Ipswich researcher US-bound on Smithsonian Fellowship

An Ipswich researcher focused on using digitally enabled technologies to enhance primary science education will travel to the US this year to further her work.

Associate Professor Ange Fitzgerald, a science education and STEM research at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), was recently awarded a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship.

The Fellowship entitles her to work at the Smithsonian Science Education Centre (SSEC) where she will head up a project looking at development of an online professional learning tool for teachers.

“Gaining access to quality professional development and learning is challenging for both current and future teachers in a state like Queensland,” Associate Professor Fitzgerald said.

“Those working in these spaces need to be innovating, not only in terms of the quality of the programming on offer but the ways in which these offerings are shared with teachers living and working in rural and remote locations.

“We want to develop a quality, online professional learning package to support current and future teachers in both the United States and Queensland to improve the learning and teaching of primary science.”

Working with the SSEC’s Teacher Professional Development team, Associate Professor Fitzgerald said she was honoured by the opportunity and looking forward to sharing her skills and knowledge to the US, as well as learning from her new colleagues.

“The SSEC have quality science education programs for primary-aged students and significant resourcing, but are uncertain about how to improve their reach and scale with teachers across the US,” she said.

“I will be using my experience in working with teachers in online settings to develop ways in which this can be improved and achieved using a range of cutting-edge digital technologies.”

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