Illuminate, Edition 4 2020

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EDITION 4 2020


Contents From the Principal ............................................................................................................Page 3 From the Editor ......................................................................................................................Page 4 Our Contributors ............................................................................................................... Page 6 Data collection in Out of School Hours Care: What data looks like and how it informs programs and practice .............................................................................................. Page 9 Experiential learning: The what, when, how, where and, most importantly, why? ..................................................Page 16 Using retrieval practice in a Mathematics classroom .................................................................................Page 22 True north: Setting your bearings with surveying......................................................................................Page 25 Student research in Science..........................................................................Page 28 Coding: An introduction......................................................................................Page 31 A personal experience combining academic research with secondary teaching ......................................................Page 35 When will we get the video? .........................................................................Page 38 Girls in green: Army Cadet Unit at Pymble ......................... Page 44 Global perspectives: School research centres ................ Page 50 The hitchhiker’s guide to the new Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences .............................Page 54

COGNITIVE SCIENCE FROM THE PRINCIPAL to allow students to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals behind human perception and sensation through active and exploratory learning. Similar to the human-brain imaging lab, the VR lab is structured around lab sessions that Welcome to Illuminate, link to the subject’s lecture content.

our publication

A prime example is the increasing need for data literacy skills. As was highlighted in March 2020 (Hastie, 2020), businesses are expected to move into a world that is become increasingly data-driven. With a current shortage of data literate employees, data literacy is expected to become the most valuable commodity in the future.

Its graduates will be equipped with in-depth scientific knowledge and trained to confidently evaluate information, come up with new ideas and voice their thoughts and plans in a variety of ways. Together, these build a solid foundation for any future career, whether that is a research career in academic or a career in industry.

For example, in the second-year designed to shine ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ subject a students learn about how the brain light on the details and References PREPARING FOR THE UNKNOWN integrates information from different data behind teaching Badcock, N. A., Preece, K. A., de Wit, B., Glenn, senses such as sight and touch – a This begs the question as to how K., Fieder, N., Thie, J., & McArthur, G. (2015). concept referred to multisensory and learning at Pymble. programs can prepare their students Validation of the Emotiv EPOC EEG system for research quality auditory event-related integration. The lab session uses for “unknown” life after university. potentials in children. PeerJ, 3, e907. https:// virtual reality to allow students to Curricula should aim to train 10.7717/peerj.907 testof some of the – factors that might One the things and there are many! –students that makes who engage explore and research applied learning Boitano, J. J., & Seyal, A. A. (2001). in anticipation of thesein, jobs. contribute integration, me so proudto tothis be the leader ofsuch this amazing school is can demonstrate mastery of skillscurricula in new for ways and gain Neuroscience undergraduates: The premise behind the Bachelor a survey. The Neuroscientist, 7(3), 202-206. as the of visual VRthan teach; they that our role educators dofeedback. so much The more practical application of new skills and knowledge. of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is lab uses OculusThey Rift – a wireless never stopthe learning. take the time to to reflect onthe and foster development of skills Thank you to all the staff andB.,students who contributed De Wit, Badcock, N. A., Grootswagers, headset is primarily used forprocess and to renew review thethat teaching and learning T., Hardwick, K., Teichmann, L., Wehrman, and capabilities that toare thisknown edition.toIt is wonderful to see such a variety of gamingthat butcan hasbe recently also to been aspects enhanced deepen the experience J., Williams, M., & Kaplan, D. M. (2017). be highly transferable, including insights and experiences from teachers across a range Neurogaming technology meets neuroscience used research conducted by some for ourin girls. They do this in many ways and, as a result, problem solving, critical analysis of of subjects including Dance, STEM, Mathematics, History, education: A cost-effective, scalable, and researchers from thean Department of of a Pymble research is becoming integral part highlyand portable undergraduate teaching data and information, effective Outand of School Hours Care Experiential Learning. Cognitive Science. As with the other our educators teacher’s DNA. As teacher-researchers, Journal of Science communication. For I am especially thrilledlaboratory to hear for so neuroscience. many student voices Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 15(2), lab, multiple headsets cantheir be used are co-learners, alongside peers and example, students, going who back to the example coming through theseA104. pages – from current students, in oneinclassroom timetheir to give believe the value at ofthe sharing learnings with literacy fellow skills, students will of data to recent graduates atGriffin, university to ex-students who J. D. (2003). Technology in the students within the best possible educators the Collegeinteractive and the wider community. teaching of neuroscience: Enhanced student actively learn to interact with data have gone on to become educators of a new generation experience. This lab is currently learning. Advances in physiology education, through participation in authentic This edition covers a wide range of topics, from of Pymble girls. My warmest congratulations go to 27(3), 146-155. offered in a subject that has more research include – Research experiential learning to tertiary study but there is activities that our Director and Development, Dr Sarah advan.00059.2002 than 150 students enrolled. data processing and datafor analysis. also a common theme running through, and that’s Loch, once again curating a diverse rangetoof articles Hastie, E. (2020). The ability “speak data” land you a six-figure salary.different Throughout the curriculum, ‘real world’ or ‘applied’ learning. exploring strong practice andcould research across so many TO INFINITY AND BEYOND emphasis is placedsubjects on scientific and learning to-speak-data-could-land-you-a-sixfigureWithin schools, we often find ourselves speaking of communication, data-driven salary/news-story/293ebad28062e34d6b781 One of world” the more questions quite separate “the real as iffrequent it were something As you read in the 62d70d03666 article on page 50, Dr Loch is with students expected towill clearly parents) ask practice at tostudents what we(and are doing in our with our students. currently leading a very special project – the establishment Kahn, P., & O’Rourke, K. (2004). Guide to and effectively report on data in academic advisory events We hear ourselves saying to such our students, various “when you of our very own research centredesign: at theEnquiry-based College. Our vision curriculum learning. formats and to different Higher Education Academy, and 30(2),students 3-30. asout Macquarie University’s Open are in the real world, you’ll find…”, “in the real world, is to create a space where Pymble educators audiences through assessment Day need…” is “whator will person you’ll even, “thisX isbea real world task engage with academics, peers and industry collaborators resources/guides/kahn_2004.pdf taskswhich that range from writing blogs onceyou they graduate?” While this gives a chance to…”. from organisations within Australia and around the world Macquarie University, Department of Cognitive and research reports to giving is a reasonable question, there to conduct, share and apply research to explore new and Science. (2020a). Bachelor of Cogntitive research presentations and creating What are aiming for answer at Pymble Brainand Sciences. is nowe straight-forward to is to blur the line challenges, find solutions pathways and create real marketing slogans. between what happens within domestic/undergraduate/bachelor-ofthis question. The options arelessons and learning change in our world. Can you just imagine the possibilities cognitive-and-brain-sciences experiences, and whatisisthat happening limitless! The reality careers in workplaces, Conclusively, Macquarie University for our girls and our educators? Exciting Department times indeed! Macquarie University, of Cogntiive businesses, institutions organisations outside ofrecognised nationally as change. Jobs are everand evolving, has been Science. (2020b). Department of Cognitive our campus.inUltimately, our purpose up our in implementing I look forward to sharing more news about the Pymble Science. especially technology fields such is to set a trailblazer girls for life beyond school. Institute in due course. For now, enjoy this deep dive McNeal, A. P., & D’Avanzo, C. (1997). Studentas Artificial Intelligence (AI) and innovative learning and teaching into learning at Pymble. active science: Models of innovation in human-computer interfaces, as practices to nurture skills that are Applied learning is an area of continued research and college science teaching. Centers for well as human-facing fields such and approaches applicable within the real-world understanding, with many definitions Teaching and Technology - Book Library. 112. as the health industry, with jobssees students beyond but, essentially, applied learning use undergraduate studies. ct2-library/112 being available nowto that were The new Bachelor of Cognitive and knowledge and skills solve real world problems. National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry unimaginable Brain Sciences is a prime example of Educators work ainfew theyears spaceago. between classrooms and the national science education standards. DR KATE HADWEN Washington, DC: The National Academies thisinvolves practice. and the ‘outside world’, too. Applied learning Press. PRINCIPAL engaging in meaningful and authentic experiences both in the classroom and beyond. Students and educators



The diversity of research within our educational community is inspiring to sample, with articles taking the reader more deeply into ways educators improve their practice and into the passion and motivation that drives each individual to study and to study further.”

Pymble Ladies’ College is proud to share the latest edition of Illuminate. In this collection of articles, readers are invited to explore the notion of research and practice through a range of different topics and lenses.


rofessor Helen Timperley, a scholar with a long record of research in teachers’ professional learning, writes that for teachers, as well as for students, “emotion and motivation are the gatekeepers of learning” (2015, 7). She further asserts that “if leaders wish to make a difference, there is no more powerful approach to leading teaching and learning than through creating a culture of genuine curiosity about what is happening for learners and a systematic process to engage in deep inquiry in ways that create agency to make the difference” (2015, 9).



Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

In this edition, the diversity of research within our educational community is inspiring to sample, with articles taking the reader more deeply into ways educators improve their practice and into the passion and motivation that drives each individual to study and to study further. Readers will recognise the undoubtable commitment to growth among our staff and students through the vehicle of research. This takes shape through a combination of action research, literature review and

Pymble Ladies’ College

FROM THE EDITOR Readers of this edition will note the important professional reflection, and is evident thread of action that is emerging from across fields including Coding, teaching research. From all endeavours, be it a study Mathematics and Outdoor Education. tour, an exposition of programming or In these areas, a range of articles captures pedagogical exploration, the research and the journey of each author as they dedicate inquiry undertaken is applied to open up time to reflect on ways processes can be new knowledge, to do things differently, and implemented or transformed to achieve better, in order to bring about a multitude of better outcomes for our students. improvements for more and more people. These teacher-researchers have crafted inquiry questions, collected data from a There is, however, more to the research and wide range of sources, and created new inquiry process than applied actions and understandings, which further propel their quantifiable results. Research and scholarship practice and hopefully will changes us. It widens our horizons. inspire many others to do The magic of research is beautifully From all endeavours, the same. expressed by the Indigenous be it a study tour, an exposition of programming Australian academic, Dr Doseena Also showcased in this or pedagogical exploration, Fergie, a specialist in Nursing edition is the journey the research and inquiry Research and Aboriginal Women’s of secondary and undertaken is applied to Business, and a Churchill Fellow, postgraduate study in open up new knowledge, who expresses her own journey to various research fields. We to do things differently, her PhD as a ‘testing of the waters’ of share the perspectives of a and better, in order to her local world: “As a child who was group of our own Pymble bring about a multitude of students, former students, improvements for more and born on an island within the Torres Straits of Australia, the surrounding staff and friends as they more people.” saltwater teemed of stories that had embrace the complexity been eloquently told ‘our way’ by the of formal research with Ancestors. Even though the sea was a familiar a generous commitment to sharing their environment, I distinctly remember one stories. Whether it be Senior School Science moment when I gazed out beyond the blue students or staff attaining their Master or ocean, I said thoughtfully ‘I wonder what lies Doctorate degrees, the journey of research is beyond that horizon?’” (2018, 290). characterised by increasing one’s confidence and skill in looking outwards. This is a question for you, too. When you consider your own motivations and where your We are also fortunate in this edition to have emotions lie, what are you curious to explore? the opportunity to learn from members of the What lies beyond your own horizon? Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University. This article spans the creation of a new Bachelor course “that focuses on the DR SARAH LOCH cutting-edge and rapidly evolving fields of DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT cognitive science and neuroscience … but also essential research skills, such as proficiency in science communication, critical thinking, programming and statistics” (De Wit and Callister-Hakewill, this edition, 56).   References Fergie, D. (2018). “I wonder what lies beyond that horizon?” Australian Journal of Education, 62(3), 289–298. https://doi. org/10.1177/0004944118798659. Timperley, H. (2015). Leading teaching and learning through professional learning. Australian Educational Leader, 37(2), 6-9.



Dan Brown Dan Brown has been working at Pymble for more than six years. A teacher in the Junior School for four years, he has applied his passion for technology and creative thinking in many areas, including co-coordinating STEM initiatives, running a Junior School Robotics program and being involved in many extension opportunities across a range of key learning areas. Dan is now a Digital Learning Leader from Kindergarten to Year 12. Fascinated and in many cases excited by the direction and change the future is bringing, he endeavours to inspire the next generation of problem-solvers and provide them with the agile thinking skills, community-minded approach and positivity they will need to be the creators and innovators of the future. Dan Brown DIGITAL LEARNING LEADER

Zoë CallisterHakewill After graduating from Pymble Ladies’ College in 2013, Zoë studied at the University of Sydney where she completed a Bachelor of Medical Science, a Master of International Public Health and a Master of Health Law. She is in her third year of Psychology at Macquarie University, where she also works in the Cognitive Science Department as a Research Officer under the supervision of Dr Bianca De Wit. Their team is currently investigating brain health in athletes competing in highcontact sports and employing the principles of neuroscience and neurophysiology to develop an objective measure for brain health through mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) technology. Zoë is passionate about employing biotechnology to improve future health outcomes and strives to promote STEM pathways to young women and is looking to continue her tertiary studies through a PhD. Zoë Callister-Hakewill RESEARCH OFFICER, COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND PSYCHOLOGY, MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY / PYMBLE EX-STUDENT



Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

Stuart Clark

Katrina Cluff

Stuart Clark is the Director of Experiential Learning at Pymble Ladies’ College. Stuart has worked at Pymble since 2013 in a number of roles in the Pymble Cocurricular program. He holds Master’s degrees in both Teaching and Adult Education, Diplomas in Outdoor Recreation and Work Health and Safety, and Certificate IVs in Vocational Education and Training and Emergency Medical Response. Prior to joining the team at Pymble, Stuart ran his own emergency response consultancy and training business and worked in Outdoor Education, which saw him working for many school Outdoor and Experiential Learning programs. Stuart’s passions at work involve bringing exciting and challenging programs to life for students and observing the resulting personal growth. He is passionate about reconnecting students to the wilderness – developing a sense of stewardship for our natural world is key in this pursuit.

Katrina Cluff started her teaching career at Pymble in 2008, teaching Elective Dance and Drama and the Co-curricular Dance Program. She has continued to apply her passion for Dance to develop programs that suit the students of the College. She has choreographed several musicals, HSC Dance pieces and is also a marker for Dance in the HSC. She is incredibly proud of all of the achievements of the RAD Ballet, Eisteddfod and HSC Dance students; a highlight was achieving first, third and fourth positions in the State in 2018 and attaining more than 60 nominations for Callback. Katrina has been honoured to receive two different Professional Learning Grants at the College, which allowed her to visit Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (2010) for a teacher intensive, and to Copenhagen and Denmark in 2014 to present at an International Dance Conference. In 2019 Katrina completed her Master of Education (Educational Psychology).

Stuart Clark

Katrina Cluff



Pymble Ladies’ College


Bianca de Wit Dr Bianca de Wit is a pioneering academic who is using commercial and portable technology in education and research. While she underpins her teaching principles with practical research skills obtained from her background in Psychology (Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands) and her PhD in Cognitive Science (Macquarie University), it has ultimately been her specialisation in integrating mobile neurogaming technology into undergraduate cognitive neuroscience curricula that has made her a multiaward-winning educator. Internationally recognised as an innovative learning and teaching strategist, she has also been invited to the University of Washington in St Louis (WUSTL) and the University of Exeter to replicate her cuttingedge cognitive neuroscience labs. In addition to managing her responsibilities as Director of Undergraduate Studies at Macquarie University, Bianca continues to apply her expertise in investigating the brain processes that underpin the ability to read words as well as using mobile neurogaming technology to study brain health in female sports players.

Alexandra Ibbotson Lexi Ibbotson graduated from Pymble Ladies’ College in 2012 and, since that time, has worked at the College’s Out of School Hours Care Centre (OSHC). She has completed her formal qualifications with a Certificate IV and Diploma in School Aged Education and Care. Lexi is inspired by the creativity within children and their ability to make anything from virtually anything. She also loves working with educators from different areas of the College including current students who assist in OSHC, former students now studying at university who work in OSHC, classroom teachers and College leaders. She spends as much time as possible with her family and in the outdoors, such as at the beach. Alexandra Ibbotson OSHC ASSISTANT CO-ORDINATOR / EDUCATIONAL LEADER / PYMBLE EX-STUDENT

Katie Jackson

Sarah Loch

Katie Jackson is a passionate Mathematics teacher and has a deep-seated belief that all students can learn and understand maths. She began her teaching career at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School where she held the position of Year Advisor for Year 7 and this is where she learned about the social and emotional hardships encountered by many students in this area. After working in a number of schools, Katie has been teaching at Pymble for the last two years. Katie has a strong desire to understand cognitive science and the emerging area of neuroscience, and in using these frameworks to understand the way we learn. She is never satisfied with her lessons and is always trying to find better ways to teach Mathematics to enhance her students’ understanding. She uses her research to help her students achieve to the highest level. Katie has a strong interest in using technology to enhance learning in the classroom and has presented on ‘Flipped Learning’ and STEM in mathematics at educational conferences.

Dr Sarah Loch is the Director of Research and Development at Pymble and a member of the History, Society and Ethics faculty, where she teaches History. She has been teaching English and History and working in pastoral care leadership in K to 12 schools for more than 20 years. She currently teaches Year 10 Big History and loves helping her students with their research and academic writing. Sarah has also taught Drama and Literacy at primary school level and Undergraduate and Postgraduate in teacher education at university. Prior to working at Pymble, Sarah was a member of the School of Education team at the University of Technology Sydney, where she remains an Industry Associate for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Sarah is committed to enhancing diverse and impactful educational practices by supporting teachers to engage in, conduct and communicate their own research.

Dr Bianca de Wit

Katie Jackson






Bryan Morrison

Kristie Spence

Fi Stevenson

Ryan Stewart

Bryan Morrison has been teaching Mathematics since 2004 when he commenced at Pymble Ladies’ College. Prior to his teaching career, Bryan held many interesting jobs including in retail, a courier driver, a linesman and a chainman in the State Rail Authority and a customer engineer in the photocopier division of Canon Australia. Bryan has also coached his son’s soccer team, taught Sunday School at St Andrew’s St Ives and cleaned and serviced swimming pools locally. Bryan believes maths is important because it is fundamental to many situations in life and is a different way of thinking and problem solving. His goal as a teacher is to dispel any dislike of Mathematics by demonstrating the practical aspects of the subject. Bryan’s other responsibilities at the College have included being a Middle School Connect teacher, assisting with Homework Help in the Library for many years, and leading as an Officer of Cadets in the Pymble Ladies’ College Cadet Unit.

Dr Kristie Spence is the Head of Learning Area – Science. Her love of Science goes back as far as she can remember. It was a rare occasion when Kristie wasn’t pondering a question about how the world worked. After achieving Undergraduate and Honours degrees in Physics and Chemistry, Kristie’s passion for knowledge was not yet satisfied, so she set out to undertake her Doctorate at the University of Oxford where she successfully combined her passion for both Physics and Chemistry in the development of solid-state lasers and their applications. Kristie progressed to Post-Doctoral research at University College London examining the use of light to diagnose and treat cancer. Since 2007, Kristie has taught Chemistry and Physics where she is driven to pass on her passion for Science to the next generation. Her career highlights include enhancing the engagement of girls in STEM, in both her own Physics classroom and in initiatives such as the STEM Games and the Pymble Robotics Program. Kristie continues to devise.

Fi Stevenson brings a K to 6 teaching background to her leadership role as Pymble’s Out of School Hours Care Co-ordinator. With her passion for providing opportunities for children in the out of school hours environment ignited, she moved out of the classroom to embrace the Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) sector full time. Fi has now been co-ordinating OSHC centres for 30 years. She believes unstructured play is necessary for the growth of creativity, academic achievement and healthy wellbeing in children. Fi enjoys undertaking her own creative projects through DIY building projects, watching live music and swimming.

Ryan Stewart commenced teaching History and Modern History at Pymble in 2015. He specialises in Ancient History and the study of historiography. His PhD research is in the area of memories of contact between settler-colonists and First Nations peoples on the Australian frontier. He is passionate about connecting students to the study of History to ensure they become active and informed Australian and global citizens. His goal as a teacher is to always engage students through dynamic teaching and the building of meaningful rapport with students. His other responsibilities at Pymble Ladies’ College have included the role of Student Coordinator and he is currently the Thomas House Leader.

Bryan Morrison







Dr Kristie Spence

Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

Pymble Ladies’ College

EDUCATION AND CARE Data collection in Out of School Hours Care: What data looks like and how it informs programs and practice By Fi Stevenson, OSHC Co-ordinator and Alexandra Ibbotson, OSHC Assistant Co-ordinator WHAT IS OSHC?


SHC stands for Out of School Hours Care. This includes Before-School Care, After-School Care and Vacation Care. OSHC is also referred to as schoolage education and care. In an OSHC setting, educators work in collaboration with children to provide play and learning opportunities that are meaningful and support their wellbeing, learning, and development. OSHC aims to promote collaboration by simultaneously focusing on the needs and interests of each child. Children at OSHC have choice and control over their learning as they work in partnership with educators to extend and acquire life skills. As children move from preschool to school, their world is expanding. Play-based learning: A context for Children’s learning in a school-aged learning through which children care setting complements their organise and make sense of their social learning at home and school. At worlds, as they engage actively with OSHC, great importance is placed people, objects and representations. on strengthening children’s interests, developing secure respectful and reciprocal relationships and providing opportunities for children to learn through play.

Angela Xiong in Kindergarten (2019), with Educator Evie Charles

OUR CURRICULUM: NATIONAL QUALITY FRAMEWORK * The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority developed the National Quality Framework that includes National Quality Standards. These standards set a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services and include seven quality areas. In each quality area, there are two or three standards. Under each standard are elements that describe the outcomes that contribute to the standard being achieved. The quality standards are also underpinned by regulatory standards. Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the National Quality Standards and given a rating for each of the seven quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.

MY TIME OUR PLACE FRAMEWORK ** This framework was designed to be used by OSHC educators working in partnership with children, their families, the school community and the wider community. This framework is linked to the early years framework. It extends the practices and principles and outcomes to the age range of the children and young people that attend school-age care settings. The framework guides educators’ practice to provide children with opportunities that develop a foundation for future success in life and emphasis a sense of enjoyment. *information from National Quality Framework **information from My Time Our Place framework


EDUCATION AND CARE THE PROGRAM OF PLAY At Pymble Ladies’ College OSHC, play is the medium by which all aspects of learning and development are facilitated. Learning that occurs in the context of play and the program we provide at OSHC is informed by the My Time Our Place framework. Our program is made up of a collection of planned activities, interactions, experiences, and routines but is not limited to these events. Catering for approximately 80 to 90 children each afternoon, our program also incorporates an array of spontaneous experiences. These planned and spontaneous activities are designed to support wellbeing and facilitate learning. Our approach to program decisionmaking welcomes, respects and draws on the voices, interests, experiences, backgrounds, and

Helping our gardens to grow with OSHC

Learning is generated through staff and children engaging in meaningful interactions and developing secure, reciprocal and respectful relationships that are achieved through planned and spontaneous activities.”

cultures of the children and families utilising our service. Our program reflects a strong commitment to meaningful, regular engagement with families and the community that promotes strong connections between each child’s diverse learning environments. CHILDREN’S VOICES Children’s voices underpin all aspects of our program. Child-directed learning promotes children’s agency by enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world. In order to develop a child-centred educational program, we draw on children’s interests, knowledge, ability, ideas and culture. The child-directed play and learning that occurs at OSHC is evident to any visitor to the Centre. They will see the children leading their learning through exploring, experimenting, investigating and being creative in ways they initiate and control. By observing and actively seeking out the views, perspectives, and voices of the children, educators are able to develop a program that is child-centred. To enhance the children’s learning, our program also draws inspiration from geographical, cultural and community contexts.



Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

Pymble Ladies’ College

EDUCATION AND CARE The program and activities are generated from the child’s particular interests. This direct involvement encourages children to be confident and selfdirected learners.”


OSHC educators, under the guidance of the educational leader, contribute their daily observations from each activity to our observation and reflection sheet. These observations are used to inform the next stages of the play cycle, possible lines of development and new activity lines. Using observation and reflection sheets enables us to learn from everyday experiences. Our reflective practice is about learning from ordinary and interesting situations and from the issues and problems that are part of our daily experiences. It is a critical examination of not only what happened, but why. For example, an educator may reflect on the original objectives and expected outcomes of a plan and consider how they evolved. Observing what they have noticed, seen and heard throughout morning and afternoon sessions is a vital skill for the educators. Our observations are important as they can provide insight into the children’s social and emotional connections, as well as their fine and gross motor skills. By sharing details of the children’s behaviours, actions, and interactions with each other, the team is better able to plan and program for the children. THE PLANNING CYCLE The planning cycle process includes observation, analysing learning, documentation, planning, implementation and reflection. This ongoing process is used by educators, with support from the educational leader and in partnership with families and other professionals, to design programs that enhance and extend each child’s learning and development. Children: We look at what interests the children, their current knowledge (what they know, what they don’t know, and what they would like to know), their abilities and strengths, and what and who influences them, their backgrounds, culture, and community.


Revision of practice


Program Development



Program Development: Our program is child-centred and developed following the National Quality Framework and guided by My Time Our Place framework. We endeavour to provide opportunities for the children to extend and enhance their learning. Practice: The practice is the program in action. It is comprised of creating experiences and activities that are child-centred and that encourage positive and diverse interactions. Another key aspect of successful practice is continuity and routines. Modifications: Modifications are made before and during the practice. Modifications that are made beforehand usually relate to the physical environment, such as changes in the weather, or being unable to use a certain space. During the practice, modifications are often made by the children or educators. The children regularly like to experiment and explore, thus extending and following their own interests at that time. The educators may modify an activity so it better suits the children participating, to follow children’s ideas or suggestions, or to provide more opportunities for each child.

The Educators are focused and engaged with each child throughout the learning process. This is achieved through intentional teaching, scaffolding, reflective practice and child-initiated outcomes. High staff-to-child ratios allow time for interaction with children and development of programs that reflect the interests and well-being of all children, families and communities.”


EDUCATION AND CARE Feedback: Feedback from the educators comes in the form of our observation and reflection sheets. These sheets are completed daily and ask the educators to look at and critically reflect on what worked and what did not work during the afternoon, as well as to document any relevant observations from that period. Children’s feedback is often received verbally and occasionally nonverbally (such as thumbs up, down or in the middle) and educators document this feedback on their observation and reflection sheets. Feedback from families and community members can also be gained via email. Lia showing interest in bug catching Introduction of wildlife Wednesday

Children wanted more time looking for bugs/at the farm

THE PLANNING CYCLE in action – Lia with bugs

Include bug catching in afternoon program

From this I developed activities that would provide opportunities for the girls to learn through play about Australia.

One of the most popular games that we made was Australian Bingo. The girls had to cover Australian themed images and the first to cover them all was the winner. The girls adapted this game to suit their needs by adding challenges like having to cover a diagonal line or to go around the outside rather than the whole board. 5.1.10 We participate in play opportunities that promote social interaction with each other. For the first two weeks we looked at Australia as a whole and following this, each week we looked at a different state or territory, with activities specific to that state or territory.

Bug catching

More children participated/took catcher to the farm

Revision of practice: Using the observation and reflection sheets the Educational Leader will revise the program and the practice. They determine whether we should do this activity again and how to extend this activity, such as including possible lines of development. LEARNING THROUGH PLAY – AUSTRALIA TERM During the nine weeks of Term 2 2019, our program had an underlying focus on Australia. We incoporated games, craft, dance, reserch and books that would help the children learn and develop their understanding of Australia into our weekly programs.

The Junior School girls relished the opportunity to use the iPads to look up information on each state and territory. The Year 5 and 6 girls then worked together to make fact sheets with the information on their laptops, which were displayed around the map of Australia that Years 3 and 4 made with Veronique, our Junior Educator. 2.1.4 We broaden our understanding of the world in which we live and 5.3 Children collaborate with others, express ideas and make meaning using a range of media. Amari in Year 1 enjoyed learning about Western Australia this week. She used bright oranges, yellow and pink watercolours to make a sunset over the ocean. Anika in Year 2 used the iPad to look up images of central Australia. She then, with the help of her friends, enjoyed making a diorama of the Northern Territory. The children collected sand and small rocks from the Riverbed and made cacti and animals out of the free craft supplies.

Intentional teaching: National Quality Areas 1.1 The educational program enhances each child’s learning and development and 1.1.3 All aspects of the program, including routines, are organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning. 1.2.1 Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.



Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

This program stemmed from a conversation I had with one of the children. She was going to the Gold Coast for the holidays and was very excited, but she did not know that the Gold Coast was located in Queensland. Some of the other younger girls also needed guidance in knowing what state we were in.”

Pymble Ladies’ College

EDUCATION AND CARE Throughout the term the girls continually modified the program, made suggestions and developed their ways of doing and being.

2.4.3 We participate with others to solve problems and contribute to group outcomes. Partnerships. Riley in Year 1 enjoyed making koala masks. She made one for herself, one for her mum and one for her dad. Meanwhile the Junior School girls enjoyed making imprints of gum leaves on clay and painting them the following week. The girls also made Australian fauna and flora out of airdry clay with Evie, as well as testing their fine motor skills when doing challenging colouring-in sheets. However, the highlight was starting to make our Australian flag out of mosaic tiles. Following the completion of the Australian flag, the girls also made the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. NQA 5.2.1 Children are supported to collaborate, learn from and help each other.

Learning through play. 1.4.5 We express a wide range of emotions, thoughts and views constructively; 5.2.5 we recognise and engage with written and oral culturally constructed texts.

2.2.1 We use opportunities to develop understandings about the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition. Respect for diversity.

Connecting with our Dance Day, Issy and Shakira spent the last four The Junior School girls, with the Wednesdays of Term 2 2019 teaching help of Year 12 2019 Graduates and the girls a traditional Indigenous Junior Educators, Shakira Tyson and dance. The dance is handed down Issy Docker, used the iPads to look from one generation to the next. up different words of 1.3.7 We develop our welcome and greetings social and cultural used by different heritage through Indigenous Australian engagement with Following communities. 2.4.7 elders and community this feedback, We appreciate social, members. Each week we incorporated cultural linguistic and more and more of the some new activities religious diversity. After-School Care girls into our program Issy and Shakira participated. It was and modified old shared with the girls activities to suit this lovely to see the girls the greeting and terms project.” who had learnt the welcome words used dance teach their peers. in their communities. Key: MTOP outcomes, MTOP practices and principles, National Quality Areas Shakira Tyson, Junior Educator and Year 12 (2019) student with Ella Gao Year 3 (2019)

During National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June 2019) the girls worked with Joss to make a reconciliation tree. The leaves on the tree were made from cut outs of the girls’ handprints with words they had chosen. Written on them was “we are one”, “thank you” and “sorry”. This activity was thought provoking and the girls asked many questions. It was encouraging to see them show interest and start to cultivate an understanding of Australia’s history. Feedback from the girls was positive, with some questions about Australia’s history. Issy and Shakira suggested that they would be happy to share some of their culture with the girls’ through art and dance.


EDUCATION AND CARE Emily Boyd – Preparatory School teacher, former OSHC educator “My desire to work with children began when I worked in Pymble’s Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) program. The four years that I spent working in this program played a large role in shaping my educational philosophy and teaching practices. My goal in teaching is to enhance and teach the whole child – the cognitive, emotional and behavioural elements of the student. Children require a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature in all aspects. This prepared me for the realistic happenings and challenges that would be faced each day within the classroom. It taught me that there are numerous ways to engage, excite and involve students in their learning. A key approach, particularly in the Preparatory years, is via play-based learning. Creating authentic learning experiences in which the students can make sense of their social worlds while learning new concepts in an interactive play dynamic. The skills that I developed while working in OSHC cemented my beliefs that working with Primary-aged children is my passion and confirmed my beliefs that educators, whether they be teachers or OSHC workers, are instrumental in developing the lives of our young people.”

Cassie Melrose – Preparatory School teacher, former OSHC educator “I joined the OSHC team in 2010 when I was studying a Psychology degree at Macquarie University. During my four years at the Centre, I decided to further my studies and become a Primary teacher, as I had found a love for educating children during my time there. Working at the Centre while studying education was extremely beneficial, as I could practise the skills I was learning in an environment that was similar to a classroom.  Fi and her team are child-centred in the way they program their activities. There is an abundance of choice for the girls, allowing them to make, create, design, play, move or unwind. Being able to cater for all types of students’ needs during my time at OSHC was a valuable skill that I acquired and have used daily in my teaching. Observing and listening to the various ways in which children learn, and being able to identify their skills, is essential to providing differentiated learning, which as we know, is a pillar of a quality education.”



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Evie Charles – Junior School teacher, former OSHC educator “Throughout my four years at OSHC, I was able to develop safe, secure and consistent relationships with all the girls. Establishing rapport with Primaryaged girls has assisted me with fostering their wellbeing and resilience. Additionally, play-based experiences were a teaching tool that underpinned all learning. By having a greater knowledge of the key components of the play cycle, I have come to understand how vital play is for a child’s learning.    In 2019, I had the opportunity to plan and program a Kindergarten induction for the summer holidays at OSHC. Using common activities enjoyed by Kindergarten girls in previous years, I was able to gather data to inform the play-based experiences necessary for the girls to have a positive experience at Pymble before even starting school. Through discussions, whiteboard suggestions and surveys, the girls were able to provide valuable feedback on what activities interested them during an afternoon at OSHC. The child-centred programming allowed each individual girl to feel a sense of ownership over their learning. This translates seamlessly to the classroom setting.”

Mandy Sun – OSHC staff member, Pymble ex-student, studying Bachelor of Arts and Secondary Education “OSHC has taught me about the importance of child-centred programming and data collection. It not only benefits the children’s experience and learning but helps me develop my practice and skills. The collaborative approach and communication utilised in OSHC has helped shape my practice and interaction with the children. The observation reflection sheets I complete after each afternoon with the children have helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. I can collect data about the various experiences of educators I converse with, and then apply that to improve my practice and skills in the following week. Facilitating conversations with the girls to understand their interests and experiences during the school day helps me build a connection and a sense of trust so they are able to comfortably tell me what is working and what is not. Observing different behaviours and interactions helps me better understand each girl and how I can best communicate and engage her in different activities. Collecting data is essential to create stronger, more meaningful and more positive learning and play experiences.”

Pymble Ladies’ College


CONCLUSION OSHC is open 49 weeks of the year and the educators would like to extend an open invitation to welcome staff and parents to spend time in the Pymble Ladies’ College OSHC Centre. We can guarantee you an excellent opportunity to rediscover play and witness firsthand the learning that is occurring.

Co-ordinator / Director

Assistant Co-ordinator Educational Leader

Administration staff

Full time Educators

Casual Supervisor

Casual Educator

Junior Educators

Volunteers / Duke of Edinburgh students

Part time permanent

Our child-centred programming informs the entire approach at OSHC. This is an intensely creative process and one that has firm child-centred outcomes in creativity, wellbeing and learning through play. Reflective practice guides our educators in their task of gathering information (data) from different perspectives to gain insights that support, inform and enrich our decisionmaking about each child’s learning and our program. By providing time in our program for uninterrupted and unstructured play opportunities, the children have time to develop problem solving strategies and creativity that enhance their academic abilities and reduces stress and anxiety. Combining this with structured activities that are built on children’s interests and ideas, we see an increase in wellbeing, autonomy, teamwork and resilience.

Collaboration: involves working together co-operatively towards common goals. Collaboration is achieved through information sharing, joint planning and the development of common understandings and objectives.

Critical Reflection: reflective practices that focus on implications for equity and social justice. It involves examining and analysing events, experiences and practices from a range of perspectives to inform future planning and decision-making.

Child-directed: Child-directed play and learning occurs when children lead their learning through exploring, experimenting, investigating and being creative in ways that they initiate and control. Child-directed learning promotes children’s agency by enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world.


BEYOND THE CLASSOOM Experiential learning: The what, when, how, where and, most importantly, why? By Stuart Clark, Director of Experiential Learning WHAT IS EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION?


he Association of Experiential Education (n.d.), which was founded in 1972 and currently has members from 35 countries, summarises experiential education as “challenge and experience followed by reflection leading to learning and growth”. Experiential education is a teaching philosophy that informs many different methodologies that educators use in their craft. In experiential learning, educators purposefully engage with learners in creating and facilitating direct, concrete experiences that challenge the learners to communicate and collaborate with others to problem solve, achieve a goal, possibly to face fears and anxieties, and challenge preconceived notions of the world and of themselves. It is a feature in experiential learning that these experiences are followed by focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities. Importantly, there is also an emphasis that adventure and challenge should be core principles of the learner experience, as such experiences push the learner from their comfort zone to the learning zone, where the greatest educational gains can occur. Further, experiential learning has the opportunity to crucially deepen interpersonal skills like collaboration, leadership and problem-solving, which will positively influence the learner’s future performance in all aspects of life.

The general concept of learning through experience is ancient. Around 350 BCE, Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics: “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. But as a formal educational theory, experiential learning is much more contemporary. Beginning in the 1970s, David A. Kolb helped to develop the modern theory of experiential learning, drawing heavily on the work of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget.



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Summit climb in the Myall Lakes National Park

KOLB’S EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING MODEL Experiential learning focuses on the learning process for the individual. A good example of experiential learning involves learning how to ride a bike, a process which can illustrate the four-step Experiential Learning model as set forth by Kolb and outlined in Figure 1 below.

Concrete Experience (Doing/having an experience)

Reflective Observation

Active Experimentation

(Reviewing/reflecting on the experience)

(Planning/trying out what you have learned)

Abstract Conceptualisation (Concluding/learning from the experience)

Figure 1, Kolb’s Experiential Learning model

Pymble Ladies’ College

BEYOND THE CLASSOOM In relation to the learner experience in this model, McLeod (2017) notes that effective learning is seen when a person progresses through a cycle of four stages of: 1. having a concrete experience followed by, 2. observation of and reflection on that experience which leads to, 3. the formation of abstract concepts (analysis) and generalisations (conclusions) which are then, 4. used to test hypothesis in future situations, resulting in new experiences. Kolb and Fry (1974) view learning as an integrated process with each stage being mutually supportive of and feeding into the next. It is possible to enter the cycle at any stage and follow it through its logical sequence. However, effective learning only occurs when a learner can execute all four stages of the model. Therefore, no one stage of the cycle is effective as a learning procedure on its own. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: THE PRINCIPLES OF PRACTICE According to Kolb, knowledge is continuously gained through both personal and environmental experiences. Kolb states that in order to gain genuine knowledge from an experience, the learner must: • Be willing to be actively involved in the experience, • Be able to reflect on the experience, • Possess and use analytical skills to conceptualise the experience, and; • Possess decision making and problem-solving skills in order to use the new ideas gained from the experience.

This is a significant challenge in schools when the demands on teachers to elicit high performance from their cohorts is so great.” In relation to staff, it is important to note that having classroom teachers involved in experiential learning experiences beyond their academic area brings great value for students as the reflection phase can extend into the regular classroom environment. The development of the teacher-student relationship is a complementary and multifaceted benefit as well. An example of this is a classroom teacher attending an outdoor education program. This concept is expanded on later in this paper in relation to the finding of the Learning Away study (Kendall and Rodgers, 2015). Another interesting factor to consider in relation to the conditions above is the difference between compulsory and discretionary outdoor education programs. If students are made to participate, we should question exactly how actively involved in the experience they will be. However, if given the option, some students would opt out and therefore miss out on a potentially beneficial experience, albeit an uncomfortable one. We know that learning takes place when a situation is psychologically challenging. As Yale Medical School Professor of Neuroscience Daeyeol Lee (2018) tells us, “When you enter a more novel and volatile environment, this might enhance the tendency for the brain to absorb more information”.

These four conditions do not happen by chance. A number of factors need to interplay to ensure the deepest outcomes.” Learning activities, whether in a traditional classroom environment, in an outdoor environment on a school campus, or in an offsite location such as a national park, must be planned very carefully, and the right staff are essential to achieve planned, genuine outcomes. If time away from standard curriculum delivery is required, a commitment from academic leaders is needed to ensure adequate time is allocated for training prior to the experiential learning experience, and debriefing and reflection afterwards.

Treading lightly while exploring our beautiful NSW coastline


BEYOND THE CLASSOOM The Association of Experiential Education (n.d.) identifies the ‘Principles of Practice of Experiential Learning’ as follows: • Occurring when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis. •E xperiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results. •T hroughout the Experiential Learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning. •L earners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, soulfully and/ or physically. This involvement produces a perception that the learning task is authentic. •T he results of the learning are personal and form the basis for future experience and learning. •R elationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large. •T he educator and learner may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking and uncertainty, because the outcomes of experience cannot totally be predicted. •O pportunities are nurtured for learners and educators to explore and examine their own values. •T he educator’s primary roles include setting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, insuring physical and emotional safety, and facilitating the learning process. •T he educator recognises and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning. •E ducators strive to be aware of their biases, judgments and preconceptions, and how these influence the learner. •T he design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes.

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From the list on the left, the four most relevant factors for Pymble to explore as we investigate innovative ways to develop experiential learning are: • Experiential Learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis – this crucial feature of experiential learning requires a whole school approach be adopted, and time is afforded for the periphery activities, not just the experience itself. This may cause challenges in many schools given the saturation of their academic timetable. • Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results – this concept must be embedded across all Experiential Learning programs, as too often those activities are predominantly teacher/instructor-led and the learners miss out on significant parts of the experience as a result. In some cases teachers will need training to understand how to facilitate rather than instruct. • Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large – developing self-awareness, self-efficacy and identity are fundamental but often overlooked skills in a busy student’s life. Experiential Learning programs should allow genuine time for reflection and looking inward, then looking outwards again and allowing students to connect with the world. Service learning is certainly a powerful tool in the paradigm of self-awareness. • The design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes – setting up opportunities for students to fail safely, and learn from it, is vitally important. Controlled risk taking can also be explored in this context, setting students up to assess personal and professional risk in their lives. IMPLEMENTATION OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Moon (2004) has elaborated on Kolb’s cycle to argue that Experiential Learning is most effective when it involves: 1) a reflective learning phase 2) a phase of learning resulting from the actions inherent to experiential learning, and 3) a further phase of learning from feedback. This process of learning can result in “changes in judgment, feeling or skills” for the individual and can provide direction for the “making of judgments as a guide to choice and action” (Hutton, 2001, p.51). As discussed previously, what is vital in experiential learning is that the individual is encouraged to directly involve themselves in the experience, and to then reflect on their experiences using analytic skills. Learners can then gain a better understanding of the new knowledge and retain the information for a longer time. Reflection is a crucial part of the experiential learning process. Dewey (cited in Kompf & Bond, 2004) wrote that “successive portions of reflective thought grow out of one another and support one another”, creating a scaffold for further learning, and allowing for further experiences and reflection. This reinforces the fact that experiential learning and reflective learning are iterative processes, and the learning builds and develops with further reflection and experience. Facilitation of experiential learning and reflection is challenging, but “a skilled facilitator, asking the right questions and guiding reflective conversation before, during, and after an experience, can help open a gateway to powerful new thinking and learning” (Jacobson & Ruddy, 2004, p.2). Pymble Ladies’ College


Another exhilarating outdoor education experience comes to an end

Jacobson and Ruddy (2004), building on Kolb’s model, and Pfeiffer and Jones’s (1975) five-stage Experiential Learning Cycle, took these theoretical frameworks and created a simple, practical questioning model for facilitators to use in promoting critical reflection in experiential learning. Their “5 Questions” model is as follows: • Did you notice? • Why did that happen? • Does that happen in life? • Why does that happen? • How can you use that? These questions are posed by the facilitator after an experience, and gradually lead the group towards a critical reflection on their experience, and an understanding of how they can apply the learning to their own life. Although the questions are simple, they allow a relatively inexperienced facilitator to apply the theories of Kolb, Pfeiffer, and Jones, and deepen the learning of the group. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AT PYMBLE At Pymble, experiential learning is facilitated in a number of ways. Some programs are ingrained as part of the standard experience of each student

in a specific year group, such as the Year 10 Service Learning program and the Year Group Outdoor Education programs which currently run from Kindergarten to Year 9, and others are optional allowing students to tailor their journey, and choose their own adventure. Further, many teachers across a range of curriculum areas actively seek ways to use Experiential Learning techniques in their practice on a daily basis.” Naturally, some curricula provide more opportunities than others to tap into the powerful techniques available beyond teacher-centred education. An example of this from Mathematics is the work Bryan Morrison does with Secondary students in surveying (see page 25). Other programs with an experiential learning foundation available to Pymble students occur through the Co-Curricular program, including Robotics, the Pymble Model United Nations (PMUN) program, the International Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Australian Army Cadets program. These programs put students in situations where they are challenged to push their boundaries, build personal attributes and life skills, and learn from setbacks and failure.

Certainly, some of the sports Pymble offers have the opportunity to leverage experiential learning techniques to improve outcomes for students beyond just the thrill of victory and the benefits of physical conditioning. Simon Pennington’s article in Illuminate Edition 3, 2019, ‘Brain versus brawn in the Pymble Rowing program: Research informing practice’, studied effects on self-confidence, mental preparedness and developing better people through rowing. These concepts certainly equate to transferable life skills given the right application in training. Some experiential learning programs at Pymble are selective, with limited numbers and an application and interview process. Examples include international tours and exchanges which require time away from the Pymble campus and a student’s own home. The environment can be unfamiliar and sometimes challenging which provides an opportunity for valuable learning to occur. Tours into developing countries where there is significant disadvantage, such as the biennial Tanzania tour, have a particular ability to act as change agents in a student’s life. THE BENEFITS OF OUTDOOR EDUCATION AS EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING A significant component of the Pymble Experiential Learning program is currently facilitated through the Year Group Outdoor Education program for students from Kindergarten to Year 9. For these programs to be truly impactful and outcomes-based, a logical sequence of skills and experiences must be embedded in a continuum. There is work currently underway to review


BEYOND THE CLASSOOM this sequence and improve outcomes with some adjustments to the context, location and activities of certain programs within the continuum.

of students’ engagement with, and progress in, their learning, as well as their self-belief and expectation that they would make progress and succeed.

Outdoor Education can THE BENEFITS OF be a very effective way EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING to facilitate experiential learning, and there is Franklin D. Roosevelt much research into once reflected that Mountain bike riding is a popular activity for our students the benefits for school “a smooth sea never students. One of the made a skilful sailor”. most fundamental and Experiential education compelling reasons to encourage our students to provides a safe vessel in which to expose students connect with nature is that, more and more, they are to stress and challenge and cultivate their ability to disconnected from it. In his seminal book, Last Child in navigate uncertainty and adversity. This preparedness the Woods, Richard Louv (2008) directly links the lack of is now increasingly essential as globalisation continues nature in the lives of today’s ‘wired generation’, which to engender economic and cultural disruption. Young he calls nature-deficit, to some of the most disturbing people must become more agile and multi-skilled, and childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention schools need to innovate how and why their programs disorders and depression. Researchers Dickson, Gray translate into competent, resilient and creative graduates. and Mann (2008, p. iv) in their report for the Outdoor Problems often have more than one solution, and Council of Australia, Australian Outdoor Adventure interpersonal creative problem solving, and intrapersonal Activity Benefits Catalogue, comment. collaboration and communication are essential for The main benefits of outdoor adventure activities, success. Experiential Learning enables students to engage as shown in the evidence-based literature, include and expand their creative brains and seek unique and interpersonal and intrapersonal skills developed through versatile solutions to challenging tasks and situations. engaging in outdoor adventure activities in meaningful This creative pursuit, and the variety of results produced, ways. Benefits were evident in the psycho-social, enriches the learning experience of individuals and groups. psychological, physical and spiritual domains, particularly When experimenting, mistakes are valuable learning with regards to developing self-efficacy, intellectual experiences – Experiential Learning involves trial by flexibility, personal skills, and relationship building. error. As students engage in hands-on tasks, they find The Learning Away study in the United Kingdom that some approaches work better than others. They was undertaken from 2008 to 2015 with 60 partner discard the methods that don’t work, but the act of trying schools (Kendall and Rodgers, 2015). The researchers something and then abandoning it, which could ordinarily captured long-term benefits of outdoor education be considered a mistake, becomes a valuable part of the programs. This study shows that an outdoor education learning process. Thus, students learn not to fear mistakes, program with an overnight, residential component but to embrace and leverage them. provides opportunities, benefits and impacts that cannot be achieved in any THE FUTURE OF EXPERIENTIAL As Sir Richard Branson other educational context or setting. LEARNING AT PYMBLE says, “You don’t learn Throughout the evaluation process, to walk by following rules. As already discussed, preparing young impact on relationships (both studentYou learn by doing, and by women for the world beyond the student and staff-student) and on falling over.” College gates is a rapidly evolving students’ confidence were strongly challenge. As the fourth industrial and consistently demonstrated. The revolution takes shape, we need as a strength of relationships developed was significant and school and a community to provide opportunities for often unexpected. There was also strong evidence that young people to develop the personal attributes that will impacts in these areas led to positive outcomes in terms

20 | Illuminate EDITION 4 2020

Pymble Ladies’ College

BEYOND THE CLASSOOM assist them to navigate through change and uncertainty, to succeed professionally and most importantly, to be happy, fulfilled and connected to others and the Earth. As important as teaching technical literacy for future readiness is, we need to be acutely aware of the risks related to the relentless integration of technology in our lives, which, as Klaus Schwab (2015), Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, says “has the potential to diminish some of our quintessential human capacities, such as compassion and cooperation”. Our relationship with our smartphones is a case in point.

Taking in the sights on Mt Kosziosko

Experiential Learning has the capacity to offer this balance. In the future, Experiential Learning at Pymble has the capacity to be innovated and embraced further in many ways. An understanding of the principles, benefits and methods of implementation is essential for stakeholders to both support and leverage Constant connection may deprive us of one of life’s most important assets: the time to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful conversation”. the enablers of Experiential Learning. And, as we, as a school, and more broadly, a professional community of educators, explore ways to redesign and revolutionise pedagogy, it is vital that “challenge and experience followed by reflection leading to learning and growth” is an integral part of schooling.

References Association of Experiential Education (n.d.). What is experiential education? Retrieved from Dickson, T.J., Gray, T., & Mann, K. (2008). Australian outdoor adventure activity benefits catalogue. Centre for Tourism Research. Canberra, Australia: University of Canberra. Gass, M.A., Gillis, H.L., & Russell, K.C. (2012). Adventure therapy: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Routledge Hutton, M. (1980). Learning from action: A conceptual framework, in S. Warner Weil and M. McGill (Eds.) pp. 50–59. Making sense of experiential learning. Milton Keynes: SRHE/ Open University Press. Jacobson, M., & Ruddy, M. (2004). Open to outcome: A practical guide for facilitating and teaching experiential reflection. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Wood ‘N’ Barnes. Kendall, S., & Rodger, J. (2015). Paul Hamlyn Foundation Evaluation of Learning Away: Executive Summary. London: York Consulting. Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning as the science of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Kolb, D. A., & Fry, R. E. (1974). Toward an applied theory of experiential learning. MIT Alfred P. Sloan School of Management. Kompf, M., & Bond, R. (2001). Critical reflection in adult education (pp. 21-38). In T. Barer-Stein & M. Kompf (Eds.), The craft of teaching adults. Toronto, Ontario: Irwin. Livni, E. (2018). A new study from Yale scientists shows us how uncertainty helps us learn. Retrieved from Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. McLeod, S. A. (2017). Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle. Retrieved from learning-kolb.html Moon, J. (2004). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: Theory and practice. London: Routledge Falmer. Nicomachean Ethics (1911). Book 2. Translated by D.P. Chase. Pfeiffer, W. & Jones, J. E. (1975). A handbook of structured experiences for human relations training. La Jolla, California: University Associates. Schwab, K. (2015). The fourth industrial revolution: What it means and how to respond. Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from articles/2015-12-12/fourth-industrialrevolution.

Enjoying the outdoors on the South Coast of NSW


TEACHING MATHEMATICS Using retrieval practice in a Mathematics classroom By Katie Jackson, Mathematics Teacher We all have a preconceived idea as to what a Mathematics classroom should look like. When we were at school, we were taught Maths by block practice. We learned the concept in class, practiced from a textbook and probably had a topic test at the end of that learning episode – let’s take the example of learning fractions. You would probably be taught to add in one lesson, in the next to subtract, then on to multiplying before a few more lessons on dividing fractions.


locked practice is important for students when they learn a new concept or skill. Many students easily understand the work and complete the practice with few problems. They mistakenly think they can solve any problem. For example, if students are learning about finding sides in a right-angled triangle using Pythagoras’ theorem, they have a lot of success in block practice as the cue is that all questions in the lesson relate to Pythagoras’ Theorem. These students feel they have mastered the topic but fail to recognise Pythagoras’ Theorem when sitting a test of many mixed-up topics. This is because the cue of knowing what to do in advance is missing. A test may include many different types of triangles and being able to find area, a side in a right-angled triangle or a side in a non-rightangled triangle. This combination of questions means that the cues



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are missing and the students do not know which method to use. When it comes time for the test, students and teachers mistakenly believe students have mastered the work but the results are often disappointing. This can be a case of students’ grasping the work at the time because of cues from the lesson, which can be classified as performance, but it does not mean they have stored the information into long-term memory and thus the learning has been forgotten. WHAT IS INTERLEAVING? Educational scientists have found that blocked practice is initially useful in learning new concepts, but it is not the best way to retain that understanding. The best way to interrupt a cycle of disappointing results in Mathematics is to use interleaved practice, which forces students to choose an appropriate

strategy to solve a problem and helps them to store the information in long term memory. Interleaving is working on mixed Maths topics where the student must firstly identify which concept of Mathematics is relevant and then choose the appropriate strategy to solve the problem. This strategy has been shown to help students not only retain information, but it also helps them to apply their learning to different contexts. This strategy is particularly useful in Mathematics where students have to use their skills for problem solving. One way of using interleaving in the classroom is to set some homework each week that is not based on the current topic under study – but has previous Mathematical ideas in another order. This forces students to think deeply and to come back to previous learning, effectively interrupting the cycle of forgetting.

Pymble Ladies’ College

TEACHING MATHEMATICS An alternate way of using interleaving practice is through some of the work of Mathematics teacher, Craig Barton, in his useful website called SSDD problems (Same Surface, Different Deep Structure). The concept is that, the questions all look the same. They could all be on triangles with the same surface structure to the question. When trying to answer the questions, students must think about using the appropriate method to find the answer, which refers to the deep structure. This can be hard, but it helps students to make connections between all the ideas they have learned about triangles and it helps them to see similarities and differences. Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006) define learning as, ‘a change in long-term memory’. Consider that when Maths students are tested only a short time after learning a topic, teachers see performance rather than learning. ”

This is why interleaving is important and why the practice leads to students’ experiencing “desirable difficulties”; a term coined by Robert and Elizabeth Bjork (2011). We are more likely to retain knowledge when the work is neither too easy nor too hard, and by mixing concepts up, students really need to think about what they are doing. This creates stronger connections in their brains, which ultimately leads to longer term, stronger memories.





Practice test



Retrieval practice

Figure 1: Which approach leads to deeper learning?

RETRIEVAL PRACTICE Another way to boost student performance is known as retrieval practice. Retrieval practice boosts learning by pulling information out of students’ heads, rather than cramming information into students’ heads’, according to cognitive scientist and author, Pooja Agarwal (2019). Some may believe that studying for a test involves reading notes, summarising and learning information by rote, and often cramming before a test. This approach may lead to short-term results but the information is quickly forgotten over time. The diagram above illustrates retrieval practice. It shows an experiment where students were given time to study for a test. The first group studied for the test and were then given time to re-study before the test. The second group had the same first study session but were then given a practice test. This could be as simple as instructing students to write down everything they know about the topic. Both sets of students ultimately sat the same test, but which group do you think performed better? The students who had done the practice test outperformed peers who had more study sessions. This was because the process of retrieving information strengthens learning and understanding and also helps students identify areas that they are unsure about which gives them direction for further revision. Teachers can try these simple but transformative approaches to using retrieval practice in their classrooms. For example, try asking students, “What did we do in class yesterday?” rather than giving them a summary of the lesson with “Here’s what we did in class yesterday”. This simple shift can significantly boost long-term learning. The act of bringing information into your mind from your memory which is the act of retrieving information, improves one’s understanding of the concept. In Mathematics, this is important because students quickly forget previous learning, so the practice of constantly retrieving helps them think about all the concepts that have been learned.


TEACHING MATHEMATICS Spacing The idea of coming back to previous learning is called spacing. When the learning of skills and concepts is spaced over time and constantly revisited, this helps to improve how well students grasp the material. Spacing is the opposite of cramming. Once students have learned a new concept, skill or idea, they should give their mind time to forget so that the brain, in subsequent study sessions, must struggle to recall the information previously learned. To maximise outcomes, spaced practice should be combined with retrieval practice to force the brain to search for related information and create new connections which improves the quality of learning.

Frequent low-stakes quizzing is the signature example of retrieval practice. This can be used to begin every maths lesson as it can help students to recall previous learning - not just from the previous lesson, but from work learned weeks, months and even years ago.”

Students can find this difficult at first but as a regular start to the lesson, students soon look forward to the challenge and it helps them to become independent learners as there is no hiding from seeing what they know and don’t know. It also helps them become used to the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to do and find small strategies that will help them to begin a question which often leads to the correct answer. The students mark their own work and have time to reflect on what went well and what it is they need to go home and revise that night. The idea of frequent low stakes testing, in the form of daily revision in maths, means that interleaving, spacing and retrieval practice are being met every lesson leading to long term memory strength and better results for the students.

References Agarwal, P.K., & Bain, P.M. (2019). Powerful teaching: Unleash the science of learning. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Barton, C. (n.d.). Same surface, different deep structure: Maths problems from Craig Barton @ mrbartonmaths. Retrieved April 22, 2020, from Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2011). Making things hard on yourself, but in a good way: Creating desirable difficulties to enhance learning. In M. A. Gernsbacher, R. W. Pew, L. M. Hough, J. R. Pomerantz (Eds.) & FABBS Foundation, Psychology and the real world: Essays illustrating fundamental contributions to society (p. 56–64). Duffield, U.K: Worth Publishers Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41, 75–86.



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Pymble Ladies’ College

APPLIED LEARNING True North: Setting your bearings with surveying By Bryan Morrison, Mathematics Teacher

This article explains the emergence and evolution of one of the Pymble Mathematics Department’s most iconic assessment tasks – the surveying task. This learning activity was designed by Bryan Morrison and Miriam Tenney more than 15 years ago and is still engaging our students in a very practical way in abstract mathematical concepts. Many Pymble students and staff have witnessed Bryan and colleagues over the years as they have set up and conducted the task with students on Lang Lawn with clipboards, compasses, iPads and calculators in hand. In 2019, the Mathematics Department worked together in Reflect-ReviewRenew Professional Learning time on the topic of assessment and used the surveying task to look at ways to continue enhancing the learning experiences of our students.

THE SURVEYING ASSESSMENT Miriam Tenney and I started forming the task in 2004 in anticipation of using it as a Year 12 assessment. The task comprised two parts; a rightangled Trigonometry problem (where students calculated the height of a flag on the flagpole, the drop of some blinds on the Colonnade Building or calculating the height of the Chapel spire), followed by a non-right-angled problem, involving a radial survey of an area set in probable scenarios (such as returfing a lawn, making a carpark or a helicopter pad). Following a Board of Studies (BOS) directive to develop different styles of assessment, our task was expanded to encompass the ideas of teamwork, practical application of the curriculum and outdoor mathematics. We decided that instruction would take place in the outdoors environment where students would learn to use the theodolite, tape measures and

compasses in order to make the necessary measurements to apply to trigonometric problems. The girls would be broken randomly into teams of four to make the measurements at two to three stations which would be recorded into a field book. Upon completion of the recording of the measurements, the students would proceed to the classroom where they would complete questions and problems based on the outdoor The teamwork approached encouraged the girls to work and co-operate with different students and share their knowledge and acquired skills to get the correct measurements.”

stations. Miriam and I found that over the years, despite the simplicity of our equipment, students consistently attained a high degree of accuracy within the limits of error set for the task.

USING THE COLLEGE ENVIRONMENT We set the stations for this assessment within the confines of the College campus. Initially, we picked basic locations (the flagpole and the Marden Lawn) for our stations. Control of the process required that the stations were not too far apart which assisted with a smooth flow of students between each station and the examination room. Over the years, we developed more ideas for problems to solve and consequently moved to the Main Oval and used other sites such as the Chapel, Lang and Marden Lawns, the Colonnade Building and the Kate Mason Building.


APPLIED LEARNING Concurrently, the question paper was developed, checked and worked through. A briefing of supporting staff followed and final preparations and checks were made two days prior to the assessments.

Students working in teams using theodolites for the surveying task

We incorporated into the assessment mathematical tasks involving measuring and surveying carpark areas, designing a helicopter pad for the campus, re-turfing the various lawns, determining the height of the Chapel and the flagpole for repairs, and determining the dimensions of the exterior wall of the Kate Mason building for re-painting. PHASES OF THE TASK The task followed the following phases: To start, there was a planning phase where we decided to either modify a previous task or integrate a new site to consider. A timeline was made to monitor the progress of the task and set waypoints to ensure a smooth transition to completion. Consultation with the teachers of the General/Standard Mathematics courses ensured the topic content



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would be complete and on time for the assessment. A time for outdoor instruction of the equipment was scheduled for each class or group of classes. Once the relevant, theoretical content in class commenced, the outdoor instruction also began. It was found that a maximum of two classes at a time could engage in the outdoor teaching program. Alongside the instruction phase, a practice paper was introduced during the lesson to cement for the students the concepts of measuring and the application of Trigonometry. Once it was completed, the students were encouraged to meet with staff if they had concerns or needed further clarification. Meanwhile, I would measure up the sites and mark up areas ready to install markers and pegs.”

On the day, the students were given a quick briefing of the proceedings and locations of the sites. The assessment then commenced with staff at the various sites, floating staff maintained flow and supervising staff oversaw calculations in the examination room. Before mobile phones, communications were maintained by walkie talkies (loaned to us by the PDHPE Department or Pymble Security team). As the amount of equipment we used increased, the assessment time gradually reduced in time. Finally, there was a pack up of the sites and marking of the students’ assessment papers. SURVEYING TECHNOLOGY Initially, we had only a few theodolites and measuring tapes and compasses but over the years we have acquired a dozen sets of each of the items above. As mentioned, we were able, over time, to reduce the time the task took to complete. Originally, it was not uncommon to take up to five hours to complete the assessment for all the students but now we rarely go past three hours to do the same. Measurements, on average, take no more than 15 minutes to complete and the students have as much time as they need. Typically, most girls finish the full assessment after 90 minutes. This allows us to require no special provisions as we allow students as much time as they need.

Pymble Ladies’ College

APPLIED LEARNING The surveying assessment continues into 2020, marking our sixteenth year of teaching surveying in an outdoor environment to College students.” However, we have reduced any damage to the theodolites by placing them on plywood triangular bases to steady them and to mark out pegs for the areas. The other key technologies are 30 metre tape measures which are also very robust and Silva compasses which place nicely upon the protractor base of the theodolite to orient it to North.

A new means of measuring angles of elevation and depression and taking compass bearings comes with the use of the iPad. A friend of mine introduced a free surveying app. I loaded it onto one iPad with a camera tripod and found it worked quite well. Working with my colleague, Pamela Stott, we further trialled this technology and incorporated it into the assessment. The app worked reasonably well, and the College’s Conde Library team graciously allowed us to use their iPads and loaded the app for us. Issues with the app included an

impact from the external temperature and some interference with compass bearing due to wireless communications across the campus. After two assessments using the app, we decided to return to simpler technology until the interference could be further investigated. ASSESSING THE TASK The biggest innovation developed in the task was using an Excel spreadsheet to assist in marking students’ papers as we were quickly about to take into account the wide variation in calculations. A former colleague, Adam Antonio, created the spreadsheet which greatly eased the stress of marking. Since this time, I have modified Adam’s document to take account the variation in calculations of differing scenarios and we have further modified the task to include smaller parts that test the skills and knowledge and yet still utilise the spreadsheet. CONCLUSION The surveying assessment continues into 2020, marking our sixteenth year of teaching surveying in an outdoor environment to College students. In recent times, we have been increasingly at the mercy of inclement weather and have relied on a wet weather plan which involves using the master measurements without an outdoor experience. We are now working towards using the Jeanette Buckham Gymnasium and spots on the floor as markers. We continue to develop the task and may improve or re-introduce previous technology to further improve the experience that this task has provided other the years.


SCIENCE RESEARCH Student Research in Science By Dr Kristie Spence, Head of Learning Area – Science

Pymble’s intrepid Science explorers, the inaugural cohort of Science Extension students and teachers in 2019

In 2018, our girls first experienced the new Higher School Certificate syllabuses for the Sciences, including the introduction of a Science Extension course and a new course called Investigating Science. Science Extension is a wonderful new addition to the suite of Science subjects on offer for the HSC, allowing our keenest young scientists to conduct their own research and experience the joys and frustrations associated with conducting scientific research.



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ll Science syllabuses now have a much larger focus on problem solving. Furthermore, there is now time allocated to a Depth Study in each of the Sciences in both Years 11 and Year 12. This allocation of 15 hours to a deep dive into one aspect of each subject has been particularly beneficial to development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Having time to prototype, struggle and find solutions to the problems Science students face in an experimental setting has allowed our students to further develop their skills and build the confidence only gained by working through problems by oneself. The following insights from past and current Year 12 Science and Science Extension students give readers a window into the types of topics our student researchers are exploring and the foundational experimental and research skills Depth Studies and Science Extension Research Projects are developing. We are excited to see how our Senior Science students are responding to the recent changes brought upon the world by the COVID-19 virus, and look forward to watch them enhance their thinking and problem-solving skills and become part of the next generation of scientists who will take our society into the future.

Pymble Ladies’ College

STUDENT RESEARCHERS Osteoporosis and water hardness: Is there a connection? Ciara Walsham: Pymble Graduate Year 12 2019

Are electric vehicles really better for our environment? Fiona Wang: Pymble Graduate Year 12 2019

A requirement of taking the new course, Science Extension, included conducting a research project in which I chose to examine the effects of water hardness on the prevalence of osteoporosis. The data I had was secondary and was obtained from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) and the Barwon Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. With my timeframe and equipment, it was unrealistic for me to collect my own primary data.

I had often heard people talking about electric vehicles as a more sustainable alternative to regular internal combustion engine vehicles. However, I wanted to know if they’re really any better for the environment given that 85 per cent of electricity in Australia is still generated using fossil fuels. So, as part of the Science Extension curriculum in Year 12, I conducted my own research project to investigate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of electric vehicles.

I conducted this research over the course of three school terms, with guidance from teachers and feedback from peers. Even with the help of others, the process was long and tedious, from finding a research topic to acquiring the data, then cleansing it and analysing it all before I could even find an answer to the posed research question.

What I found was that the environmental impact of driving electric vehicles depends greatly on where you live. In regions using a greater percentage of renewable resources in generating electricity, the CO2-e emission due to electric vehicles is significantly reduced. However, even in regions where electricity is generated using only fossil fuels, you can still reduce CO2-e emission by about 20 to 55 per cent when you switch to an electric vehicle of a similar size.

After the analysis of my data, I found that the difference in water hardness between the towns was not substantial enough, thus my research concluded that there was no significant relationship between water hardness and osteoporosis. One of the challenges I encountered was getting corresponding data, as there were only a limited number of towns that had data for both water hardness and osteoporosis. Another challenge was staying focused and motivated throughout the time we were given to complete this research, as I greatly underestimated the amount of time and effort it takes to conduct scientific research. Ethics were considered and the data obtained was anonymous and gave no indication of the identity of patients involved in the study, maintaining confidentiality. I was disappointed in the lack of groundbreaking discoveries, but this was outweighed by the knowledge and skills gained. I found this type of self-paced learning extremely beneficial, especially during my last year of high school, as it required good time management skills as well as consistent motivation, which was good preparation for university.

This project was the first time I had conducted any sort of formal research. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore something I was curious about with support from my teachers, as well as a mentor from Macquarie University. I initially struggled due to the lack of published data relating the source of electricity in regions of Australia to their emission characteristics. However, I was able to derive a relationship between the percentage of renewable electricity used and the CO2-e emissions from an electric vehicle using data from the US. Through this project, I learnt a lot about the scientific process, and how to turn an idea into meaningful research through a process of literature review, hypothesis, data analysis and feedback. I think the experience definitely encouraged me to ask more questions about everything around me and to investigate the phenomena I don’t yet understand. I’m starting a double degree this year at UNSW, studying Advanced Science and Engineering. The prospect of continuing to learn about the world around me is one that really excites me.


SCIENCE RESEARCH Science Depth Study – Chemistry and Physics Teresa Su, Year 12 2020

Science Depth Study – Physics Amy Shi, Year 12 2020

The new Science courses enrich my understanding of scientific research with the inclusion of the Depth Study, which provides much insight into the processes behind research. Normally, in class, we simply learn the laws and concepts of Science, sometimes with description of the experiments that scientists have performed in the past. Although this is interesting and helpful, I had never had a glimpse into the mindset and practice involved in the process of research.

Depth Studies have expanded my understanding of Science greatly and have given me a chance to observe the theories that we have learnt in class in real life. Firstly, they have really deepened my understanding on the topic that we’re learning, as I have become aware of many details and complications that were not written in the textbooks, and could only be observed and discovered when you are engaged in an active experiment yourself.

It was only when I began planning my own Depth Study projects (in both Physics and Chemistry), that I realised how difficult research is. I encountered many problems in simply investigating the projectile motion of a ball. Issues have included inaccuracies in measurements, unreliability of my results and even the process of calibrating and getting basic equipment to work. The problemsolving skills I gained in planning and performing experiments, however, were invaluable as they forced me to question and examine the choices I make. The obstacles also made me extremely appreciative of the hard work that scientists throughout the centuries have done.

For example, in Year 12 Physics, we carried out an experiment relating to projectile motion. The best part is attempting to identify the cause of the inconsistencies between our result and the expected results calculated by the formulas we’ve learnt from textbooks. This process of discovery and problem solving allowed me and my team to become aware of many real-life complications, as simple as the wind from the fans, the size and position of the ball and way we positioned our ruler. These seemingly minor details will all have a drastic effect on our results. Our next step is to attempt to eliminate these minor errors. This process allowed me to become aware that Science is very closely related to logical thinking and problem solving, and that scientific research and experiments are very rigorous and well-knitted processes, in which precision and reliability are the key requirements.

I feel very fortunate to be able to study this course because I think the experiences I am gaining will be beneficial to my university study and potentially my future careers. In Physics, there has been an emphasis on modelling, which I find to be both very helpful and fun. Modelling helps me to visualise all the variables that impact an object’s motion, while helping me to have a basic idea of coding and how to input the laws of Physics into a computer program. The Depth Studies also provide me with hands-on lessons on how to approach and tackle problems with an open mindset. The Depth Study experience has truly opened my mind and given me a sneak peek into Science in the real world, including scientific careers, especially in the research field. I did Physics and Biology in Year 11 and enjoyed the Depth Study a lot, which is why I continued to study those subjects and decided to pursue a degree in science where I can carry out more research on topics in which I am interested.



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I think the logical thinking and problem solving skills that we have acquired will help us in the future, no matter the career we choose. These have influenced me to always view a problem logically, attempting to find the patterns and relationships behind a certain phenomenon in life, and follow certain rules and procedures to attain the most accurate result. This way of thinking can be used in a variety of subjects, not only limited to Science. But certainly, it gives me a way of thinking that allows me to attempt to explore more deeply when I come across scientific questions in life and avoid any premature conclusions. I very much enjoy Science in the senior years and certainly think the Depth Study is one of the highlights. I think it is a great opportunity for all students to develop skills that prepare them for future careers and studies, and for the years after high school.

Pymble Ladies’ College

TEACHING CODING Coding: An introduction By Dan Brown, Digital Learning Leader INTRODUCTION TO CODING


hinking is behind the power of coding, and this does not solely mean the ability to write lines of script. Programmers and software engineers can do the bulk of this task for us. There is no faster way to expose assumptions in the solution to a problem than creating a flow chart, a visual representation of step-by-step instructions to solve a problem. Try creating a flowchart that you can follow to calculate the correct change using the least amount of coins and notes. This is something the human mind behind the shop counter can do in a matter of seconds, but when asked to articulate the thought process, and explain a process about how to do this, complexities that are assumed to be simple become exposed. Teaching the thinking behind coding is a key power and applying this thinking to coding a solution can unlock a deep understanding of a concept. WHY DO WE NEED TO TEACH CODING? HOW DO WE TEACH CODING? SHOULDN’T A SPECIALIST DO IT?

With digital technologies now a key learning area in the curriculum, coding has become a topic of increasing interest. The push for coding stems from our rapidly changing world, and experts believe coding will be necessary for jobs in the future. According to, in 2018, 90 per cent of parents in various countries wanted their children to learn computer science and coding. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a good bedfellow for this burgeoning concept in education because coding in itself requires mathematics, outside-the-box thinking, deep problem solving and deep knowledge of the topic to which coding skills are being applied. Through pressure from parents and our ever-changing, technology-driven world, there has been an increased push to teach coding to ensure young people are future-ready. However, if the world is rapidly changing and other nations are already churning out scores of programmers, then why is this a skill worth teaching to all students here at Pymble? Surely, not all our students will find themselves behind a screen passing instructions to a circuit of silicon and

Preparatory students learn to code with Bee-Bots

metal in their future careers? Surely, fundamental skills in literacy and numeracy will continue to reign supreme? Or will they? Coding is a way of thinking. It is a vessel through which to communicate ideas.” Coding solves problems and is another way by which, possibly, to change the world. There are compelling reasons to teach coding, but coding can (and for understandable reasons) sometimes be palmed off as ‘beyond me’. Some teachers might think coding is something that their students will learn on their own anyway; that it is just another concept in a long and ever-growing list of concepts to teach. Perhaps, coding is seen through the image of quiet rooms, full of people glued to screens, pondering lines of script for hours on end. From here, some believe that students will learn, if they are willing.


TEACHING CODING IN REAL LIFE Last year, after visiting Amazon, Google and a bastion school in Canberra (Canberra Grammar School), which is a leader in software development, the perceptions of geeks-glued-to-screens was an image that I saw could not be further from the truth. Some colleagues and I were lucky enough to spend time talking to the students and asking them questions about what they liked about software development. Three things stood out from our visit and these same sentiments are echoed in many summits on coding and software that I have attended. • The joy of interacting with their teacher and his/her passion for technology. • Collaborating with one another to solve problems, understanding that no one can solve a big problem on their own. • Working as a class on a problem in absence of technology, i.e. working together on a whiteboard, paper or with other tangibles. Coding teaches so much more than lines of script. Coding concepts can be taught without the need of technology – unplugged coding – and without the need for learning any script coding. Coding is based on logic, where decisions are made from questions with true or false answers. This is how a computer thinks, in a series of “yes or no” decisions. Think of a mundane decision you may have to make. For example, making a decision to stay home or go to school when you are sick. How many true or false questions would you have to ask? Look at this example of a flowchart from a Year 6 student.

See doctor



Go to school

Have a go yourself: create a flowchart comprised of true/false (yes/no) questions to follow when you are trying to find a lost set of keys.

This is why many think of coding as an important skill. It’s a way of thinking and a tool to solve problems. I’m not fluent in any programming language. I don’t particularly enjoy getting lost in floods of script at all, but I do enjoy coding; not because it allows me to unleash my inner geek, but because it is a window into our everyday lives. How many of us have wondered how a mundane device such as a calculator works, how sensor lights in a driveway work, how a digital clock works, how traffic lights work, and so on? And speaking of a digital clock – there is no better way to get students to understand 24-hour time than by programming a simple clock! THINKING WITH CODING

Wake up

Feeling well?

A flowchart like this looks deceptively simple to create. However, many students and teachers find solving such a problem in simple true or false scenarios surprisingly complex. Trying to break down a simple problem into steps can become complicated, but in trying to solve a problem in simple true/false steps, understanding of the nature of the problem becomes very apparent. What lines of thought and actions related to decisions are involved in coming to a final decision? By thinking this way, not only can students learn to break down a problem, they begin to understand how a computer thinks.


Too sick for school? YES

Take medicine

Stay home

The above examples represent long-standing technological devices that all meet a need. It is widely accepted the future is going to be a place of automation and artificial intelligence. Do we want our students to be a passenger in such a world, or do we want them to at least understand how computers programmed by other humans make decisions that directly affect their lives? If computers are to do all the mundane work and thinking, what role will humans play? Shouldn’t students have an understanding, at least, of the thinking behind the coding? Understanding how a computer thinks is a skill that allows the user to know what to look for when technology produces outcomes, solutions or even fails. If computers will be driving us to work, automating our shops, looking after our homes, then is it not even more important to understand the world that we and our students will live in?

Figure 1: Go to school? Flowchart created by Year 6 student



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Pymble Ladies’ College



I came across a short article providing nine tips about teaching coding (Nelson, 2018): •C onduct extensive research •P eer review •D emonstrate through practice •H ave a growth mindset •W ork in groups •J oin a community •T each and leave •K now your students •D on’t blow your trumpet

There are a plethora of resource and tools to use. The best being – in my humble opinion -, GROK coding, Australian Computing Academy, Digital Technologies HUB and Microsoft MakeCode. The article suggests spending time on researching coding opportunities. Though I believe it is important for teachers to backfill with an understanding of what the students will be doing, at Pymble, we have a source of knowledge in our Digital Learning Leaders and keen digital innovators within various Departments who would be willing to assist and provide their own extensive understanding to assist teachers and, even better, within the context of Pymble.

I agree and disagree with aspects of this article. I won’t go into detail of each of the tips, but will endeavour to make adjustments to fit with my own experiences and within the context of Pymble.

DEMONSTRATE THOROUGH PRACTICE AND GROWTH MINDSET As mentioned earlier, students in coding enjoy the interaction with their teacher. In a previous article (Brown, 2019, pp. 38-45), I mentioned how students in robotics invariably prefer face-toface teaching above pure online, self-paced learning. So, what does that mean if a teacher does not know how to code, if he or she is expected to go to the front of the class and demonstrate? Teaching is about learning, and I am happy to admit to my students that I sometimes do not know the answer.”

We then use this opportunity to work through the problem together. Creating a class where problems are not a problem, and that it’s okay to freely admit errors and struggles without judgement, takes immense pressure off not only the educator but also, more importantly, students. Learning is suddenly freed, and challenges are markers on the way to understanding and potentially mastery of a concept. Being prepared to give time to solving a problem and working with the students can take immense pressure and stress away from such situations. Educators and students must not be fearful that the problem will not be solved. Some of the best classes I have seen are those when students and teachers pool their resources and knowledge banks to solve a problem.

Mr Mross Becker demonstrating to Year 7 students how coding concepts apply to robotics


TEACHING CODING they love most about the learning experiences, invariably it is the opportunity to work together to solve a problem. There is something about collaborating with peers that makes a large problem seem not so large. SHOULDN’T A SPECIALIST DO IT?

Middle School Students learn through a mix of explicit teaching and exploration through play

To demonstrate through practice, teachers need some experience and ability to work with code, such as blockcode, which is like using a jigsaw puzzle to solve a problem. To do so, there are many great online courses through and GROK coding, both of which the College has access to. They are step-by-step courses covering concepts in short, procedural experiences. My colleagues are not ashamed to admit that often we complete the courses weeks ahead of our students so that we are front loaded with the knowledge and experience to demonstrate the courses the students will undertake. This is the growth mindset in action.” The teacher is a lifelong learner. So, simply complete the activities on GROK or ahead of your students and become an expert in their learning experience. The Digital Learning team at Pymble will also happily provide co-teaching opportunities and assist with educators’ own development of skills. TEACH AND LEAVE AND WORK IN GROUPS Students in successful software classes appreciate the general structure of teacher-guided instruction and demonstration followed by allowing them to walk off and gain understanding and mastery by themselves. This is where the real learning happens, when students trip and fall and pick themselves up again. Where they learn that is okay and perfectly normal to spend three hours on a problem and get no results, that running down a rabbit hole and coming to a dead end is a part of life and learning. Students may also begin to learn that it is okay to admit they are struggling and need help and that not one person can do everything. With this comes understanding that collaboration is key to solving problems. When students in my coding and robotics classes are asked what

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In some ways, yes. In later years, from Years 8 to 12 concepts become more technical, but for earlier grades, there is a joy in applying thinking and comparatively basic coding concepts to students’ everyday lives. What better way to unlock a student’s joy for cooking, by making a simple recipe application? What better way to unlock a student’s joy for geometry by creating a code that draws shapes and allows them to artistically manipulate the properties of these shapes through manipulation of number patterns? What better way to inject an understanding of story structure by creating a digital ‘choose your own adventure’ story? There are many possibilities, and a rudimentary understanding of coding, practising using many of the fun online resources available, and receiving help from Pymble’s digital learning team, are ways to help you unlock a relevant, innovative and twenty-first century concept that can deepen student understanding of any topic or problem. This ranges from making decisions on how to find my lost keys to creating a solution that brings your lost keys back to you! FREE RESOURCES: CODE.ORG – Plugged and unplugged coding with lesson plans, units of work for Kindergarten to Year 12. Sign in with Microsoft using your login. (https:// GROK Learning – Online coding courses for Kindergarten to Year 12. Pymble has a subscription so please contact the Pymble Hub for details. ( Microsoft MakeCode – Coding resources for games, MineCraft, Micro:bit, LEGO robotics and more (https://www. Australian Computing Academy – Curriculum details and teacher resources ( Digital Technologies HUB – Teacher resources including a breakdown of coding concepts for educators. This site also has Kindergarten to Year 12 lesson plans. (https://www.

References Brown, D. (2019). Challenge accepted: Junior School robotics, reflections and learnings. Illuminate: Research and Innovation. Ed. 2. (pp. 38-45). Sydney: Pymble Ladies’ College. Nelson, K. (2018). 9 tips for teaching coding in the classroom. Coder Academy.

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Learning about our Indigenous culture, Kariong, NSW Central Coast. Left to right. Back row: Sarah Boyd, Libby Woodhill, Layla Hickson, Charlotte Lowe, Freida Kerr, Rhonda Kerr, Alexandra Egan, Miss Kate Howie, Kyana Cvetkovic. Front Row: Summer Humes, Lili Wymond, Shakira Tyson, Isabelle Docker, Olivia Anderson

A personal experience combining academic research with secondary teaching By Ryan Stewart, History Teacher My PhD thesis is titled Remembering Contact History on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Why this topic and why now? In this article, I explore the questions of why this topcs and why now?’ My supervisors are Associate Professor Nancy Cushing and Professor Lyndall Ryan from the University of Newcastle. My supervisors and I bemoan the lack of academic research on frontier contact where I live, on the Central Coast, and my thesis aims to hopefully fill aspects of this void. Why me? I’ve lived in Bateau Bay most of my life (except for four years in the eastern suburbs of Sydney). I’m nonIndigenous, a complete ‘white fulla’, however, I was lucky

enough to have a grandfather in Keith Whitfield, former deputy mayor of Gosford Council. My grandfather showed me Indigenous sites on the Coast in the late 1980s and early 1990s – this sparked my interest. I then undertook Aboriginal Studies for my HSC, became a History teacher and here I am today teaching History at Pymble. Even as a ‘white fulla’, when I move around this country, I feel the presence of the First Nations peoples and their story and experiences of contact need to be told. The impact of disease, violence and dispossession on the First Nations peoples of the region we now call the Central Coast was nothing short of horrendous.


POSTGRADUATE STUDIES Unfortunately, most residents don’t know anything about the experiences of the First Nations peoples in this region during the frontier period. The first British person to inquire about the experiences of the people in this area was none other than the poet Henry Kendall who, after living in West Gosford for two years and talking to settler-colonists of the region, reported in the Town and Country Journal in 1875 that “in the middle of the night, camp after camp was surprised, and the occupants, men, women and children, shot down like native dogs”. In 1879 he further stated that the ears of Indigenous men were taken by settlers in order to be paid bounties and that “40 or 50 years ago soldiers had shot everything before them – that is to say every ‘blackskin’ – men, women and children.” After disease, the abduction of women and land dispossession, the apex of frontier contact on the Central Coast was characterised by violence and the near destruction of the peoples here. Kendall’s references to massacres on the Central Coast do not appear on Professor Lyndall Ryan’s digital frontier massacre map as, at this point, we do not have other sources to corroborate his account. One burning question that drives my thesis is: why haven’t these violent contact experiences been explored and communicated?

Tiarna Williams with Uncle Gavi Duncan, a First Nations Elder, at the site of first contact in 1788 between Governor Philip’s men and the First Nations peoples of the Central Coast at Pearl Beach.

With the death of the man whom settler-colonists designated as the “last of the Brisbane Water blackfellows”, Billy Fawkner, in 1874 in Tuggerah Lake, settler-colonists saw no reason to tell the First Nations story as they believed they were extinct. When settlercolonists started to write the history of the Central Coast



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from the 1950s onwards, they made statements like “these friendly and worthy people” are “no longer with us” and that “there is little to remind us of those vanished tribes who inhabited these forested lands for countless generations.”

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INDIGENOUS HISTORY This notion of Indigenous disappearance on the Central Coast was further added to by archaeologist Patricia Vinnicombe who was employed by National Parks to catalogue First Nations sites on the Central Coast – who claimed, in 1980, that she could not find anyone in the region who claimed ‘Aboriginality.’ Such was the devastating impact of contact and dispossession. Yet the First Nations community was still there waiting for acknowledgement and here we are today at Pymble with the next generation of Indigenous students who now have the opportunity to gain a more complex understanding of the people, the sites and the culture that has enriched this region between the North Shore and the Central Coast for thousands of years. In order to assist with this, I collaborated with our Indigenous Students’ Co-ordinator Kate Howie to take some of our Indigenous students to sacred First Nations sites on the Central Coast. We embarked on our first

expedition in 2017 to rock engraving sites at Kariong, where the students gazed upon beautiful petroglyphs of the First Nations creator spirit Biami and magnificent carvings of giant whales. In 2019, in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, we took some Year 11 Indigenous students to significant contact sites on the Central Coast and our students were lucky enough to hear stories about the First Nations perspective of contact from Darkinjung Land Council elder Uncle Gavi Duncan. It was extremely fulfilling to be able to assist with providing these opportunities for our Indigenous girls and such experiences provide real-world linkages between academic research, high school education and cultural enrichment. My PhD thesis is due for submission in 2024 (eight years part-time) and I look forward to continuing to share my research with Pymble’s learning community.

Uncle Gavi Duncan with Pymble staff and students, and other students, at Booker Bay, Central Coast. This is the site of the first land grant to settler-colonist, James Webb, in 1823.


RESEARCHING DANCE In November 2019 I pressed submit on the final assignment for my Master of Educational Psychology degree. It was a research project evaluating the outcome of using video demonstrations as a worked example entitled Viewing Dance: The outcome of students’ perceived confidence, speed of learning and level of mastery using video demonstrations in the process of learning a dance sequence. After three years of studying a range of subjects like Motivation in Education, Educational Assessment and Problem Solving and Learning, I had unexpectedly managed to a tailor every assignment to be based on the process of learning dance – one could say I am a little dance obsessed! The impetus for commencing this study was from a culmination of observations of how the process of learning dance had changed over the last ten years and how students’ perception of feedback had greatly changed.

Learning dance through video during COVID-19 times

When will we get the video? By Katrina Cluff, Head of Dance Dance as an artform, activity and academic subject, often has inherent topical and sometimes controversial deliberations about its impact on adolescent cognitive development. This is due to body image connotations, and notions of perfectionist stereotypes that are continually prominent in Dance. Along with this, come the live and public learning transactions that occur in the studio, demanding cognitive, emotive and physical connections that transcend, or perhaps even derive from, the complex mental processes.



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I could have never imagined that months after hitting the submit button on my final assignment, we would be turning our face-to-face dance program into an online version as COVID-19 moved dancers around the world out of their studios. Very quickly we moved to using my research as the theory which underpinned our choices in what we offered our students and how we offered it. The abundance of online classes is a phenomenon we may never have seen without COVID-19. The live transaction of dance that we were all comfortable with rapidly changed, and although my research was based on the initial instruction being face-to-face and then video resources provided, the merit in my results gave us confidence in decision making. We knew that although we were going to lose a lot of the normal learning processes and social connections, which occur in classes, in the online environment, we had the opportunity to create Pymble Dance video tutorial formulas and guidelines to start delivering a worthwhile dance learning resource to our students. This is something that will continue to evolve.

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t is an art form that can, at times, be overwhelming for the student who is trying to negotiate various forms of information being delivered to them at once. This delivery includes the external inputs of the visual demonstration by the teacher, the peers in the class, the mirror, to the auditory inputs of teachers’ verbal cueing, question and answers, the music playing and, finally, the internal aspects of the learner including cognitive schemas, energy levels, fatigue and emotive states. The whirlwind of stimuli the student is required to immediately negotiate is immense and yet, the live and public nature of this context, which until technology had been extremely hard to capture as a recordable resource for students, has always been cemented in a transient moment which can fade so quickly the moment the student exits the dance studio. The cognitive load of students in the dance domain is a multi-faceted area involving a unique translation of mental processes to physical representations, one which requires the activation of the “mirror-neuron system” (Van Gog, Paas, Marcus, Ayres, & Sweller, 2009). With improvements to technology now reaching a level where something can be filmed and shared instantly, and this observational learning mode being something accessible to most, the implications and possibilities of the use of video need to be fully investigated. Over the last five years, deliberations around students’ use of video have been challenging to school policy and our personalised learning focus. It has now become the norm for every student to have immediate access to film and share video demonstrations and it is this technological advancement that has changed the way we view dance, and the exposure our students have to it.

The topic explored in my research was how students learn dance movement via observation and in particular via video demonstrations. The research aimed to decipher if video demonstrations are positive for students’ perceptions of their confidence, speed of learning and mastery and, as result, can be effectively used as a worked example in this unique learning model. From studying the subject of Problem Solving, Learning and Expertise, earlier in my Master of Educational Psychology degree, I was particularly interested in the information surrounding the use of a worked example in the classroom, the split attention effect (Kalyuga, Chandler, & Sweller, 1999) and the expertise reversal effect (Kalyuga, 2007) on cognitive load, all of which were of interest when applying to the dance in education context. Cognitive load theory (CLT) argues that ‘because of the way human cognitive architecture is organised, learning by observation and/or imitation of what other people do, say, or write is a much more effective and efficient way of acquiring knowledge than trying to devise this knowledge by ourselves’ (Van Gog, Paas, Marcus, Ayres, & Sweller, 2009). This very notion puts dance teaching and learning in an effective and efficient learning realm, but it is this very phenomenon that has little research and evidence. Acknowledging that this is an incredibly large, complex, and understudied area, the project aims only to investigate student perceptions on three dependent variables of confidence, speed of learning and mastery. THE PROJECT SUMMARY I conducted a pilot experiment to examine the effect of video demonstrations, in the form of worked examples, in the process of learning dance movement across

The focus of the study was to explore how students felt about their level of confidence, level of mastery and speed of learning,” three different levels of expertise, after being provided with two different video resources of a new dance sequence which they had learned in class. Participants in the experiment included trained dancers from selective Years 7 to 12 Jazz and Contemporary groups from the College. The study explores the explanation that procedural motor learning, such as learning dance movement, can benefit from the integration of dynamic representations in the form of instructional video to enhance learning outcomes (confidence, mastery, and speed of learning) and reduce cognitive load (mental effort invested and estimated difficulty). For all variables examined, the results indicate that having a video demonstration, as a supplement rehearsal resource, was more effective than not being provided with one. The findings also strongly indicate that both the class video mode (filming the class at the end of the lesson) and exemplar worked example video mode (using segmentation and cueing by the teacher) improved students’ level of perceived mastery and confidence across all three levels, however, it was the exemplary video mode that had the highest positive effect size. This provides a confirmation of the superiority of video as a worthwhile teaching tool in dance education. The findings have implications for the effective design of instructional media, confidentiality, and privacy. The efficient processes which a teacher could use to design, prepare and share video resources is an area that needs further consideration.


RESEARCHING DANCE THE WORKED EXAMPLE ‘The worked example’ suggests that students who are supplied with worked examples to revise or study perform better on tests compared to those who are to solve problems by themselves. Worked examples help to reduce the extraneous load by facilitating schema construction and automation while increasing the germane load, enabling students to learn and remember how to solve the problem in the future (Ward & Sweller, 1990). In the domain of dance, a worked example can be referred to as the segmenting of a physical demonstration and demonstrating with both verbal and physical cueing with instruction about how to prepare, execute and conclude a movement. The scaffolding of this is imperative for effective learning and retention. It is important to provide exemplary models of a worked example so that students can enhance their confidence, mastery and speed of learning. The risks and limitations of not providing an exemplary model are poor technique training from incorrect body utilisation and formation of muscle memory. VIDEO DEMONSTRATIONS AS A WORKED EXAMPLE In dance, the use of video has been a rapid advancement in improving students’ selfreflection, close analysis and inspiration from others.” Using video demonstrations as a ‘worked example’ is a relatively new advancement due to technology. In the world of animation and simulation, this model has been effectively used in many different domains. As dance is a live and public form of learning, which has been transient until the use



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of the video was accessible and achievable to most, the implementation of the video has provided a mode whereby teachers can create video demonstrations as worked examples to provide students with resources which they can access outside of the dance studio. METHOD An experimental pilot study was designed to evaluate the benefits and limitations of utilising video demonstrations in the process of learning a dance sequence. This method allowed for tracking students’ perceptions of their skill acquisition from a variety of year groups, styles and skill levels from one lesson to the next. This experiment modelled how a student would be expected to learn a dance sequence and come back the following week with an enhanced level of mastery and confidence. Due to the constraints of the project timing the study was only able to be conducted over a two-week period, measuring the students’ perception of their confidence, speed of learning and level of mastery from Lesson 1 to Lesson 2 with a seven-day gap, across three conditions 1) No Video Demonstration 2) Exemplar Video Demonstration and 3) Class Video Demonstration and three levels of expertise of dancers across two different styles in our Eisteddfod Jazz and Contemporary Teams. To measure student perceptions, two surveys were constructed asking questions to gain student ratings of their level of confidence, speed of learning and level of mastery from Lesson 1 to Lesson 2. They were also asked to indicate how the resource that they were provided with assisted with these categories after Lesson 2 and to rate how challenging they had found the sequence. RESULTS The results highlighted many interesting areas, however, the main significant effect sizes were in the category of Confidence and Mastery, both of which will be discussed in this article. CONFIDENCE Eisteddfod Class and Learning Stage

Survey Scores Rating Confidence (0 – 5) Class Video

Exemplar Video

No Video

Navy (Intermediate) Stage 1




Navy (Intermediate) Stage 2




Scarlet (Intermediate / Advanced) Stage 1




Scarlet (Intermediate / Advanced) Stage 2




White (Advanced) Stage 1




White (Advanced) Stage 2




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RESEARCHING DANCE The data over page gives a clear indication of what each level and condition perceived their average level of mastery of the sequence to be. It is of interest that no level indicated that they felt more than an average (3+) level of mastery after Lesson 1. This indicates that the sequences taught were all of a suitable challenge level and in line with the expertise reversal effect of providing sequences at the right level of challenge for all dancers. These data could also give further information and comparisons to variances as each level and condition rating of mastery could indicate how students felt about confidence which may have a relationship with their improvement for Lesson 2.

Confidence Improvement Lesson 1 to Lesson 2 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0

Class Video Effect Size

Exemplar Video Effect Size

Navy (Intermediate) Stage 2

Scarlet (Intermediate / Advanced) Stage 2

No Video Effect Size Wh ite (Advanced) Stage 2

Table 1: Confidence improvement lesson 1 to lesson 2

It is clear to see from these results that all students felt an improvement of their confidence from the initial stage of learning to the final stage of learning indicating that the teaching of the sequence and the week of allowing the sequence to be consolidated improved student confidence greatly. It can be seen that the greatest change was with the Exemplar Video across all three levels (+0.6 – 0.98 effect size) and the second was the Class Video with an anomaly with the Intermediate group (Navy) not gaining a great amount of confidence from the Class Video which is something to be mindful of when designing the use of video across levels. This is thought to be related to the students’ level of self-confidence and not finding a class video helpful for their learning. MASTERY Eisteddfod Class and Learning Stage

Survey Scores Rating Confidence (0 – 5) Class Video

Exemplar Video

No Video

Navy (Intermediate) Stage 1




Navy (Intermediate) Stage 2




Scarlet (Intermediate / Advanced) Stage 1




Scarlet (Intermediate / Advanced) Stage 2




White (Advanced) Stage 1




White (Advanced) Stage 2




It is evident from these data that it was again the Exemplar Video that rated the highest in how the resource assisted with their level of mastery rating at a high level (4.5 – 4.9) for all levels of expertise. It was the Class Video that was the second-best resource that provided assistance rating at an average to high (+3.33 – +4.17). The no resource condition rated either minimal or low in the level of assistance provided. DISCUSSION This research aimed to explore the implications of providing students with video demonstrations to assist with learning a dance sequence. By reducing cognitive load, students’ perceptions of their confidence, level of mastery and speed of learning should improve. These predictions flow from cognitive load theory. The study confirmed a number of these predictions.


RESEARCHING DANCE However, it was clear that the greatest effect size was the Exemplar Video across all three levels and the second positive effect size was the Class Video.

It can be concluded that the Exemplar video is a worthwhile tool for improving students’ confidence regardless of level. Students commented anecdotally that the Exemplar Video allowed them to check their understanding of what was taught the week before making improvements for the second week.” Firstly, based on the scores it was confirmed that there are very few variances between the two styles of dance (Jazz and Contemporary). This was insufficient to do a detailed interpretation. This was an unpredicted finding, as the styles are relatively different in their speed, and the number of movements per seconds, however, it is assumed that as the students who were selected in these styles, were already trained and may have had the equivalent prior knowledge and skills to make these differences non-reportable. The comparison of the levels with each dependent variable condition was where the most interesting findings were apparent. Students who are confident with their dance movement tend to achieve better results and feel more motivated. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) confirms this notion and it was crucial to determine if a video demonstration assisted students’ confidence and mastery to enhance students’ sense of competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Niemiec & Ryan, 2009).

It was evident that all students across all levels and conditions felt an improvement of their confidence...” It was evident that all students across all levels and conditions felt an improvement of their confidence from the initial stage of learning to the final stage of learning in the dependable variable of confidence. This is an expected result in a sequential learning pattern without the resource of a video.

It is of interest that the Class Video, which provides students with footage of themselves in comparison to other students in their class, still provides an increase in confidence and mastery. In the past, student comments about feeling intimidated when being filmed, before they have mastered the sequences, have led to the rule of not allowing regular class videos in the program, however, with these extremely positive results a policy and framework to educate students and provide a safe space for class videos should be further considered.

Table 2: Effect size based on variable conditions

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RESEARCHING DANCE References Kalyuga, S. (2007). Expertise reversal effect and its implications for learner-tailored instruction. Educational Psychology Review, 19(4), 509-539. Kalyuga, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1999). Managing split-attention and redundancy in multimedia instruction. Applied cognitive psychology, 13(4), 351-371. Niemiec, C. P., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom: Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and research in Education, 7(2), 133-144. Rekik, G., Khacharem, A., Belkhir, Y., Bali, N., & Jarraya, M. (2019). The instructional benefits of dynamic visualizations in the acquisition of basketball tactical actions. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Van Gog, T., Paas, F., Marcus, N., Ayres, P., & Sweller, J. (2009). The mirror neuron system and observational learning: Implications for the effectiveness of dynamic visualizations. Educational Psychology Review, 21(1), 21-30. Ward, M., & Sweller, J. (1990). Structuring effective worked examples. Cognition and instruction, 7(1), 1-39.

Katrina Cluff using video as a tool in the dance classroom

The level of Mastery variable needs to be noted as a variable that was expected to have clear improvements, regardless of the resource provided, as it is natural learning progression for students to feel more comfortable with their content after a week of processing. However, with the demands on students’ cognitive load on a day-to-day basis, the fear of students being able to remember content from one lesson to the next, with a week break in between, is one that was at the forefront of this research. A discussion that regularly occurs amongst Dance staff is whether the use of video demonstrations hinders or supports students’ cognitive development and choreography retention skills. It is here that I would suggest that the Mirror Neuron System and its suggestion that what has already been formed in the mental processing and is familiar, will be easier for students to learn/recall. If a student has learned a sequence and rehearsed it, within the thirty second time frame for memory purposes, and then leaves the studio for one week, having a resource to check back in with before the lesson the next week is useful. The video can be seen as a resource that would optimise the role of the instructor and enhance learning outcomes by presumably optimising cognitive load during training (Rekik et al., 2019). The results of this study might have general educational implications for the use of video demonstrations, but it is the domain of Dance and Physical Education that has the new ability to film classes instantly and share and, although this research indicates that the Class Video has positive outcomes across all levels, it does not achieve the same effect size on the outcomes as an exemplar and worked example video demonstration does.

Pymble’s very own Dance at Home program that was quickly developed for our response to COVID-19 used this research as its platform for creating a formula for our Dance Staff to construct their online tutorials.”

A big thank you to everyone who made this study possible. A special mention to the support from the College, and in particular Dr Sarah Loch for her guidance throughout the project, the Dance Staff who facilitated the experiment and worked closely with me on building new guidelines and processes and the Dance Students who participated in the research.


WORKING TOGETHER Girls in green: Army Cadet Unit at Pymble By Stuart Clark, Director of Experiential Learning and Officer Commanding of the Pymble Ladies’ College Army Cadet Unit

Pymble Cadets celebrate challenge and achievement – key themes of the Cadets program

Cadets was a place in which my selfconfidence and personal conviction was allowed to flourish as I was encouraged to trust my instincts and give everything my best try. I found weaknesses to overcome and strengths I didn’t even know I had.”

Pymble Cadet, Year 12 (2019)


hough anecdotal student reflections may not be viewed as rigorous scientific analysis, one would find it hard to debate the authenticity of the evidential thread collected in a recent student survey relating to the outcomes of the Pymble Ladies’ College Army Cadet program. The quote (left), from a recent Year 12 graduate, is reflective of the collective Cadet participant voice. This article will discuss the key areas for personal growth and capacity-building achieved through the program. In April 2017, the Pymble Ladies’ College Army Cadet Unit was formally ratified by the Australian Army Cadets. At that time, the unit was the first all-female Australian Army Cadet Unit in Australia.



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Though this marks an impressive and progressive step for the College, it is certainly not the reason we embarked on this unique cocurricular journey. The Australian Army Cadets program simply has too many benefits for Pymble girls to leave unexplored and, three years in, the benefits are proven. Australian Army Cadets, which is part of the Australian Defence Force Cadets program, provides a personal development program for young Australians, designed to benefit the nation by helping to create responsible, mature and self-confident young people and future leaders. This is achieved by providing progressive Cadet training, often of a challenging and exciting

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WORKING TOGETHER nature, to foster confidence, self-reliance, initiative, loyalty and a sense of service, and by encouraging the development of practical leadership and the ability to work successfully as a member of a team. At the ground level, this ideally manifests for participants as fun and friendship, action and adventure, excitement and engaging learning. Cadet lessons range from the history and customs of the Australian Army: positions of rank, dress and bearing; Army drill; Army values; field craft skills, which allow Cadets to live in the bush, such as tying knots, erecting shelters and preparing and consuming rations; first aid; survival; risk assessment; navigation by map and compass and mock soldiering skills such as patrolling, camouflage and concealment. The lessons are tiered in relation to the experience of the learners, using an established curriculum continuum. Many of the above skills are put to the test on Cadet field exercises. A field exercise is a multi-day camp that is planned and executed by Senior Cadets, with staff oversight. Activities on field exercises include bushwalking and navigating in tracked and untracked terrain in daytime and nighttime, sleeping in tents and personal shelters, overnight guard duty on a rotating roster, team challenge activities, obstacle courses, kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing and ropes courses. In cases when the Cadet unit is able to conduct an exercise on a military base, the activities can also involve as activities like firing Army weapons, participating in Army obstacle courses and eating in the soldiers’ mess.

“ The most significant and meaningful areas of personal growth involve communication skills as well as confidence. Cadets has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone, to learn and experience new skills and provide opportunities for selfgrowth. This program, unlike others, has provided me a safe but unique space to be open to try new things and improve on myself as a person but also a member of society”. “ My most significant area of personal growth was definitely confidence. I have become much more confident in presenting and speaking to large audiences, which is extremely helpful in situations both within and outside of Cadets. It has helped me while I am teaching lessons to the recruits, debating, giving speeches and has really increased my self-confidence. The most meaningful areas of growth would probably be making new friendships and learning and refining my leadership skills, as I would not have been able to develop these skills in this way elsewhere”.

This wide range of activities allows students to experience Army culture as well as skill building, which is important because in many ways the structure of the Cadet unit and responsibilities of Cadets to follow, lead, care for their peers and to take risks emulate real life. Some quotes which reflect that intent follow:

“ My favourite part of the Cadets program was by far being given the chance to lead and teach cadets, watching as they developed and overcame their own challenges. I watched as my recruits overcame fears of heights through abseiling, and gave public speaking a crack. I observed the growth of the quiet, shy personalities into some of the best leaders I have ever met. And I don’t believe I have ever felt prouder in my life than when I watched members of my recruit platoon be promoted to positions of leadership in the unit.

Pymble Ladies’ College Army Cadet Unit Flag Party preparing for the Anzac Day service


WORKING TOGETHER This sees Senior Cadets taking a personalised journey through the later years in the program. Hence, the survey results reflect feedback from a multilayered Cadet training program. The following qualitative comments indicate that Cadet camps are a very impactful and valuable part of the program.

The PLCCU – one big, happy family – at the end of another successful field training exercise

LEARNING FROM THE DATA A survey was distributed electronically to 40 Cadets ranging from Years 9 to 12 in the middle of 2019. It was a voluntary survey, and three quarters of the cohort completed the process. Responses were composed of 38 per cent of replies from Year 9, 17 per cent from Year 10, 17 per cent from Year 11 and the remaining 28 per cent from Year 12. The survey was timed to coincide with the Year 12 Cadets leaving the unit to commence the HSC, and younger year groups transitioning to new positions within the unit. All questions in this survey, except one, were open-ended with text fields allowing the students to be expansive with their reflections. Responses ranged from one word to more than 150 words. The openended question asked students to rate five key metrics on a sliding scale of ‘high level of growth’, ‘moderate level of growth’, ‘low level of growth’ and ‘no growth’. These metrics were used as they are principles of participation in this program, and it is hoped that all of these metrics will have been enhanced by students’ involvement in the program.



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The results show some encouraging acknowledgements of the intended outcomes of the program and reinforce the anecdotal responses. A ‘high level of growth’ was indicated for Friendships, rated by 76 per cent of respondents, Leadership by 69 per cent of respondents and Confidence by 62 per cent of respondents. The vast majority of the remaining responses fell in the second-tier of ‘moderate level of growth’. Importantly, of all the respondents, not a single Cadet identified ‘no growth’ in the areas of leadership and confidence, which affirms the relevance and importance of these intents while also providing room for improvement. The Cadet training program sees new recruits undertaking a oneyear structured induction program, followed by completion of a series of modules covering the skills and knowledge needed to be an Army Cadet. Senior Cadets have the opportunity of specialising in either a core function such as ‘Cadet medic’, or a position of leadership which involves mentoring and developing other Cadets.

“ My favourite part of the Cadets program is being able to go out on camp and use the skills we have learnt in the classroom. I am confident in saying that I experienced growth on these camps that isn’t possible in any other way. Teamwork, leadership and decision making just to name a few, are the skills I have greatly developed by participating in the Cadets program”. “ Along with the people the camps have been an incredible part of the program. They really test people’s character, build stronger connections and allow people to better understand themselves, who they want to become and the relationships they want to keep”. “ Opportunities to lead, build skills, create amazing friendships, step out of your comfort zone and face challenges. Each of these opportunities is unique to the Cadets program. For example; leading large teams of cadets, designing and executing obstacle courses, navigating for hours throughout the night, firing rifles and conducting medical scenarios”.

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WORKING TOGETHER “ The most interesting thing I have learnt was about myself and how I was able to cope with physically and mentally challenging obstacles. For example, the Annual Field Exercise was a great opportunity for me to adapt to different situations and environments so that the outcome could be achieved. Through this, I learned that I was able to be flexible with existing knowledge in order to deliver an enjoyable and informative exercise, lesson or activity”. THE CADET JOURNEY Cadets who complete the recruit training program graduate to the rank of Cadet at the end of their first year and are then eligible to apply for the rank of Cadet Corporal. Many choose to pursue the leadership pathway. A Cadet Corporal is in charge of a section of Cadets numbering around eight students. The Cadet Corporal’s role is very important, as it is the first line of pastoral care and mentoring for Cadets, which is vital to establish a healthy culture. This is a key element given the potential physical and emotional stresses applied during parts of the program.

Cadet Warrant Officers are posted to a variety of logistical and command roles including Quartermaster and Company Sergeant Major. The Senior Under Officer is the Head Cadet and is in charge of the overall safety and management of all members within the unit and planning and execution of exercises and activities. Positions of rank within the unit are in tight competition. Cadets self-nominate to be considered for rank and have a number of eligibility requirements to meet. Once accepted onto the rank assessment course, candidates must complete a number of tasks including self-directed assignments, a theory examination, preparing and delivering lessons or activities and displaying their ability to apply command and control in an effective manner in differing contexts. Cadet rank courses are challenging and regardless of whether a cadet successfully achieves the rank for which she is striving, the courses will teach the girls many valuable lessons.

Cadets who take on a rank have a specific, defined leadership role within the Cadet unit, and find the experience of leading both challenging and exhilarating. A number of Cadets have shared their personal hardships in leading a team of peers, noting the very same issues that adults experience in their own leadership journeys, such as building trust, dealing with conflict and overcoming the fear of failure and embarrassment. Comments within the survey reflect this clearly, including:

“ My greatest challenge was trying to improve my leadership. This is because I am a very shy and quiet person, and I still am. But the Cadets program helped me become more articulate and expressive when I needed to deliver a message across. It wasn’t an easy task, but Cadets gave me a chance to push myself out of my comfort circle as see the infinite ways I would improve my ability to communicate with others and show leadership”.

Other positions of Cadet rank in an Australian Army Cadet Unit include Cadet Sergeant, who is the second in charge of a platoon of Cadets, which usually numbers around 25 Cadets. The Cadet Sergeant has primary responsibility for discipline and administration for her platoon. The Cadet Under Officer is a platoon commander in charge of overall safety and management of all cadets in her care. Teamwork makes the dream work – and a rainbow always helps too!


WORKING TOGETHER “ Everything has pushed me, but leadership has been my greatest challenge and the hardest thing to overcome. I have learnt to step up, I learnt a way to lead that made everyone feel included and listened to, while still making decisions and ensuring everyone follows through with them. I believe it is such an important thing to discover how you lead because it says a lot about yourself, and for me was a really big challenge”.

EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL CHALLENGE Even though most Cadets will describe the program as ‘fun’ and ‘interesting’ in general, there are parts of the program which certainly take students beyond their comfort zones and apply pressure with the intention of building coping mechanisms and realising inner strength. In particular, the physical challenges on camps such as 24-hour navigation exercises,

The Cadets program deliberately applies experiential learning theory and practice to elicit learner outcomes. The life lessons and personal attribute growth gained from these controlled stress situations are significant. School leavers need, among other traits, a decent amount of resilience, selfconfidence and awareness of self, and it is proven that experiential learning through outdoor education can contribute hugely to the acquisition of these characteristics. It is always interesting to observe the responses of groups of people placed in a state of stress in unfamiliar and challenging environments. There is invariably a Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing process (Tuckman, 1965) which takes the group through varying stages of group cohesion. In the Cadet program, this is notable during field exercises when Cadets are naturally tired, hungry and emotional –and as a result tempers can be short. Cadets on exercise are challenged to negotiate the unpredictable nature of group dynamics, coming to an understanding that teamwork and communication are key to task completion and, ultimately, to solidarity.

“ Being a platoon commander has many challenges, including the mentoring of your Sergeant and Corporals for the duration and beyond the training cycle. Your decisions can affect all members of the platoon and you have to keep this in mind at all times when preparing activities and arrangements for them. The whole time, you are making sure that you are Climbing a cargo net: just one of the exciting elements of the Cadet experience appealing to their interests to make it an enjoyable leadership dynamics and studentexperience but also making to-student activity facilitation are sure that your decisions keep key stressors, and ones very unique them safe”. In the survey, many Cadets in school co-curricular programs also referenced the personal and student leadership contexts. challenges the program applies and subsequent personal learnings, with some key examples as follows:



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WORKING TOGETHER CONCLUDING THOUGHTS As Pymble Co-Curricular programs are voluntary, it is always a risk that a new program, and particularly a niche program, will not flourish due to the multitude of options on offer and the complexities of Pymble students’ schedules. Three years on, with Cadet numbers currently at 65 students across the eligible year groups of Years 8 to 12, the program has gained its own life force and culture, and continues to create inspiring results for the students who commit to it wholly. Mud run is a favourite activity among our Cadets

“ One of the greatest challenges I have had to experience in my Cadets experience was having to stay persistent and strong on camp even if I was tired. I learnt that if one team member is down, the team morale will be brought down, so I always try my hardest to keep the team spirit up while also keeping my body spirit up”. “ Participating in the camps at different levels of rank has been an eye-opening experience to look back on. I am confident in saying that I experienced growth on these camps that isn’t possible in any other way. Teamwork, leadership and decision making just to name a few, are the skills I have greatly developed by participating in the Cadets program and I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t taken the step and signed up in those first weeks”.

Initiative and skills in action – it is literally sink or swim!

Like all programs and subjects at the College, Army Cadets requires attention to detail to ensure continuous improvement and quality control – luckily in the case of Pymble Army Cadets, and once again displaying the uniqueness of this program, the greatest enabler to ensuring this happens are the Cadets themselves. References Tuckman, B.W., (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, Issue 6, p. 384–399.

Evening campfire is a time to reflect on the day and bonding with friends


RESEARCH IN SCHOOLS Global perspectives: School research centres By Dr Sarah Loch, Director of Research and Development

Lasting relationships were built with the schools and centres visited and we were welcomed warmly at each location; • Laurel Center for Research on Girls, Laurel School (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) • Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (Potomac, Maryland, USA) • Chandaria Research Centre, Branksome Hall (Toronto, Canada)

Katie Jackson and Sarah Loch with Dr Ian Kelleher, Head of Research, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Maryland.

We also met with a representative from the Fields Institute Centre for Math Education (Toronto, Canada) and visited the Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) and Havergal School (Toronto).


ymble is preparing to establish a research centre as a hub for generating, attracting and communicating educational research both within and beyond the College community. To help us learn from the journeys of existing school research centres, with Mathematics teacher Katie Jackson, I embarked on a study tour to the United States and Canada. Katie had initiated a number of research projects into ways of teaching Mathematics during 2019 and both of us were excited to look at how teachers in other schools conducted and used research. The two-week tour covered three different school research centres in three cities, as well as two non-school research institutes and a fourth school with many similarities to Pymble.”

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Visiting Laurel School’s outdoor education campus with Mrs Hope Murphy, Director LCRG

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RESEARCH AND EDUCATION A RESEARCH CENTRE FOR PYMBLE In considering a research centre, the question immediately arises: “What would the focus of such a centre be?” This is followed quickly by additional questions like: “Why do we need a research centre? What will we research? What outcomes and output will be produced? And most importantly, how will a research centre benefit our students and staff?” As a large, diverse and busy school with a number of signature programs and areas of excellence, Pymble offers internal and external educational researchers a myriad of authentic research questions. These arise from our teachers in their classrooms, educational leaders working with their teams and from students seeking new insights and deeper understanding in areas of study. A research centre at Pymble has exciting capacity to see our community more readily initiate and engage in global education conversations. It will also create space for our staff and students to be researchers, skilled in technical and ethical abilities, who make original and useful contributions to practise both locally and internationally. The impact on our students will be immediate; as in the case of action research, which is designed to cycle back to improve practice straight away, but even with longitudinal and complex formal projects, where results can take years to crystalise, students will see researchers working and gain from role modelling of the research journey. WHY DO SCHOOLS CREATE RESEARCH CENTRES? A relatively small number of schools, internationally and locally, have research centres. Principal, Dr Kate Hadwen and I identified a number of

schools in North America as being of interest to visit due to their research centres and research-informed initiatives. Those selected had a mixture of established and emerging reputations for the contributions they were making and the ways in which they were using research. Schools create research centres for a range of reasons. The study tour provided the following examples: • A research centre to focus on best practice in girls’ education in the case of Laurel School. We met with the 4th Grade team to hear about the Power and Purpose program, which combined literacy, numeracy, the arts and independent living skills (including using power tools!) with the aim of fostering confidence, capacity and resilience in girls. The program was also explicitly designed to incorporate the beautiful environment of the school’s outdoor education campus. • At the CTTL, we met the team responsible for the school’s approach to teaching, known as ‘neuroteaching’, and learnt how research has informed the school’s professional learning model. This revolves around the working of the brain and engages all teachers and students of the school in a quest to continually expand knowledge and practice in this area. • The Chandaria Research Centre demonstrated a connection between the school and the university community and let us see many examples of how teachers’ research projects contribute to the school’s strategic mission of academic success, wellness and global mindedness. The CRC utilised research assistants and a board of directors to add a layer of professionalism and external capacity to the school’s research activities.

Three research centres It was inspiring to see how the culture and flavour of each school influenced their definition and practice of educational research. Our short visits allowed the following observations which will help to inform our decision-making at Pymble. LAUREL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS: THE LAUREL CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON GIRLS (LCRG): ‘PUTTING BEST PRACTICE TO WORK FOR GIRLS’ Laurel is a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 girls’ school (with a small number of Junior Kindergarten boys in the fully outdoor education program at the Butler campus). The school is non-denominational with a total student population of 660 divided across primary, middle and upper schools. It is located in a beautiful building, full of student artwork in every hallway and on every available wall. The school’s outdoor education site, Butler campus, is located about 20 minutes away in an equally beautiful, semi-rural area. The Laurel Center for Research on Girls (LCRG) was formed in 2007 as a way for the school to take charge of research involving its students and staff. Rather than gift external researchers the opportunity to research and write about Laurel girls and issues they faced, the school decided to embrace this themselves and use what they learnt to improve their students’ experiences. The Executive Directors of the LCRG are prominent local psychologists with international reputations whose research focuses on helping parents to know their daughters’ developmental needs and support them using scientific research.


RESEARCH IN SCHOOLS When asked to describe the relationship between the school and the centre, LCRG Interim Director, Mrs Hope Murphy, said: “Laurel is the ship and the LCRG is the rudder.”

is driven to improve teachers’ professional practice through increasing teachers’ knowledge of and skills in the ‘science of learning’ and ‘neuroscience’.

And it is evident that LCRG focuses on all things ‘girls’ and all things ‘Laurel’. In its early years, the Centre focused on conducting original studies, but it now produces research monographs and works with external researchers whose projects are relevant for their girls. During our visit, we met with a research team from two universities who were studying the experience of girls of colour in independent girls’ schools in the USA.

The Centre developed their own terminology around mind and brain education (MBE) and ‘neuroteaching’ following a core focus of the new Principal’s vision for the school when he took up the post 18 years ago. They began with an adaptation of the ‘All Kinds of Brains’ model and also used John Hattie’s notion of ‘collective efficacy’ to train all teachers and all new, incoming staff in their evolving Mind, Brain and Education Science approach.

Laurel parents are strongly connected to the LCRG as a research-based information source and stay up to date with parenting tips and strategies through parent evenings and coffee mornings with the Executive Directors, Dr Lisa Damour and Dr Tori Cordiano. Lisa and Tori advise the Laurel community on what is best for girls and their input helps to shape elements like the timetable, the Butler campus program and the physical appearance of the school.

The CTTL’s mission is to ‘professionalise practice’. It is not to do research or to support teachers to engage in their own research, even in the area of neuroteaching. However, the CTTL has a partnership with the Center for Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University and the teams work together to develop and evaluate professional learning tools for teachers.

ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL SCHOOL: THE CENTER FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL TEACHING AND LEARNING (CTTL): ‘OUR VISION IS A WORLD WHERE EVERY TEACHER UNDERSTANDS HOW EVERY STUDENT’S BRAIN LEARNS’ St. Andrew’s is a co-educational Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 school with about 900 students. It is located near Washington D.C. and has an Anglican faith base focused on serving others. The CTTL spends 40 per cent of its time working with lessprivileged schools in communities across the United States. The CTTL

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The CTTL produces a magazine, Thinking Differently and Deeply, and curates a blog called ‘The Bridge’. The Directors of the CTTL have published a book on neuroteaching and facilitate an online course that educators worldwide may use for professional learning, as well as running a summer academy for teachers. Student Research Fellows both assist at the Academy and generate their own research under the direction of the Centre. For example, the Principal recently asked students to investigate and report on ways to improve homework and a group of students were able to present their findings to staff and the school board and affect policy change.

BRANKSOME HALL: THE CHANDARIA RESEARCH CENTRE (CRC): ‘TO INITIATE NEW RESEARCH AND EXPLORE EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE IN GIRLS’ LEARNING, WELLBEING AND INTERNATIONAL MINDEDNESS’ Branksome Hall is a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 girls’ school located in Toronto. It has 1,600 students and is an International Baccalaureate school. The Chandaria Research Centre has three key purposes aligning closely with the school’s strategy. The mission statement of the school is ‘advancing scholarship in girls’ learning, wellbeing and international mindfulness’. The CRC focuses on academics, wellbeing and international mindfulness for students which means that the CRC’s focus and outputs always align with those of the school. The CRC also has a set of drivers which guide the categories into which research will fall, namely: (1) Educator Inquiry (2) Action Research (3) Collaborative Inquiry (4) Graduate studies and Career Pursuits. The Centre was founded in 2015 through a grant from a former parent of the school and is staffed by a director and two research assistants, who are employed on two-year contracts. The research assistants are PhD students whose work is in areas of interest to the school and the two year tenure ensures new ideas from those researching education are readily brought into the school. An Advisory Board, comprised of academics from local universities, oversees all decisions about projects the CRC undertakes and supports. The CRC produces research summaries of their own research and also a school portal space where staff, students and parents

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RESEARCH AND EDUCATION Research coming from the College e.g. telling the College story, examining innovation and what works in our context Research skill building: University Professional learning partnerships (PL courses, RRR, 1:1 e.g. enabling their mentoring, ad hoc research with our post-grad support, students Journal Club), and staff for Sokratis reciprocal students benefit Output: Illuminate journal, Conference (Term 4), Gallery Walk (Term 3)

Pymble research model at end of 2019

can read research into girls’ education and learning. The CRC hosts a Visiting Scholar program where a ‘holder of knowledge’ or ‘knowledge maker’ is invited to the school for a couple of days each year. The Centre uses cycles of dissemination to ensure staff presenting at conferences also produce a monograph for the school, and that parents receive information from research conducted e.g. through a Maths Night. Staff action research projects are limited to only a few a year and include a Junior School mathematics professional learning project using the work of Professor Jo Boaler; a project on humour and its benefits to teaching and learning conducted by a Junior School PDHPE teacher called ‘My Funny Project’; and, an investigation by the Middle School counsellor into the timing of recess and whether it should be technology free.

Pymble’s journey Pymble’s focus on research commenced in 2018 with a strategic intent to build a culture of research in the College. Those involved in this strategic intent began cultivating ‘research mindsets’ amongst educators in the College community primarily through the creation of the journal, Illuminate, and through supporting staff to publish in it. The second year, 2019, saw the appointment the College’s inaugural Director of Research and Development. To build capacity among staff to enable them to appreciate and contribute to a research culture at the College, activities included staff professional learning in research skills, the establishment of collaborations with external researchers working with the College and the creation of professional learning communities, such as within the RRRPL program. Student skills in research were also a focus. In the second half of 2019 we prepared for the US/ Canada research trip, the delivery of research skills sessions for the Sokratis program and a guest panel of researchers for the Year 10 to 11 transition program. The College Ethics Committee was formed with approximately 12 staff and Years 10 and 11 student members, and the inaugural Pymble research conference, ‘Imprints and Impact’, took place with internal and external teachers and academics attending. Throughout 2019, Dr Sarah Loch interacted with more than 30 per cent of College teaching staff around ‘research conversations’ with the aim of engaging them in or supporting them with research.


Grade 4 Visual Arts Teacher-Researchers from Laurel School share their work with Katie

A key question as Pymble embarks on our own journey to a research centre is to contemplate the focus of the centre. What will we be known for? How will our centre support learning for the College community? Before answering these questions, we must also consider the culture and strategic direction of the College. It is my hope that Pymble’s Research Centre will be symbolic of relationships, networks and partnerships in education to inspire teachers, support the highest levels of pedagogical innovation and reform, and inform the Pymble educational community – and beyond – of the generative nature of educators integrating a research perspective into their professional learning plans.


COGNITIVE SCIENCE The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the new Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences By Dr Bianca de Wit (Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Cognitive Science, Macquarie University) and Zoë Callister-Hakewill (Research Officer, Cognitive Science and Psychology, Macquarie University and Pymble Ladies’ College ex-student)


s one of the leaders in Learning and Teaching for the Department of Cognitive Science, Dr Bianca de Wit is no stranger to presenting to keen and ambitious prospective university students (usually in Years 9 to 11). Her presentations range from promoting the new Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences to highlighting some of the groundbreaking research that is being conducted in Macquarie University’s Department of Cognitive Science. She counts herself lucky for having the opportunity to regularly meet with local students who all share a dream: To go to university. And while most students are embarking on different, individual journeys, they do have common questions, such as “What is this thing called Cognitive Science?”, “What is it like to go to university?”, and “What is it like to be a researcher?”. This article will address some of these questions and in addition provide some insight into the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences – the only one of its kind in Australia that is now offered at Macquarie University. Dr Bianca de Wit is a pioneering academic who is using commercial and portable technology in education and research. While she underpins her teaching principles with practical research skills obtained from her background in Psychology (Erasmus



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Bianca’s passion for nurturing budding young female cognitive scientists extends beyond the tertiary level of education. As a part of her outreach initiatives, Bianca mentors Anouk (Year 6) and is a firm believer that “you can never be too young to do research”.

University Rotterdam in the Netherlands) and her PhD in Cognitive Science (Macquarie University), it has ultimately been her specialisation in integrating mobile neurogaming technology into undergraduate cognitive science and neuroscience curricula that has made her a multi-award-winning educator. Internationally, recognised as an innovative learning and teaching strategist, she has also been invited over to the University of Washington in St Louis (WUSTL) and the University of Exeter to replicate her cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience labs. In addition to managing her responsibilities as Director of Undergraduate Studies at Macquarie University, she continues to apply her expertise in investigating the brain processes that underpin the ability to read words, as well as using mobile neurogaming technology to study brain health in female sports players. It is her passion to continue to mentor and advocate for budding young female scientists.

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COGNITIVE SCIENCE Women in science STUDYING COGNITIVE AND BRAIN SCIENCES Let’s start off by tackling the topic of cognitive science. Describing cognitive science in a nutshell is a challenging feat as cognitive science is a true interdisciplinary study of the mind and brain. In the pursuit to better understand how the mind and brain “work” and improve people’s lives, cognitive scientists combine knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines. They typically collaborate with colleagues from disciplines such as Computer Modelling, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Philosophy. At Macquarie University, the Department of Cognitive Science (Macquarie University, 2020b) reflects this interdisciplinary nature, with researchers adopting a variety of methods – from brain imaging and stimulation to behavioural observation and philosophy – in many research areas, including attention, belief formation, hearing, memory, perception, and reading. In 2020, the Department of Cognitive Science launched the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Macquarie University, 2020a) – a unique degree that offers students an exciting new pathway to study the rapidly growing fields of cognitive science and neuroscience. The degree can be studied across three years full-time and stays true to the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science by including subjects on neuroscience, human neuroimaging, computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence, as well as more specialised subjects that focus on specific research areas such as attention, hearing, and reading. As will be highlighted later on, the degree embodies a research-driven and active-learning approach that allows students to develop research skills through active learning and laboratory activities throughout their curriculum. The Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is the first of its kind in Australia and one might wonder how a course like this is shaped. In developing this new degree, two things had to be taken into consideration: its structure and its content. As with most degrees, the structure of the degree is primarily dictated by overarching principles that are set at the university level.

Zoë Callister-Hakewill sat down with Dr Bianca de Wit to capture her perspective on Women in Science: What did you study to get to where you are now? I have always been fascinated by people and their behaviour for as long as I can remember, which initially made me pursue a Bachelor of Psychology (at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands). After about two months of study, I realised that I wasn’t so much interested in “what” people do, but more in “how” people can do things like read a book, which led me to specialise in Biological and Cognitive Psychology and subsequently a PhD in Cognitive Science. I am very lucky that I have parents who supported me to pursue the career path that I was interested in and gave me the confidence to not be scared of the word ‘Science’. I think there is a perception that Science is hard, but I don’t think that you can ever be too young or inexperienced to do Science. What is your favourite part about your job? I never really thought of myself as a teacher, but one of the coolest aspects of my job is identifying what my students are interested in and nurturing those passions. I enjoy working in a female-heavy department, the head of our department is a female as well as the majority of people in managing positions. I think being surrounded by females who support each other is important. As an adult what would you tell your younger self? Imposter syndrome is a real thing in academia. Despite writing many big academic papers, you are almost waiting for the day in which someone knocks on your door to say ‘you have no idea what you are talking about and everything you have published is wrong’. I think I would tell my younger self to not worry about that and to just trust the process and my own ideas. Any final words for young women? I think as females we try to dumb down our smart ideas so that we don’t come across as intimidating and we are much more hesitant to back ourselves. I don’t think it’s something that we do consciously, but it does happen. Hermione Granger is my favourite Harry Potter character because she backs herself. If she has a good idea, she talks about it and she is not afraid to come across as smart. We should all be more like Hermione.


COGNITIVE SCIENCE Zoë Callister-Hakewill Within this structure, the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences has included flexibility wherever possible to give students the opportunity to carve out their own learning path. There are what we call essential subjects that have to be studied by all students to ensure students master foundational knowledge and meet the course’s learning outcomes upon graduation. There are also elective subjects that are selected from a list of subjects that have been identified as relevant to the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience.

After completing one undergraduate degree and two postgraduate degrees, and making starts, but never truly enjoying a number of career paths, I decided to undertake a Bachelor of Psychology at Macquarie University as I had always had an interest in the underpinnings of human behavior and Macquarie was renowned for its thoughtleading academia in the areas of psychology and cognitive sciences. I didn’t initially set out to study Cognitive Science, it found me. When I first came to Macquarie, I felt lost and unsure of my career path. In pursuit of something to anchor myself to I emailed a few academics to find opportunities to volunteer in research and was fortunate enough to find Bianca. Instantly, it felt like the perfect fit. Bianca is innovative, collaborative and shares my passion for promoting women in STEM. I had imagined previously that research was an isolated monotonous desk job but Bianca inspires such creativity within her dynamic team of researchers to answer scientific questions. In fact, my first research project was spent completely out of the lab, employing wireless mobile EEG devices field side to measure brain health in real-time of contact sports players. My appetite for cognitive science became insatiable and I was asked to join more research projects, each requiring me to learn new skills to formulate out-of-the box methods to answer scientific questions that traversed medicine, technology, neuroscience, neurophysiology, neurobiology and psychology. Rather than following the rules, protocols and diagnostic tools that are given to us, we make our own. The Department of Cognitive Science has provided me with the opportunities to independently undertake meaningful research that has far-reaching realworld applications. I look forward to pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Science next year.



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To illustrate, in their first year, students will study multiple essential subjects that will teach them foundational knowledge and skills that they will need before progressing to subjects that they will study in later years. A student will start by learning about the healthy brain in ‘Introduction to Neuroscience’ and will learn about what can go wrong in the brain in ‘Delusions and Disorders of the Mind and Brain’. They will also learn about psychology and statistics in ‘Introduction to Psychology’ and ‘Introductory Statistics’. In the second year, students will study subjects that build on the introductory knowledge covered in the first year. These include essential subjects, such as ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ and ‘Data Analysis and Experimental Design for the Cognitive and Brain Sciences’, as well as elective subjects. Students choose three electives from a set of subjects that includes ‘Memory’, ‘Hearing and Brain’, ‘Attention and Action’, Reading and Language’, and ‘Perception’. As the names of these subjects suggest, they cover more specialised topics. Unsurprisingly, considering what content to include in the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences was not at all straight-forward. Driven to create a unique course that focuses on the cutting-edge and rapidly evolving fields of cognitive science and neuroscience, it became clear that the course had to include not only disciplinespecific content but also essential research skills, such as proficiency in science communication, critical thinking, programming and statistics. To settle on the initial content to be included in the degree, Dr de Wit and her colleague Associate Professor Kaplan (both with study backgrounds in the Netherlands and the United States of America, respectively) looked further afield and benchmarked renowned overseas cognitive science departments and courses (mainly from the USA, including the University of California San Diego (UCSD), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Harvard University). In this process they identified commonalities among the programs and merged this with the expertise and skillsets available among the

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Students benefit from the hands-on research experience, highlighting that “They [labs] were interesting and allowed me to gain somewhat of a greater understanding of EEG, as well as gaining a high understanding of how research is conducted”.

academics in their own Department (who together form one of the largest research communities in cognitive and brain sciences in Australia and the world). For the research skill-focus of the degree, de Wit and Kaplan set out to adopt a research-driven and activelearning based approach that will be highlighted in the next section. ACTIVE AND RESEARCH-DRIVEN LEARNING A large body of research in undergraduate pedagogy indicates that active, enquiry-driven approaches to learning and teaching results in more positive outcomes for students in various subjects including science (National Research Council, 2000; Kahn & O’Rourke, 2004; McNeal & D’Avanzo, 1997). For neuroscience specifically, it has been highlighted that there are clear benefits in exposing students to research experiences (Boitano & Seyal, 2001) and integrating technology into the curriculum (Griffin, 2003). Taking this into account, it became non-negotiable to adopt a research-driven approach to teaching and include ample

dynamic learning experiences and authentic research activities in the curriculum of the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences. In fact, it was a natural fit given the historically research-intensive nature of the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University. All subjects are taught by active, expert researchers which has resulted in a curriculum that reflects a wide range of contemporary research findings and methodologies that is used in research currently conducted within the Department of Cognitive Science. Building on this, it also became a priority to include ample dynamic learning experiences and authentic research activities in the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences. The majority of its subjects, including those offered in the first and second year of study, give students the opportunity to engage in handson activities designed to explore challenging concepts. Pedagogically, these activities are scaffolded in a way that avoids unnecessary repetition whilst ensuring that students can continuously practise and improve their skills and knowledge.

To illustrate, in the first year ‘Introduction to Neuroscience’ subject, students are required to learn the anatomy of the brain. Rather than learning about these complex topics by memorising static pictures, students complete tutorial activities that see them interact with a virtual brain which they can rotate, slice, and colour to learn about the various brain structures. In addition, to learn about the way neurons in the brain communicate, tackling the concept of action potentials, student interact with animations to solidify this complex neuroscience concept. The second-year ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ subject builds on these activities by asking students to interact with real virtual brain data from healthy adults and patients to explore the impact lesions could have on brain functioning. Furthermore, students participate in research activities designed to guide them through the steps of the experimental research process, including literature review, hypothesis generation, experimental design, data collection and data analysis. We will illustrate a couple of these activities. For example, student will learn how to complete a literature review and subsequently translate this review into a research paper, either a longer reviewstyle essay or a more succinct introduction to a research paper. For experimental design, a more problem-based approach is typically adopted, with students either having to design an experiment that takes a prescribed experimental design into account, or to extract the experimental design of an experiment and its associated pros and cons of an experiment through participation in the experiment.


COGNITIVE SCIENCE One of the truly unique characteristics of the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is the opportunity for students to engage in authentic laboratorybased research activities that use technology employed in real-life research settings. While it is widely acknowledged that research experience is beneficial to students (Boitano & Seyal, 2001; Griffin, 2003), relatively few undergraduate neuroscience courses offer meaningful laboratory-based experiences to students. A primary reason for this is the financial impact, with laboratory-based activities typically requiring dedicated laboratory space and delicate research-grade equipment, both of which are costly and generally not scalable to large enrolment numbers. Innovatively, Dr De Wit and colleague Associate Professor Kaplan set out to change this and integrate meaningful teaching laboratories in the curriculum of the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences. They spearheaded the development of two fully functional, portable and scalable teaching laboratories by leveraging emerging quality commercial technology to deliver highly interactive research experiences. These laboratories are known as the human brainimaging lab and the virtual reality lab. Critically, these labs do not represent dedicated, physical spaces but instead represent teaching equipment and experiences. In fact, the labs do away with the need for costly dedicated fixed-lab space due to the highly portable nature of the equipment used in the labs. The labs are structured in terms of lab sessions during which students engage in experimental research activities. Rather uniquely, students do not have to wait until their final year of study to engage in these lab



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Common themes across student evaluations were positive, noting that they “Enjoyed the practical aspects of the labs, and being able to test hypotheses – the labs made the classes more interactive and enjoyable” and “They [labs] were interactive, gave us the opportunity to put theories into real applications”.

sessions, instead they are offered to students within the first four weeks of their university studies. HUMAN-BRAIN IMAGING LAB Learning about neuroscience in ‘Introduction to Neuroscience’ also involves learning about methodologies used in neuroscience research. One of these techniques is electroencephalography – EEG for short, which is a method that records the brain’s electrical activity. The human-brain imaging lab makes it possible for students to physically use the EEG technique they have learned about and visualise their own, and their peers’, brain activity in real-time (De Wit et al., 2017). The teaching lab is structured in multiple sessions, with every session including activities that link to the subject’s lecture content. For example, during the week in which students learn about visual processing, the lab activity will focus on an experiment that investigates the visual processing of faces. Students will record brain activity during an experiment that shows a series of pictures of faces and other

objects. Once completed, they will learn about processing and analysis of the EEG data and be asked to critically interpret and discuss these findings and relate it back to the theory learned during the lecture. The human-brain imaging lab uses the EMOTIV Epoc+ headset – a wireless headset that was originally designed for gaming purposes but has been shown to record research quality EEG data by a team of researchers from the Department of Cognitive Science (Badcock et al., 2015). Given its relatively compact size and affordability, multiple EMOTIV headsets are used in the human brain-imaging lab making it scalable to larger undergraduate settings while still ensuring students gain hands-on experience with the equipment. This lab is currently offered in a subject that has more than 500 students enrolled. VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) LAB Virtual Reality is a tool that is increasingly used in industry, clinical and recreational settings. The VR lab incorporates this technology into the neuroscience curriculum

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COGNITIVE SCIENCE to allow students to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals behind human perception and sensation through active and exploratory learning. Similar to the human-brain imaging lab, the VR lab is structured around lab sessions that link to the subject’s lecture content. For example, in the second-year ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ subject students learn about how the brain integrates information from different senses such as sight and touch – a concept referred to multisensory integration. The lab session uses virtual reality to allow students to test some of the factors that might contribute to this integration, such as the role of visual feedback. The VR lab uses the Oculus Rift – a wireless headset that is primarily used for gaming but has recently also been used in research conducted by some researchers from the Department of Cognitive Science. As with the other lab, multiple headsets can be used in one classroom at the time to give students the best possible interactive experience. This lab is currently offered in a subject that has more than 150 students enrolled. TO INFINITY AND BEYOND One of the more frequent questions students (and parents) ask at academic advisory events such as Macquarie University’s Open Day is “what will person X be once they graduate?” While this is a reasonable question, there is no straight-forward answer to this question. The options are limitless! The reality is that careers change. Jobs are ever evolving, especially in technology fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human-computer interfaces, as well as human-facing fields such as the health industry, with jobs being available now that were unimaginable a few years ago.

A prime example is the increasing need for data literacy skills. As was highlighted in March 2020 (Hastie, 2020), businesses are expected to move into a world that is become increasingly data-driven. With a current shortage of data literate employees, data literacy is expected to become the most valuable commodity in the future.

Its graduates will be equipped with in-depth scientific knowledge and trained to confidently evaluate information, come up with new ideas and voice their thoughts and plans in a variety of ways. Together, these build a solid foundation for any future career, whether that is a research career in academic or a career in industry.


References Badcock, N. A., Preece, K. A., de Wit, B., Glenn, K., Fieder, N., Thie, J., & McArthur, G. (2015). Validation of the Emotiv EPOC EEG system for research quality auditory event-related potentials in children. PeerJ, 3, e907. https:// 10.7717/peerj.907 Boitano, J. J., & Seyal, A. A. (2001). Neuroscience curricula for undergraduates: a survey. The Neuroscientist, 7(3), 202-206. De Wit, B., Badcock, N. A., Grootswagers, T., Hardwick, K., Teichmann, L., Wehrman, J., Williams, M., & Kaplan, D. M. (2017). Neurogaming technology meets neuroscience education: A cost-effective, scalable, and highly portable undergraduate teaching laboratory for neuroscience. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 15(2), A104. Griffin, J. D. (2003). Technology in the teaching of neuroscience: Enhanced student learning. Advances in physiology education, 27(3), 146-155. advan.00059.2002 Hastie, E. (2020). The ability to “speak data” could land you a six-figure salary. 62d70d03666 Kahn, P., & O’Rourke, K. (2004). Guide to curriculum design: Enquiry-based learning. Higher Education Academy, 30(2), 3-30. resources/guides/kahn_2004.pdf Macquarie University, Department of Cognitive Science. (2020a). Bachelor of Cogntitive and Brain Sciences. domestic/undergraduate/bachelor-ofcognitive-and-brain-sciences Macquarie University, Department of Cogntiive Science. (2020b). Department of Cognitive Science. McNeal, A. P., & D’Avanzo, C. (1997). Studentactive science: Models of innovation in college science teaching. Centers for Teaching and Technology - Book Library. 112. ct2-library/112 National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

This begs the question as to how programs can prepare their students for “unknown” life after university. Curricula should aim to train students in anticipation of these jobs. The premise behind the Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is to foster the development of skills and capabilities that are known to be highly transferable, including problem solving, critical analysis of data and information, and effective Science communication. For example, going back to the example of data literacy skills, students will actively learn to interact with data through participation in authentic research activities that include data processing and data analysis. Throughout the curriculum, strong emphasis is placed on scientific data-driven communication, with students expected to clearly and effectively report on data in various formats and to different audiences through assessment tasks that range from writing blogs and research reports to giving research presentations and creating marketing slogans. Conclusively, Macquarie University has been recognised nationally as a trailblazer in implementing innovative learning and teaching practices to nurture skills that are applicable within the real-world beyond undergraduate studies. The new Bachelor of Cognitive and Brain Sciences is a prime example of this practice.


Avon Road, Pymble NSW 2073 PO Box 136, North Ryde BC NSW 1670 Australia Phone: +61 2 9855 7799 A school of the Uniting Church in Australia for girls from Kindergarten to Year 12, with boarding available from Year 7. © 2020 Pymble Ladies’ College ABN 78 619 140 464.


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