The RUN Digital Classroom project: Integrating scientific research into classroom teaching in regional Australia

Year: 2015

Author: Foster, Alan, Woolcott, Geoffrey

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This presentation reports on a recent project, Regional universities network (RUN) maths and science digital classroom: A connected model for all of Australia, undertaken by the six partners of the Regional Universities Network (RUN). The project integrates modern scientific research into classroom teaching practice in order to engage with community as a co-creator of society’s collective knowledge. The overall aim was to build the confidence, capacity, knowledge base and teaching skills of classroom teachers in delivering mathematics and science to junior secondary school students by utilising digital environments from a Virtual Centre. This presentation outlines one university’s engagement in this collaborative project and describes the digital resources produced and their implementation and trialling in regional high schools. These resources were developed in conjunction with scientists and educators at Southern Cross University and teachers from local high schools based on community issues and interests. The key output from this collaboration was the development of three modules each comprising five teaching lessons that can be accessed using a digital platform provided through the project or through hard copy based on the resources provided within the platform. The lessons feature the innovative research of the scientists while, at the same time, provide a glimpse into their everyday lives. These resources have been trialled in local classrooms, with observations and analysis by university educators based on examination of a structured lesson design that complements the digital resources. This has allowed a finessed restructuring of the modules and the lessons within them based on their weaknesses and strengths. The results overall indicate that teachers appear to be learning to adapt the knowledge co-developed within this project and to develop the online resources as a way of engaging students in meaningful lessons derived from community interaction.