Conference Speakers

Robin Millar

Robin Millar is Emeritus Professor of Science Education at the University of York. Following a BA in Natural Sciences (Cambridge) and a PhD in medical physics (Edinburgh), he trained as a teacher and taught physics and general science for 8 years in comprehensive schools before moving to a lectureship at York in 1982. He taught for over 30 years on the Science initial teacher training programme and the undergraduate and masters’ programmes in education, and supervised several PhD studies in science education. His main research interests are in teaching and learning science (especially physics) at secondary school level, science curriculum design and development, the role of practical work, and the assessment of science learning. He has directed several large research projects, including the ESRC-funded Evidence-Based Practice in Science Education research network, and has published widely in academic and professional journals in science education. He also played a leading role in several major curriculum development projects, including Salters’ GCSE Science, AS Science for Public Understanding and Twenty First Century Science. He was President of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) from 1999-2003, and of the Association for Science Education in 2012. He was a member of the Science Expert Group (SEG) for the OECD PISA studies in 2006 and 2015. In 2008, he was awarded the Bragg Medal of the Institute of Physics, and in 2015 was made an OBE for services to science education.

Science Education for the Future: Scientific Literacy as a Curriculum Aim

In almost every country, science is nowadays a core subject of the school curriculum, taken by all school students up to age 16 or above. The contribution of science to the curriculum is often expressed in terms of developing the ‘scientific literacy’ of individuals and of society. The structure and content of science curricula, however, often strongly suggest that the primary aim is to provide a sound foundation for more advanced study in the sciences. This talk will explore the relationship, and the possible tensions, between these aims. It will consider what we might mean by ‘scientific literacy’ and go on to explore the practical implications of a focus on ‘scientific literacy’ for the content and design of the school science curriculum. The talk will highlight the influence of assessment methods and instruments on teaching and learning, and discuss how we might assess the kinds of learning outcomes that are often associated with scientific literacy. It will argue for an approach to curriculum development which recognises the crucial role of assessment in clarifying and defining intended outcomes and integrates this into the development process.

William F. McComas

William F. McComas is the inaugural holder of the Parks Family Endowed Professorship in Science Education at the University of Arkansas where he directs the Project to Advance Science Education (PASE). This follows a career as a biology and physical science teacher in suburban Philadelphia and professorship at University of Southern California. He has earned B.S. degrees in Biology and Secondary Education, M.A. degrees in Biology and Physical Science and the Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Iowa.

The 6 C's of Science: Supporting Science Teaching by Understanding How Science Works

This talk features rationales for including science in the curriculum using the unique “6C model” which recognizes that our students will likely become future Constructors, Critics, Consumers, Collaborators, Citizens or Connoisseurs of science. All of these roles are best served if students understanding the basics of how science functions, a topic that will conclude this discussion.

Dr Vanessa Kind

Dr Kind is Deputy Head of Faculty (Postgraduate) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and Associate Professor (Reader) in Education in the School of Education Durham University, UK. Vanessa trained as a chemistry teacher and completed a PhD at the University of York before becoming a science teacher educator at the Institute of Education, University of London in 1997. Vanessa moved to Durham in 2005, where she has held various roles including directing a science teacher professional development centre from 2011 -2013. She has co-led interdisciplinary research projects with colleagues in Law, Medieval History and Archaeology. The Law project, funded by The Wellcome Trust, used law to develop post-16 students’ understanding of controversial issues in science such as mitochondrial donation, human cloning and stem cell research. Her on-going research interests include teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge and subject matter knowledge particularly within the context of science teacher education, and teaching and learning in post-16 chemistry. Vanessa’s interests in pedagogical content knowledge evolved from her work as a Head teacher of an international school in Norway from 2002 - 2004 and ten years of working with trainee science teachers in London and Durham. Current research projects include a three-year national study on practical work in science with Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and , funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and a British Academy Newton Mobility Fund project on chemistry teacher knowledge with colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She has been an academic visitor at Hong Kong University and the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany and is an Associate Editor of Research in Science Education.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Lessons from Research and Policy for Improving Teaching Quality

The lecture discusses the expectations societies have for their teachers, introducing factors required for “quality teaching”. Current teacher preparation methodologies in many nations operate a deficit model that focuses on providing potential teachers with information deemed necessary to function as a teacher, allied to a “master-apprentice” system to develop classroom teaching strategies. The impact on student achievement is mixed: international data shows that some well-funded jurisdictions perform at or below average, and outcomes for students vary. The lecture explores research evidence illustrating “great teaching”, identifying components that seem consistently essential for high attainment. Pedagogical content knowledge is presented, and analysed from the perspective of teacher preparation policies in five contrasting jurisdictions. Empirical evidence illustrating the quality of pedagogical content knowledge teachers require will be presented. The lecture concludes with a proposal for a teacher quality framework model and recommendations for policy and practice.

Richard Koh

Richard Koh is the Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Singapore. In this role, he engages with key executive leaders across government, industry and academia, to guide technology policies, standards, legal and regulatory matters, as well as security, privacy and compliance decisions.

He focuses on helping customers leverage technology innovations for their digital transformation.

His professional experience spans across Asia and North America, several functional areas including R&D, IT, Product Management and Marketing, Business Development and Sales Operations, and across Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and SingTel.

Rewiring Mindsets to Learn & Thrive with Emerging Technology Innovations

We live in an amazing time when technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives—at breathtaking speed. Advances in healthcare, education, communication, and productivity have increased life expectancy around the globe and helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class. Now, with the advent of cloud computing, we’ve arrived at the beginning of an era of even more profound transformation. A new generation of technology innovation is delivering capabilities that promise new ways to expand access to economic opportunity and address some of humanity’s most pressing problems. However, these innovations are creating disruption in other ways as well. People question the safety of their community, the sustainability of their jobs, and the future prospects of their children. There are deep concerns about whether and how these technologies can be used to benefit everyone, rather than just the fortunate few. Clearly, we’ve reached a critical crossroads where we must rethink how people interact, companies conduct business, and governments protect public safety, manage economic growth, and deliver services. In this presentation, Richard will share his views of what these emerging technology innovations look like and why there is an urgent need to rewire our mindsets to learn and thrive with these innovations in the coming future.

Shirley S. Ho

Dr. Shirley S. Ho is Associate Professor and Assistant Chair (Faculty) in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). She is an expert in the area of science communication, in which she investigates cross-cultural public opinion dynamics related to science and technology, with potential health or environmental impacts. Her work emphasizes the roles of values, social media and other emerging modes of communication in shaping public attitudes toward science and technology. Her research also focuses on understanding factors motivating scientists’ communication and engagement with the public and the media.

She is the Principal Investigator (PI) of several large-scale, interdisciplinary research projects that are funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Info-communications Media Development Authority in Singapore. She is currently leading Project “PONdER” (Public Opinion of Nuclear Energy), funded by NRF, that seeks to examine how the general public in Southeast Asia form perceptions toward nuclear energy, so as to influence nuclear policy and research. She is also PI of “Scientists as Public Intellectuals: Public Communication of Science and Technology” (funded by MOE) that investigates how best to motivate scientists to communicate their research findings to the general public.

She has co-authored more than 50 journal articles and book chapters concerning science communication, with impacts to health and the environment. Her research has won top faculty paper awards at major international conferences. She currently serves as Associate Editor for the Asian Journal of Communication, Environmental Communication, and the Oxford Encyclopedia for Climate Change Communication. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies (1st Class Honors) from NTU in 2002. Under a NTU overseas scholarship, she obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. Degrees in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Decoding Science Communication: Media Effects on Public Perception of Science & Technology

Expansion in online and social media information sources makes it easier for people to access content about science and technology. This talk will emphasize the communication tools that journalists and science communicators commonly use to convey content about science and technology to the public. Using empirical studies in communication research, I will highlight the theoretical processes, such as the agenda-setting effect (“media shapes what audience think is important”) and media framing effects (“media affects how audience perceive an issue”) on audience perception. Both local and international controversial scientific issues such as climate change and nuclear energy, as well as emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, will be used as examples to illustrate the various media effects. I will describe the social-psychological mechanism behind how the public forms perceptions and make decisions about science and technology. The ultimate goal of the talk is to allow teachers to critically use science in the media to engage students in socio-scientific issues, and get students to be critical and reflective consumers of science content in the media.

Leong Lai Peng

Lai Peng Leong, PhD is a senior lecturer at the Food Science and Technology Programme, Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore. She obtained her M.Sc. with distinction from University of Leeds in Food Science and subsequently a Ph.D. from the same institution after being awarded a research scholarship by the European Union. She joins the Food Science and Technology Programme as one of the pioneer members since launch.

Her main research area and interest is in kinetics of chemical reactions. Her research focuses on the kinetics of chemical reactions in foods which includes the Maillard reaction and reactions involving antioxidants. Dr Leong also works on shelf life extension and prediction of foods in which both chemical and physical methods were used. Her team studies the extraction of antioxidants from tropical plants and fruits and develop methods for the analysis of compounds that are important in foods as well as compounds that may have safety implications to consumers. Dr Leong also a leader in the understanding of consumers’ perception of foods in Singapore and has led many teams into the winning the Food Innovation Product competition.

Dr Leong is also actively involved in the Singapore Accreditation Council as a member of the Chemical and Biological Testing Technical Committee, as well as a technical assessor. In addition, she chairs and participate in various workgroups under the Singapore Food Standards Committee. Dr Leong is currently a senior lecturer in the Food Science and Technology Programme, NUS. As an educator with great enthusiasm in the promotion of science, she had been a council member in the Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology and also the current honorary secretary for the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry, and assistant honorary secretary of the Singapore National Academy of Science. Dr Leong has also been the chair for all the previous National Chemistry Weeks held in Singapore and the current logistic chair for Singapore Junior Chemistry Olympiad since its founding.

Food Trends and Designing Foods for the Future

As the population of developed countries like Singapore becomes more affluent, food consumption is no more about the need of getting enough to survive. The demands of the population become more stringent each day due to various factors surrounding their choice of foods. It is no longer possible to generalize the needs of the whole population but each group of similar minded people will contribute to the demand of niche food products in the market. Some of these products can be driven by lifestyle while others can be driven by health. A strong foundation in Science and Technology is essential for the development of successful food products that meets quality and standards. This lecture will cover the trends in new food product development and how student groups can participate in developing a successful new product in the market.

Teo Tang Wee

TEO Tang Wee is an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2011. She is a social equity scholar in science education and applies a critical lens to examine diverse equity issues in science education that affect learners (e.g., lower track students, children aged 6-8, and international students) who are underrepresented in the local and international literature. Her current work focuses on lower track science students’ science learning experiences. To date, she has managed about SGD 600,000 of research grant as Principal Investigator.

She co-edited the books Teaching Science in Culturally-Relevant Ways: Ideas From Singapore Teachers (2014) and Science Education Research and Practice in Asia-Pacific and Beyond (2017). She also co-edited a special issue on Critical Issues in STEM Schools in the journal Theory Into Practice. She is currently guest editing a focus issue on Play in Early Childhood Science Education in the journal Pedagogies: An International Journal and a special issue on Broadening and Deepening the Dialogue About "Low Achievers” in Asia-Pacific Journal of Education. She is an Associate Editor of Pedagogies: An International Journal and the Asia-Pacific Science Education and editorial board member of Asian Women.

Teaching Diverse Learners in the Lower Track Classrooms

This talk is based on a two-year large scale study of the lower track science classrooms in Singapore schools. In this study, I examined the Normal Academic and Normal Technical students’ science learning using quantitative and qualitative research methods. In my talk, I will discuss the diverse types of learners in these classrooms and their science understandings. I will also discuss findings from adopting a transformative strategy known as cogenerative dialogue that actively engage students as decision-makers in the classroom so that they take ownership of their own learning.