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.
- 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
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.
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