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2017 WCGTC Biennial World Conference

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1.1 Keynote - Jim Watters

Thursday, 20 July 2017
17:00 - 18:00


Dr. Jim Watters
Queensland University of Technology

Contextualising learning in STEM: A realistic pathway for teachers of gifted students

Internationally there has been an enhanced focus on increasing student uptake of, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in higher education. However, for decades enrolment in mathematics and science at school level has been declining or stagnant. STEM subjects are appealing for many gifted students in the early years of schooling. Gifted students show extreme levels of curiosity about the natural world, are highly motivated, examine problems holistically and show advanced analytical reasoning skills. However, for many this curiosity and interest wanes as they progress through school. Although, gifted education has provided many models and strategies to engage highly able students these are rarely adopted. We can however turn to fundamental research in STEM education to understand ways to engage and develop sustained interest in STEM subjects. This presentation examines approaches advocated by STEM education research which are being implemented in many jurisdictions that show potential to address the waning interest of gifted students.

James (Jim) Watters WCGTC17 Keynote SpeakerJames (Jim) Watters is an Adjunct Professor in Education at QUT. Jim draws on over 30 years of experience as a science teacher and science teacher educator. His particular interest has been in the education of students gifted in science and mathematics (more recently rebadged as STEM). Jim has run enrichment programmes, provided professional development, advised government on policy, supervised graduate students in gifted education, taught pre-service and in-service teachers in gifted education courses and published internationally in gifted education. He has a strong commitment to apply research to practice. His contributions to gifted education were recognised through the award of Eminent Australian in Gifted Education by the AAEGT.


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