CRIMS IN RURAL SCHOOLS
|Project Title||Context Rich Integrated Mathematics and Science Project (CRIMS) in Rural Schools|
|Project Team||Ms Sue Wilson (SiMERR ACT)|
|Period||2006 – 2008|
|Organisational Base||SiMERR ACT|
The CRIMS in Rural Schools Project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a professional learning project in four rural schools and identify alternate models for the use of Teacher Associates (such as those involved in ASISTM projects) in rural schools. This project is a pilot study, which will identify issues and alternatives for an extended project.
The CRIMS in Rural Schools Project will provide:
- Resources for the development of CRIMS tasks, and access to CRIMS tasks developed by other teachers;
- Teacher Associates to work in rural schools with teachers; and
- Ongoing professional learning to support modification of teaching practices, catalysing wider change within schools.
The project will enhance collaboration between teachers and with professional associations. It will evaluate models for Teacher Associate involvement in rural schools. Teachers will be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of CRIMS for improving outcomes for regional and rural students.
The project will deliver seven days of professional development, including a day on The Learning Federation Learning Objects, facilitated by consultants Steve Thornton and Charles Lovitt.
Nine teachers from four rural schools (Trinity College, Goulburn; Mount Carmel, Yass; Carroll College, Broulee and St Bede’s Primary School, Braidwood), in collaboration with fourteen teachers from six ACT schools (Merici College, St Clare’s College, Daramalan College, St Francis Xavier School, Gold Creek School, and Calwell High School)
Rural teachers’ opportunities to engage in professional learning are important to sustain the activities beyond the end of the project. Pedagogical change was supported by the open-ended investigations, problem-based learning, constructivism and student-centred learning activities presented at the PD days. Rural teachers contributed to the PD days and valued the collaboration with other teachers. Teachers reflected on the impact of factors such as professional learning, teacher attributes, time and curriculum that encouraged, inhibited and prevented the spread of innovative practices in their schools. Three different models of using teacher associates in rural schools were trialled. Teachers reported they stimulated new activities, especially in primary and middle schools. Outcomes included increased student interest and understanding, improved resources and increasing the use of real-life contexts in mathematics and science.
- Wilson, S. (2007, July). The CRIMS Context Rich Integrated Maths and Science Projects. In Milton, K., Reeves, H. & Spencer, T. (Eds) Mathematics: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life. (Proceedings of the 21st Biennial Conference of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, Adelaide, pp. 398-403). Adelaide: AAMT Inc.
- Wilson, S. (2007, July). CRIMS: Context Rich Integrated Maths and Science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the World Conference on Science and Technology Education, Perth.
- Wilson, S. (2007, September). CRIMS: Context Rich Integrated Maths and Science. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Mathematics Association of New South Wales, Port Macquarie.
- Wilson, S. (2007, November). CRIMS: Context Rich Integrated Maths and Science. Poster session presented at the Summit of the National Centre for Science, Information and Communication Technology, and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia, Canberra, Australia.
- Wilson, S. (2007, December). Context Rich Integrated Maths and Science. Paper presented at the annual conference for Leaders in Primary and Secondary Mathematics. Melbourne.
- Wilson, S. (2007). UNESCO International Science Education Policy Forum organised by ICASE/ASTA. Invited delegate. Perth, July.
Teachers were introduced to the research base and innovative ways of teaching. The project enabled and supported rural school teachers’ professional learning and stimulated wider discussion in rural schools. It was the stimulus for PD of the TLF Learning Objects integrating mathematics and science in a rural school. It trialled a new Saturday PD model which will be used again, as lack of teacher release inhibits PD opportunities. The PD day allowed rural CRIMS teachers to make connections with teachers from other schools, Teacher Professional Associations, Australian Science Innovations, and the Academy of Science “Science by Doing” Project personnel.
The PD activities developed for the CRIMS project were disseminated internationally and nationally through conference presentations. Feedback from the project enabled contribution to the UNESCO Policy Forum, and will inform a study tour to Canada in November, 2008.
Professional learning activities and CRIMS tasks are freely available to teachers in an online format through the updated project website, CRIMSonline.
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