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Education group marking 25th anniversary

[MSTE 25th Anniversary]
The Faculty of Education’s Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special event Oct. 3 at Duncan McArthur Hall. (Supplied Photo)

In the 25 years since the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) Group was set up in the Queen’s Faculty of Education, much has changed in those areas of teaching and learning.

Computers were starting to really make an impact, awareness of climate change was on the rise and the Internet was something few had used regularly.

Fast forward to today and each has grown exponentially.

These are only some of the changes within the MSTE field over the past quarter century but show clearly how quickly things can change in the study area, which also includes more traditional trades such as culinary arts, automotive studies and woodworking.

To mark the 25 years since its inception, the MSTE Group and the Faculty of Education is hosting a day of events on Oct. 3 at Duncan McArthur Hall, including special guest speakers Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, and mathematician and sculptor George Hart.

The areas of study within MSTE and the technology used has evolved quickly but so too has the way teaching and learning is applied in today’s schools.

As MSTE coordinator Jamie Pyper points out, the primary purpose of the group is to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics, science and technology education – and that’s technology education as a two word title, not just the use of technology in education – for pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and students of any grade level.

Over the years, one of the main changes has been seen in community outreach, Dr. Pyper explains. In the past the MSTE Group would welcome visiting scholars and national award winning teachers, and while that still holds true, there is a greater emphasis on MSTE efforts to reach out with events such as Science Rendezvous, MathOlymPIcs and robotics competitions.

Of course, change can also mean opportunity.

“I think it’s been a good thing for us as a group to keep up to date with the changes socially, economically, and so on. Also the changing understanding of what education is all about, the philosophy of education and then the practice of education and how we implement that into the classroom especially in terms of curriculum design, as we are a curriculum-focussed group,” Dr. Pyper says. “Those kinds of changes have had a lasting impact on who we are, what we think about, how we talk together, what we find ourselves gravitating and moving towards in terms of activities. I think that’s been pretty vital.”

Queen’s Faculty of Education has long been at the forefront of education in the fields of mathematics, science and technology education and boasts a state-of-the-art tech education facility that helps prepare teacher candidates for what they will be teaching in school.

“We do have a full tech venue with all the equipment and machines you would ever want to be able to be a tech-ed teacher in elementary or high school,” Dr. Pyper says. “We also have a full suite of science labs, and a mathematics education room that is jam-packed with colour and manipulatives and games, all the stuff that a teacher would need to use in his or her classroom. So it’s very lab-based. MSTE is lab-based here in this building and in our programs. So an MSTE group fits very well here because it, as a group, is supported in the three areas.”

A schedule of the 25th anniversary events on Oct. 3, from 11 am to 5 pm, can be found at educ.queensu.ca/mste-25th.  Everyone is welcome.