would like to unsubscribe, please send an email (from the subscribed address). Leave the subject line blank, and enter the following in the body of your message: signoff steg-announce

Please contact Effrosyni or if you have any questions about this seminar series or would like to suggest potential speakers.

Technology Mediated Learning (TML):

We have a very successful seminar programme in Technology Mediated Learning, organised by Mary Webb (, which is open to national and international researchers, students, practitioners, and policy makers. We have also recently launched a termly seminar series on aspects of e-Inclusion.  

Previous Seminars:

  • Literacy from Scratch: Implementing the Proposed new Computer Science Curriculum Creatively Lawrence Williams, Teaching Fellow (Education)
  • The uptake of technology in education: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge as a way forward?
  • Joke Voogt, Associate Professor, University of Twente, Netherlands (Download presentation here). 
  • Developing Students’ Diagnostic Skills Through the Use of Online Case-based Reasoning Activities. Dale Niederhauser, Associate Professor, Iowa State University
  • Self Regulated Learning in Massive Open online Courses. Professor Allison Littlejohn, Director of the Caledonian Academy and Chair of Learning Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK (Download presentation here
  • Enhancing Self-regulation and online collaboration among students of a virtual university. Farhana Khurshid, PhD scholar, King’s College London (Download presentation here
  • Redefining innovation in academic environments by exploring the sustaining and disruptive effects of social media. Stylianos Hatzipanagos, King’s College London and Steven Warburton, University of Surrey.
  • Making Your Research Count- using Web 2.0: the Education Communities Platform. Marilyn Leask, Professor of Educational Knowledge Management University of Bedfordshire
  • Mentoring teachers, pre-service teachers and teacher educators in the 21st Century. Donna Gronn, Australian Catholic University (Melbourne)
  • "If your happy and you know it, clap your hands": Measuring student satisfaction with learning technologies. Tracy-ann Green - HAPTEL Project, King's College London
  • E-Portfolios for the Development of Emotional EducationIolanda Bernabe Munoz, Universitat Jaume I of Castelló, Spain
  • Dragging in dynamic geometry: from a utilization scheme to a psychological tool. Anna Baccaglini-Frank, London knowledge Lab and University of Sienna
  • Technology use by young people. Don Passey, Lancaster University
  • Spaces Project. Bernard Horan, University of Essex
  • Mobile Learning: Theory and Practice. Professor Norbert Pachler, Institute of Education, University of London.
Click here for all Upcoming events and seminars in ECS
2016-17 calendar
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