Our Research

Our Centre is comprised of an an eclectic community of researchers, interested in issues surrounding science, mathematics, and technology education. The research publications of our members stretch beyond the university, impacting a range of educational communities. A sample of recent interdisciplinary collaborative research projects and research-informed publications can be seen below. 

Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Projects

image credit:

image credit to EESCA

Faculty Member: Prof. Murray Metcalfe (Engineering)
OISE Student Collaborator: Antoine Després-Bedward.

The goal of this project was to explore possibilities with regard to supporting universities in Africa by providing and/or delivering University of Toronto sustainable engineering content. Antoine (the OISE research student) was tasked with gathering intelligence on various universities in sub-Saharan Africa. The initial research led to the second phase of the project where researchers, including Antoine, traveled to Africa to meet with engineering and education faculty with the hope of creating partnerships. A pilot SPOC (Small Private Online Course) entitled Engineering Sustainable Cities: An African Focus, was delivered to the African Leadership University in Spring 2017.

  • Després-Bedward, A. and Newfield, K. (2017, September). Engineering Education for Sustainable Cities in Africa: Conversations form Kenya. Paper presented at SEFI 45th Annual Conference. Azores, Portugal.
  • Després-Bedward, A. (2017, June). Engineering Education for Sustainable Cities in Africa: A Case for Rwanda. Paper presented at the CEEA 2017 8th Annual Conference.  Toronto, Canada.
  • Ibrahim, N., Metcalfe, M., Rezaie, R., Hoornweg, D., Evans, G., Drake, J.,…  Després-Bedward, A. (2016, September). Engineering Education for Sustainable Cities in Africa. Paper presented at the EESD 8th Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (pp. 33-40) Bruges, Belgium.

Faculty Member: Narges Balouchestaniasli
Student Collaborator: Majd Zouda

The project was a collaboration between the SMT Centre/OISE and the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

The project goals were to study factors affecting innovation in the context of multidisciplinary engineering capstone design projects. The study conducted survey measurements of several psychological and social variables that affect the ability of engineering students to find innovative solutions to problems in a multidisciplinary team setting. The research may provide useful information about how to teach and foster innovation across STEM education in a multidisciplinary environment.

This research was part of a larger study aimed at examining innovation and its factors in engineering capstone projects, at the University of Toronto. Innovation is compared between monodisciplinary teams (e.g. from mechanical engineering) and multidisciplinary teams. Students’ perceptions of their innovation at the end of their project was positive. The results of interviews along with video recordings revealed five factors affecting innovation: multidisciplinary knowledge, team vision, the effect of the supervisor, the effect of the client and industry partner, and team size.

Balouchestani, N., Zouda, M., & Behdinan, K. (2016). A Qualitative Study of Team Level Factors Affecting Innovation. A paper presented at the annual conference of Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference, Dalhousie University, June, 2016

Faculty Contacts : Professors Michael DeBraga and Andrew Petersen (Biology)
OISE Student Collaborators: Sandra Pomezanski and Isra Rafiq

The work funded was for an investigation in a first-year biology course, where they explored growth in Critical Thinking (CT) as a result of interactive group activities. The graduate student from OISE helped with data collection. The overview of the findings collected during the investigation proved helpful in modifying aspects of the numeracy investigation that was the basis for the CT study. As a result of the work that was funded by OISE, the numeracy intervention has now been incorporated into a first-year biology course at the University of Toronto (Mississauga) and will be formally delivered in Winter 2018 for the first time. The findings suggest that the opportunity to engage students in the process of peer review encourages the development of CT.

Faculty Member: Benjamin Moulton (Lecturer from the Dept. of Earth Sciences)
Student Collaborators: Darlee Gerrard and Antoine Després-Bedward

This project focused on the redesign of the lab portion of a 2nd year course entitled Intro to Earth Evolution. The course was co-taught with an assistant curator at the ROM, Dave Rudkin and is about  the evolution of life and the Earth as a complex set of inter-connected systems. The project focused on science communciation and the impact of experiential learning at the ROM compared to inside the classroom.

Darlee Gerrard drafted a literature review for the project and Antoine Després-Bedward developed new assignments for the course content involving the museum exhibits.

Recent Book Releases

Pedretti, E., & Navas Iannini, A. (2020). Controversy in science museums: Re-imagining exhibition spaces and practice. London: Taylor & Francis.

Bencze, L. (2017). Science and Technology Education Promoting Wellbeing for Individuals, Societies and Environments: STEPWISE. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-55505-8

Krpan, C. (2017). Teaching Math with Meaning: Cultivating Self-Efficacy through Learning Competencies, Grades K–8. Pearson

Research Honours

Faculty Member Prof. Cathy Marks Krpan is this year’s Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Winner Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education

The SMT Centre is excited to announce that Dr. Cathy Marks Krpan is the 2021 recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education presented by The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. This prestigious accolade celebrates researchers and educators who exemplify outstanding leadership, innovation, excellence, leadership, and influence in mathematics education. Learn more about Dr. Marks Krpan’s remarkable accomplishment here.

Faculty Member Prof. Gila Hanna receives 2020 Partners In Research National Award – Dr. Jonathon Borwein Mathematics Ambassador Award

The SMT Centre congratulates Dr. Gila Hanna for receiving the 2020 Partners In Research National Award – Dr. Jonathon Borwein Mathematics Ambassador Award. Partners in Research aims to foster and promote public understanding of health research in Canada. Learn more about Dr. Hanna’s accomplishments and her outstanding achievement here.