Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2015 Archive

This page is no longer updated. Page archived at: Thu, 16 Apr 2015

Epistemic challenges in inquiry science


15 April 2015

A Research on Learning and Educational Innovation seminar with David Ashe.

When students are asked to think about aspects of ‘sustainability’ they are required not only to understand scientific facts but also to consider that they are both part of the 'problem' and part of the 'solution'. These issues are inherently ill-structured; that is, they may have many viable alternative solutions and it can be difficult to know when a satisfactory solution has been reached. This seminar presents a PhD study that investigated upper primary school students knowledge and thinking as they considered issues related to sustainability. The study focused on how knowledge was used across different contexts and draws conclusions about the use of ‘epistemic challenges’ as a pedagogical tool.

An overview will be given of three empirical episodes during which different aspects of context were varied: the problem context, the knowledge context and the physical context. The analysed data will then be considered alongside existing pedagogical approaches. The results showed that all three contextual elements led to variations in the manner in which the students solved sustainability problems. It was observed that epistemic challenges helped the participants to make progress towards viable solutions. These epistemic challenges came from the facilitator of learning, from other students, and from the activities in which the students were engaged.

Event details

  • When: 11am–12.30pm
  • Where:

    Education Building (A35)

    Room 612

  • Cost: Free

  • Contact:

    Sadhbh Warren

    T: 9351 2612


  • More info:

    Arrive 10.45am for refreshments

    This seminar will be live online at

  • Speaker:

    David Ashe is a member of the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo) in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. He has just competed his PhD and currently works as part of a team of researchers investigating how to design better tools and resources for networked online learning. He has a personal interest in the combination of technological, pedagogical and content knowledge, has worked with the “Teaching Teachers for the Future Project” team, and is a mentor with the STEM Academy working with high-school science teachers across Sydney.

Epistemic challenges in inquiry science: upper primary school students thinking about sustainability


Education Building (A35)

Room 612


15 April 2015

Outlook / iCal Yahoo! Windows Live! Google