Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Amy MacDonald

Dr Amy MacDonald

BEd (Prim)(Hons, Class 1), CSU; PhD, CSU

Amy is Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Mathematics Education in the School of Education on the Albury-Wodonga campus. She is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Research Fellow for 2018-2020.  She has a Bachelor of Education (Primary)(Honours Class 1) degree and a PhD in early childhood mathematics education, both from Charles Sturt University. She worked at the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE) and as a sessional academic with the School of Education on the CSU Wagga Wagga campus while completing her PhD, before relocating to the Albury-Wodonga campus at the start of 2011. Amy has previously worked as a Kindergarten teacher, transition teacher and special needs teacher in primary schools in NSW.

Amy’s current research focuses on the mathematics, and STEM, experiences and education of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children in the early years of primary school. Her ARC DECRA project is investigating mathematics education for children under three years of age by examining the beliefs and practices of the educators who work with these children. Amy is an internationally-recognised early childhood mathematics education researcher, and has received awards for her work in this area, including the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia Early Career Award, the NSW Institute for Educational Research Beth Southwell Research Award, and the CSU Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Prize for her mathematics education PhD. More recently, Amy has focused on STEM education more broadly. Her current projects include an investigation of preschool STEM pedagogies across NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia; and she is currently working with colleagues at CSU to develop a conceptual framework for effective STEM education from early childhood through to senior secondary education.

Amy currently teaches students in the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years) course, in the areas of early childhood mathematics, science and technology education. In 2014, Amy was awarded an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching ‘Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning’ for her teaching in this course.

Awards/Honours

  • 2016: RIPPLE Research Fellowship
  • 2014: Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for: Approaches to mathematics education at a distance which inspire early childhood educators to engage with mathematics
  • 2014: RIPPLE Research Fellowship
  • 2013: Faculty of Education Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for: Approaches to mathematics education at a distance which inspire early childhood educators to engage with mathematics
  • 2012: Faculty of Education Paper of the Year Award
  • 2012: NSW Institute for Educational Research Beth Southwell Award for an Outstanding Thesis
  • 2012: Invitee, Science Meets Parliament 2012
  • 2012: Nominee, Early Childhood Australia Doctoral Thesis Award
  • 2012: Nominee, Australian Association for Research in Education Award for Doctoral Research in Education
  • 2012: Nominee, Faculty of Education Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2011: Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Prize
  • 2011: Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Early Career Award
  • 2011: RIPPLE/CRN Research Fellowship
  • 2008: RIPPLE PhD Scholarship

Top of page


Current Research

Amy’s current research focuses on the mathematics, and STEM, experiences and education of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and children in the early years of primary school. Her ARC DECRA project is investigating mathematics education for children under three years of age by examining the beliefs and practices of the educators who work with these children. Amy is an internationally-recognised early childhood mathematics education researcher, and has received awards for her work in this area, including the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA) Early Career Award, the NSW Institute for Educational Research Beth Southwell Research Award, and the CSU Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Prize for her mathematics education PhD. More recently, Amy has focused on STEM education more broadly. Her current projects include an investigation of preschool STEM pedagogies across NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia; and the development of a conceptual framework for effective STEM education from early childhood through to senior secondary education.

Amy’s engagement with, and impact upon, STEM education research in Australia is evident through her involvement in all three of the early childhood STEM initiatives funded by the Federal Government through the Innovation Agenda: Let’s Count; Little Scientists; and the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot programme. Since 2011, Amy has been leading the translation into practice through teacher education of Let’s Count, and she received funding from The Smith Family to develop the existing Let’s Count program into an online distance education subject. In 2017, she was successful in a tender to evaluate the Let’s Count E-Learning pilot program. Amy is currently leading the evaluation of the Little Scientists preschool STEM program, and she is a member of the Expert Reference Group for the ELSA pilot programme. Additionally, Amy is the author of Investigating Mathematics, Science and Technology in Early Childhood, a textbook which was informed by her research in early childhood STEM education. This integrated text was the first of its kind in the international market.

Amy is also known internationally for her work in educational transitions; in particular, the ways in which children’s mathematics is noticed and built upon during times of transition. A significant milestone in the development of this field was the publication of Amy’s co-edited Springer title, Mathematics and Transition toSchool: International Perspectives; the first edited international work to consider mathematics and transition to school in tandem. In 2010, Amy co-authored the Transition to School Position Statement with other international researchers in this field. In Australia, it has been used to underpin systemic and local approaches to transition to school; while internationally, it has been utilised by researchers as a theoretical and practical basis for exploring transitions.

Top of page


Undergraduate Teaching

Amy teaches in the Bachelor of Education (Birth to Five Years) course, in the areas of early childhood mathematics, science and technology education. Amy has a particular commitment to the delivery of high-quality and enjoyable distance education in this course. Amy's contribution to distance early childhood mathematics education at CSU was recognised in 2014 with her receipt of an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for approaches to mathematics education at a distance which inspire early childhood educators to engage with mathematics.

Amy is the Subject Coordinator for the following subjects:

  • EMC101: Let's Count
  • EMC305: Investigation: Mathematics, Science and Technology

Amy is the author of the following subjects:

  • EMC101: Let's Count
  • EMC305: Investigation: Mathematics, Science and Technology
  • EMM106: Learning Mathematics and Science in Early Years Settings
  • EMM411: Numeracy in the Early Years
  • EEP421: Educational Transitions in Multiple Contexts

Higher Degree Research (HDR) Student Supervision

StudentDegreeTitleRoleStatus
R. Carroll PhD Why is the High School IT “Crowd” becoming an empty room? Co-Supervisor In progress
S. Murphy PhD What factors are contributing to higher than expected STEM educational outcomes in provincial and remote Australian schools? Co-Supervisor In progress
A. Blitz-Raith PhD Multimodal semiotic analysis of educational software applications using an extended framework Co-Supervisor In progress
L. Brownlow Hons. Frame of mind: How the framing effect impacts maths self-beliefs and task confidence in word-based problems Principal Supervisor Completed 2018
M. Corey Hons. Limited risk; limited development: An investigation into regulations involving risk-taking and the beliefs and practices of Australian early childhood educators Principal Supervisor Completed 2016

Top of page


CSU Committees and Leadership Roles

  • 2017 – current: Level C/D Representative, CSU Research Committee
  • 2016 – current: Chair, School of Education Research Committee
  • 2016 – current: Faculty of Arts and Education Research and Graduate Studies Committee
  • 2016 – 2018: School of Education Higher Degree Research Coordinator
  • 2014 – current: Elected Academic Member, Arts and Education Faculty Board
  • 2011 – 2015: Early/Mid-Career Researcher Representative, ‘Excellence in Research in Early Years Education’ Collaborative Research Network

Engagement

  • 2017 – current: Reviewer, Little Scientists program materials
  • 2017: Reviewer, NSW K-6 Science and Technology Syllabus
  • 2017: Editor, Special Issue of Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 19(3): ‘Mathematics Teacher Education and Professional Development for Early Childhood Education and Care’
  • 2016 – current: Australian Government Department of Education and Training Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Expert Reference Group
  • 2016: Contributor, Family Day Care Australia ‘JiGSAW’ magazine
  • 2014 – 2015: Contributor, Centre Support monthly newsletter
  • 2012 – current: Chair, 'Building Bridges' Early Years Conference Committee

Professional Associations

  • Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA)
  • Early Childhood Australia (ECA)
  • Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT)
  • Mathematical Association of New South Wales (MANSW)

Top of page


Books

  • MacDonald, A. (2018). Mathematics in early childhood education. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.
  • Dockett, S., & MacDonald, A. (Eds.). (2016). Just do good research: Commentary on the work and influence of Bob Perry. Albury, NSW: Peridot Education.
  • MacDonald, A. (2015). Investigating mathematics, science and technology in early childhood. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.
  • Perry, B., MacDonald, A., & Gervasoni, A. (Eds.)(2015). Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives. Singapore: Springer.
  • Perry, B., Lowrie, T., Logan, T., MacDonald, A., & Greenlees, J. (Eds.). (2012). Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2008-2011. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Book Chapters

  • Fenton, A., Walsh, K., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Capacity building of early career researchers through cross-institutional mentoring. In B.G.G. Johannessen (Ed.), Global co-mentoring networks in higher education: Politics, policies, and practices (pp. 203-227). Switzerland: Springer.
  • MacDonald, A. (2016). Transitioning early childhood mathematics education. In S. Dockett & A. MacDonald (Eds.), Just do good research: Commentary on the work and influence of Bob Perry. Albury, NSW: Peridot Education.
  • MacDonald, A., Goff, W., Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2016). Mathematics education in the early years. In K. Makar, S. Dole, J. Visnovska, M. Goos, A. Bennison, & K. Fry (Eds.), Research in mathematics education in Australasia: 2012-2015 (pp. 165-186). Singapore: Springer.
  • Perry, B., Lowrie, T., Logan, T., MacDonald, A., & Greenlees, J. (2016). Reflections on the MERGA Research Review 2008-2011. In K. Makar, S. Dole, J. Visnovska, M. Goos, A. Bennison, & K. Fry (Eds.), Research in mathematics education in Australasia: 2012-2015 (pp. 13-27). Singapore: Springer.
  • MacDonald, A. (2015). Let’s Count: Early childhood educators and families working in partnership to support young children’s transitions in mathematics education. In B. Perry, A. MacDonald, & A. Gervasoni (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives (85-102). Singapore: Springer.
  • Perry, B., MacDonald, A., & Gervasoni, A. (2015). Mathematics and transition to school: Theoretical frameworks and practical implications. In B. Perry, A. MacDonald, & A. Gervasoni (Eds.), Mathematics and transition to school: International perspectives (1-12). Singapore: Springer.
  • MacDonald, A., Goff, W., Hopps, K., Kaplun, C., & Rogers, S. (2014). Starting school: Synthesis and analysis. In B. Perry, S. Dockett, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.), Transitions to school: International research, policy and practice (pp. 219-228). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
  • MacDonald, A., Davies, N., Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2012). Early childhood mathematics education. In B. Perry, T. Lowrie, T. Logan, A. MacDonald, & J. Greenlees (Eds.), Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2008-2011 (pp. 169-193). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
  • Perry, B., Lowrie, T., Logan, T., MacDonald, A., & Greenlees, J. (2012). Introduction. In B. Perry, T. Lowrie, T. Logan, A. MacDonald, & J. Greenlees (Eds.), Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2008-2011 (pp. 1-11). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.

Journal Articles

  • Davidson, C., MacDonald, A., & Fenton, A. (Accepted 02/03/2018). “These are my camera glasses”: Wearable digital video glasses for recording and examining young children’s interactions during shopping. Asia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education.
  • MacDonald, A., Fenton, A., & Davidson, C. (Accepted 01/03/2018). Young children’s mathematical learning opportunities in family shopping experiences. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. Special Issue: ‘Innovative Approaches in Early Childhood Mathematics’.
  • Murphy, S., MacDonald, A., Danaia, L., & Wang, C. (Accepted 26/03/2018). An analysis of Australian STEM education policies. Policy Futures in Education.
  • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C., & MacDonald, A. (2018). STEM practice in the early years. Creative Education, 9(1). Special Issue: ‘Preschool Education Research’.
  • MacDonald, A., & Carmichael, C. (2017). Early mathematical competencies and later achievement: Insights from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Mathematics Education Research Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s13394-017-0230-6
  • Carmichael, C., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Parental influences on primary school children’s mathematics achievement: Insights from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 44(2), 197-211.
  • Fenton, A., MacDonald, A., & McFarland-Piazza, L. (2016). A Strengths Approach to supporting early mathematics learning in family contexts. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 41(1), 45-53.
  • Williams, K.E., White, S.J., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Early mathematics achievement of boys and girls: Do differences in early self-regulation pathways explain later achievement? Learning and Individual Differences, 51, 199-209.
  • Perry, B., & MacDonald, A. (2015). Educators’ expectations and aspirations around young children’s mathematical knowledge. Professional Development in Education, 41(2), 366-381.
  • Carmichael, C., MacDonald, A., & McFarland-Piazza, L. (2014). Predictors of numeracy performance in national testing programs: Insights from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. British Educational Research Journal, 40(4), 637-659.
  • MacDonald, A. (2013). Researching with young children: Considering issues of ethics and engagement. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 14 (3), 255-269.
  • MacDonald, A. (2013). Using children’s representations to investigate meaning-making in mathematics. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38 (2), 65-73.
  • MacDonald, A. (2013). Young children’s ideas about measurement: What does a Kindergarten student consider “measuring” to be? Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 18 (1), 3-7.
  • MacDonald, A. (2012). Young children’s photographs of measurement in the home. Early Years, 32 (1), 71-85.
  • MacDonald, A., & Lowrie, T. (2011). Developing measurement concepts within context: Children’s representations of length. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 23 (1), 27-42.
  • MacDonald, A. (2010). Heavy thinking: Young children’s theorising about mass. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 15 (4), 4-8.
  • MacDonald, A. (2009). Drawing stories: The power of children’s drawings to communicate the lived experience of starting school. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 34 (3), 40-49.
  • Smith, T., & MacDonald, A. (2009). Time for talk: The drawing-telling process. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 14 (3), 21-26.
  • MacDonald, A. (2008). “But what about the oneths?” A Year Seven student’s misconception about decimal place value. The Australian Mathematics Teacher, 64 (1), 12-15.
  • MacDonald, A. (2008). Kindergarten transition in a small rural school: From planning to implementation. Education in Rural Australia, 18 (1), 13-21.

Conference Papers and Posters:

  • MacDonald, A. (2018). What is mathematics education for babies and toddlers? Paper to be presented at the 41st annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Auckland, 1-5 July.
  • MacDonald, A., & Murphy, S. (2018). Children’s representations of clocks at the start of school. Paper to be presented at the 41st annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Auckland, 1-5 July.
  • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C., & MacDonald, A. (2017). A glimpse of early childhood teachers’ STEM pedagogy and practices. Paper presented at the 12th conference of the European Science Education Research Association, Dublin, 21-25 Aug.
  • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C., & MacDonald, A. (2017). Early childhood STEM: Pedagogy and practices. Paper presented at the European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference, Bologna, 29 Aug – 1 Sep.
  • Campbell, C., Speldewinde, C., Howitt, C., & MacDonald, A. (2017). Early childhood teachers’ STEM pedagogy and practices – a snapshot. Paper presented at the Australasian Science Education Research Association conference, Sydney, 27-30 June.
  • Huser, C., & MacDonald, A. (2017). Children’s demonstration of their competencies and agency in research participation. Paper presented at the European Network for Social and Emotional Competence conference, Stockholm-Helsinki, 7-9 June 2017.
  • MacDonald, A. (2017). Assessing young children’s mathematical strengths. Keynote presented at the Mathematical Association of Victoria conference, Melbourne, 7-8 December.
  • MacDonald, A., Fenton, A., & Davidson, C. (2017). Numeracy in action in family shopping experiences: A view from the trolley. Paper presented at the 40th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Melbourne, 2-6 July.
  • Dockett, S., Perry, B., Marcus, A., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Young children noticing their own mathematics in play. Paper presented at the 26th annual conference of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association, Dublin, 31 Aug–3 Sep.
  • MacDonald, A. (2016). Family Gatherings: Inspiring educators to engage with families in new ways to support children’s mathematics. Poster presented at the Early Childhood Australia conference, Darwin, 4-8 Oct.
  • MacDonald, A., & Carmichael, C. (2016). Early mathematical competencies and later outcomes: Insights from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. In B. White, M. Chinnappan, & S. Trenholm (Eds.), Opening up mathematics education research: Proceedings of the 39th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 413-420). Adelaide: MERGA.
  • Marcus, A., Perry, B., Dockett, S., & MacDonald, A. (2016). Children noticing their own and others’ mathematics in play. In B. White, M. Chinnappan, & S. Trenholm (Eds.), Opening up mathematics education research: Proceedings of the 39th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 437-444). Adelaide: MERGA.
  • Muller, M., MacDonald, A., Fenton, A., & McFarland, L. (2016). Strengths approach resource kits for supporting vulnerable children and families. Poster presented at the Early Childhood Australia conference, Darwin, 4-8 Oct.
  • MacDonald, A., & Carmichael, C. (2015). A snapshot of young children’s mathematical competencies: Results from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. In M. Marshman, V. Geiger, & A. Bennison (Eds.), Mathematics education in the margins. Proceedings of the 38th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 381-388). Sunshine Coast, QLD: MERGA.
  • Fenton, A., MacDonald, A., & Walsh, K. (2014). Capacity building of early career researchers through cross-institutional mentoring. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education conference, Brisbane, 30 Nov – 4 Dec.
  • Perry, B., & MacDonald, A. (2014). Educators’ expectations and aspirations around young children’s mathematical knowledge. Paper presented at the 24th annual conference of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association, Crete, 7-10 Sep.
  • Williams, K., MacDonald, A., & White, S. (2014). The role of early self-regulation in children’s math achievement. Poster presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education conference, Brisbane, 30 Nov – 4 Dec.
  • Williams, K., White, S., & MacDonald, A. (2014). When ECR meets ECR and self-regulation meets mathematicsPaper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education conference, Brisbane, 30 Nov – 4 Dec.
  • MacDonald, A., & Cheeseman, J. (2013). Visual stimuli that prompt young children to notice their mathematical thinking: Two researchers’ experiences. In V. Steinle, L. Ball, & C. Bardini (Eds.), Mathematics education: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Proceedings of the 36th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (vol. 2, pp. 779-782). Melbourne: MERGA.
  • MacDonald, A. (2011). Using children’s representations to explore changes in mathematical understanding. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education conference, Hobart, 27 Nov – 1 Dec.
  • MacDonald, A. (2011). Young children’s representations of their developing measurement understandings. In J. Clark, B. Kissane, J. Mousley, T. Spencer, & S. Thornton (Eds.), Mathematics: Traditions and [new] practices. Proceedings of the AAMT-MERGA conference, incorporating the 23rd biennial conference of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers and the 34th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (vol.1, pp. 482-490). Alice Springs, NT: AAMT & MERGA.
  • MacDonald, A. (2010). Young children’s measurement knowledge: Understandings about comparison at the commencement of schooling. In L. Sparrow, B. Kissane, & C. Hurst (Eds.), Shaping the future of mathematics education. Proceedings of the 33rd annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp.375-382). Fremantle: MERGA.

Reports:

  • Mackenzie, N., Danaia, L., & MacDonald, A. (2018). Working Above Standard Project (WASP). Report prepared for St. Mary’s Primary School, Myrtleford.
  • MacDonald, A., Danaia, L., Sikder, S., Highfield, K., & Huser, C. (2017). Little Scientists Evaluation: Interim Report. Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Others:

  • MacDonald, A., & Perry, B. (Eds.). (2017). Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 19(3). Special Issue: ‘Mathematics teacher education and professional development for early childhood education and care’.
  • MacDonald, A. (2017). Using children’s photography in early childhood mathematics education research. SAGE Research Methods Cases. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526401144
  • MacDonald, A. (2016). Children’s understanding of measurement. In D.L. Couchenour & K. Chrisman (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of contemporary early childhood education (vol.2, pp. 832-834). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • MacDonald, A. (2016). Mathematics in family day care… as easy as 1,2,3! JiGSAW: The Magazine of Family Day Care Australia, 77(Autumn), 23-24.
  • Educational Transitions and Change (ETC) Research Group. (2011). Transition to school: Position statement. Albury-Wodonga: Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education, Charles Sturt University.

Top of page