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Biography

Dr Heather King's research examines the ways in which educators foster learner engagement with science across many contexts including schools, museums, the natural environment, and non-formal spaces such as maker-spaces.

Her most recent research project, COMnPLAY, funded by an EU H2020 grant, explores the design of making/coding activities and the extent to which they engender youth engagement with science. This project employs the theoretical framework of science capital, a concept grounded in social justice which was refined in a prior research project, Enterprising Science.

Other research interests focus on the pedagogy of museum and out-of-school educators, and the practice of, and policy support for, environmental education in England. Heather is a member of the Science and Technology Education Research Group, and a founding member of the Environmental Education Research Group. 

Previously, Heather was an author for the museum practitioner website relating research to practice (view the website); the research consultant for the EU-funded FEAST project (Facilitating the Engagement of Adults in Science and Technology); the evaluator for EU-funded TWIST (Towards Woman in Science and Technology); and Project Co-ordinator for the US NSF-funded international research collaboration, the Center for Informal Learning and Schools.

For details of Heather's publications please see her  Research Staff Profile

Research interests

  • Equitable engagement in science
  • Science capital
  • Teaching and learning in museums and galleries
  • The design of educational programmes in out-of-school contexts
  • Environmental education
  • Natural history education
  • Teaching and Learning through making and coding

Teaching

Heather leads the following modules for the MA programme in STEM Education:

  • Making in STEM
  • Leading Practices in STEM

She also contributes to the teaching and supervision of students on the Education in Arts and Cultural Setting MA programme.

PhD supervision

Heather has successfully supervised a number of doctoral students in the areas of science educator practices in museums; STEM education in schools; and the nature of learner engagement in science in both school and out of school settings.

She currently supervises the following students:

  • Rachel Cook (The role of family culture in shaping first and second-generation Black African girls' engagement with science in outdoor settings)
  • Kate Greer (Perspectives on the role of education in response to climate change)
  • Marie Hobson (Organisational learning in museums)
  • Brad Irwin (The role of international work in UK national museums)

She has also taken on a number of students exploring the following:

  • The role and value of making in STEM education
  • Applying the lens of science capital to understand student engagement in China
  • Teacher pedagogical content knowledge