Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Lena Danaia

Dr Lena Danaia

BEd (Hons), PhD

Lena specialises in science and technology curriculum and is experienced in mixed methods research with a strong focus on surveys. She has been recognised nationally for her outstanding contributions to learning and teaching where she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Teaching Excellence Award. She has also received an ALTC citation for teaching excellence. Lena previously worked as a teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Lena is experienced in working on large-scale research projects that involve cross-institution collaborations. Lena was a Chief Investigator and the nominated Post-Doctoral Fellow on the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Space to Grow that investigated the impact of conducting real science projects in schools on students' knowledge outcomes and their experiences in school science and on their teachers' professional learning and the pedagogies they employ in science. In 2016, Lena was contracted by the Northern Territory Department of Education to conduct an evaluation of distance education pedagogy in three Northern Territory Government distance education centres.

Currently, Lena is the chief investigator on a two-year project at Kinross Wolaroi School funded by the Association of Independent Schools focused on collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science. Lena is also collaborating with colleagues from CSU and Swinburne Universities in the evaluation of the federally funded program Little Scientists. Lena currently supervisors six PhD students within the Faculty of Arts and Education.

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Research Interests

  • Science and Technology Education in the primary and secondary school and in pre-service teacher education. In particular: student engagement in science; teachers' confidence and competence in teaching investigative science; Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Astronomy education.

Research Grants

  • 2017-2018: Danaia, L. Collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science: Opportunities and impacts. Kinross Wolaroi School. Project Manager: Cameron, S. School Investigators: Whiteley, R. & Bylsma, E. [Association of Independent Schools funded Project $141,000]
  • 2017-2018: Highfield, K., MacDonald, A., Danaia, L. & Sikder, S. Evaluation of the Little Scientists Program: Research in practice [$82,154]
  • 2017: MacKenzie, N., Danaia, L., MacDonald, A., Edwards-Groves, C., Working Above Standard Project (WASP): ASt Mary's School, Myrtleford and CSU Research Collaboration [$37,312]
  • 2016: Danaia, L. Evaluation of distance education pedagogy in three Northern Territory Government distance education centres [$19,891]
  • 2016: Danaia, L. Collaborative approaches to programming and teaching primary school science: Opportunities and impacts Pilot Project [$11,734]
  • 2012-2013: McKinnon, D., Danaia, L. Indigenous Sky Stories [$110,000]
  • 2009-2012:Parker, Q., McKinnon, D.H., Hedberg.,J., Danaia, L., DeCourcy, J. Australian Research Council Linkage Grant Linkage Grant Space to Grow: The Faulkes Telescope and improving science engagement in schools. LP0989264 [ARC funded amount $346,092]
  • 2008-2009: McKinnon, D., Danaia, L. Pulse @ Parkes Evaluation [$15,000]
  • 2008: Danaia, L. Faculty Seed Grant Science in Regional Schools [$2969]

Project Collaborations and Consultancies

  • 2016 onwards: Fitzgerald, M., McKinnon, D.H. & Danaia, L. Our Solar Siblings http://www.oursolarsiblings.com/ Pilot project underway.
  • 2015: Sky Stories - HEPP funded through Future Moves. Role: Educational Consultant
  • 2007: Wildflowers in the Sky Australian School Innovation in Science, Technology and Mathematics (ASISTM) funded project [$75,000] Role: Educational Consultant
  • 2004-2006: The Eye Observatory Remote Telescope Project: Practical Astronomy for Years 7, 8 and 9. Department of Education, Science and Training [$216,000] Role: Project Manager

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Lena currently supervises six PhD students within the Faculty of Arts and Education. Lena predominately teaches Science and Technology and Mathematics Curriculum Subjects within the Early Childhood and Primary and K-12 Bachelor of Education degrees and within the Bachelor and Master of Teaching Courses. Lena has also taught Quantitative Research Methods. In 2013, Lena was a Transition Coordinator within the School of Teacher Education.

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Lena has delivered a number of teacher professional learning sessions and school-based science workshops. She has also facilitated a number of primary school science days. Lena has presented at public events such as the Annual Just Add Science Fair held at the Australian Fossil & Mineral Museum.

Lena delivers STEM-based workshops throughout the year to primary and secondary students as part of the Future Moves program at Charles Sturt University. Lena has also facilitated STEM workshops for the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

Lena has served on a number of internal and external advisory panels for candidates presenting their PhD and Masters Research Proposals. Lena has also served as a member on Initial Teacher Education Accreditation Panels for BOSTES. Lena serves on the Board of Reviewers for the Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education. She is also member of the Australasian Science Education Research Association.

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Journal Articles (Refereed)

  • Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H. & Fitzgerald, M.T. (May 2017- Accepted). Ideal pictures and actual perspectives of junior secondary school science: Comparisons drawn from Australian students in an astronomy education programme. Research in Science & Technological Education.
  • Fitzgerald, M.T., Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H. (February 2017- Accepted). Barriers inhibiting inquiry-based science teaching and potential solutions: Perceptions of positively inclined early adopters. Research in Science Education. Manuscript ID: RISE-D-16-00207R2
  • McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., & Deehan, J. (2017). The Design of Pre-service Elementary Teacher Education Science Subjects: The Emergence of an Interactive Educational Design Model. Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education, 4(1), 1-24. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.19030/jaese.v4i1.9972.
  • Danaia, L., & Deehan, J. (2016). A model of the creation of cooperative e-Learning spaces: Teaching early childhood and primary pre-service teachers how to teach science. Fusion, (8) Link.
  • Ruddell, N., Danaia, L. & McKinnon, D.H. (2016). Indigenous Sky Stories one case-study: Reframing how we introduce primary school students to astronomy. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 45(2), 170-180. Doi 10.1017/jie.2016.21
  • Fitzgerald, M., McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., Deehan, J. (2015). A large-scale inquiry-based astronomy intervention project: Impact on students' content knowledge, performance and views of their high school science classroom. Research in Science Education. Advance online publication.doi: 10.1007/s11165-015-9486-6
  • Fitzgerald, M.T., McKinnon, D.H. & Danaia, L. (2015). Inquiry-based educational design for large-scale high school astronomy projects using real telescopes. Journal of Science Education and Technology. DOI 10.1007/s10956-015-9560-x.
  • Fitzgerald, M.T., Inwood, L., McKinnon, D.H., Dias, W. S., Sacchi, M., Scott, B., Zolinski, M., Danaia, L., & Edwards, R. (2015). Photometric and proper motion study of neglected open cluster NGC 2215. The Astronomical Journal.
  • Fitzgerald, M.T., Hollow, R., Rebull, L.M., Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D.H., (2014). A review of high school level astronomy student research projects over the last two decades. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA), 31(e037), 23 pages. doi:10.1017/pasa.2014.30.
  • Danaia, L., Fitzgerald, M., & McKinnon, D.H. (2013). Students' perceptions of high school science: What has changed over the last decade? Research in Science Education, 43(4), 1501-1515. doi:10.1007/s11165-012-9318-x
  • Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H., Parker, Q.A., Fitzgerald, M.F., & Stenning, P. (2013). Space to Grow: LCOGT.net and improving science engagement in schools. Astronomy Education Review,11(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/AER2012007.
  • Fitzgerald, M. T., Criss, J., Lukaszewicz, T., Frew, D. J., Catelan, M., Woodward, S., Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D. H. (2012). RR Lyrae Stars in the Globular Cluster NGC 6101. Publications of Astronomical Society of Australia, 29(1), 72-77.
  • Fitzgerald, M.T., McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., & Woodward, S. (2011). Using smartphone camera technology to explore stellar parallax: Method, results, reactions, Astronomy Education Review, 10(1).
  • Frew, D. J., Stanger, J., Fitzgerald, M., Parker, Q., Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H., Guerrero, M., Hedberg, J., Hollow, R., Bor, Y., Colman, I., Graham-White, C., Li, Q., Mai, J., Papadakis, K., Picone-Murray, J., Vo Hoang, M., & Yean, V. (2011). K 1-6: An Asymmetric planetary nebula with a binary central star. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 28(1), 83–94.
  • Hobbs, G., Hollow, R., Champion, D., Khoo, J., Yardley, D., Carr, M., Keith, M., Jenet, F., Amy, S., Burgay, M., Burke-Spolaor S., Chapman, J., Danaia, L., Homewood B., Kovacevic A,. Mao, M., McKinnon, D.H., Mulcahy M., Oslowski, S. and. van Straten W. (2009). The PULSE@Parkes project: A new observing technique for long-term pulsar monitoring. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 26(4), 468–475.
  • Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D.H. (2007). Common alternative astronomical conceptions encountered in junior secondary science classes: Why is this so? Astronomy Education Review, 2(6), 32-53.
  • Danaia, L.,& McKinnon, D. H. (2006). Switch on to science.Education Quarterly Australia: The ICT Agenda, Winter Edition, 38-39
  • McKinnon, D. H., & Danaia, L. (2005). PD and ICTs: We have a ways to go. Australian Educational Computing Journal of the Australian Council for Computers in Education, 20(1), 24-29.
  • McKinnon, D.H., Geissinger, H. & Danaia, L. (2002). Helping them understand: Astronomy for Grades 5 and 6. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, 14, 263-275.

Government Report

  • Danaia, L. (2016). Audit of distance education pedagogy: Challenges, strengths and opportunities for growth. A report prepared for the Northern Territory Government Department of Education.

Chapters in Books

  • McKinnon, D.H., & Danaia, L. (2008). Remote Telescopes in Education: Report of an Australian Study. In Jay Pasachoff, Rosa Maria Ros & Naomi Pasachoff (Eds.), Innovation in Teaching/Learning Astronomy. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.
  • Danaia, L. (2004). Miss, this is for you. In Harrison, L.; Allan, R.; Phillip, J. & Reid, J. (Ed.) Into the Whirly Wind: Stories of 'first year out' teaching. Bathurst, NSW:Charles Sturt University.

Conference Papers and Presentations

  • Danaia, L. (2017). The ideal and actual picture of the astronomy classroom. Robotic telescopes, student research and education conference, San Diego CA, 18th-22nd June 2017.
  • Fitzgerald, M., Danaia, L., &McKinnon, D.H., Deehan, J. (2016). Astronomical Research and Robotic Telescopes in Science Education. The 47th Annual Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, The University of Canberra, QT Hotel Canberra, 27th June- 1st July 2016.
  • Fitzgerald, M., Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H., Deehan, J. (2015). Our Solar Siblings. A link between the high school classroom and astronomical inquiry. The 46th Annual Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, the University of Western Australia, Perth, 1st-3rd July 2015.
  • Danaia, L. (2011). Students' perceptions of secondary school science and their knowledge outcomes: Preliminary results from the Space to Grow Project. Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, Adelaide, SA, 29 June- 2 July. (Refereed)
  • Fitzgerald, M., Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H., & Parker, Q. (2011). Space to Grow Astronomy Education Intervention and Research Project Utilising the Faulkes Telescopes: Project Directions and Results. Poster presented at the Astronomical Society of Australia Annual Conference, Adelaide 2-5 July. (Non-refereed)
  • Danaia, L., McKinnon, D.H., Parker, Q., Frew, D., & Fitzgerald, M.  (2010). Space to Grow: The Faulkes Telescopes and improving science engagement in schools. Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, Shoal Bay, NSW, 30 June- 3 July. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., & Cross, M. (2010). Pre-service teachers' personal and general science teaching efficacy: A longitudinal case study. Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, Shoal Bay, NSW, 30 June- 3 July. (Refereed)
  • Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D.H.  (2009). Changes in students' perceptions of junior secondary science: An intervention using a remote-controlled telescope. Australian Science Educators Research Association, Geelong, VIC, 1st-4th July. (Refereed)
  • Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D.H. (2008). Changes in the experiences, knowledge and perceptions of students in junior secondary science: Outcomes of an investigative astronomy program. Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, Brisbane, QLD, 2nd -5th July. (Refereed)
  • Hollow, R., Hobbs, G., Champion, D. J., Amy, S., Khoo, J., Chapman, J., Mulcahy, M., Alem, L., Krumm-Heller, A., McKinnon, D., Danaia, L., Jenet, F., Carr, M. (2008). PULSE@Parkes: Pulsar Observing for High School Students. In: Michael G. Gibbs, Jonathan Barnes, James G. Manning, & Bruce Partridge (Eds.), Preparing for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy: A Hands-On Symposium , ASP Conference Series, 400, 190-196, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., & Danaia, L. (2008). Teaching primary pre-service teachers to teach science in PBL learning environments. Australasian Science Education Research Association Conference, Brisbane, QLD, 2nd -5th July. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., & Danaia, L. (2008). A pedagogical approach in compulsory science curriculum subjects for pre-service primary teachers that works. National Australian Teacher Education Association Conference. Sunshine Coast, QLD, 8th-11th July. (Refereed)
  • Danaia, L. (2007). Perceptions, knowledge outcomes and experiences of students in junior secondary science: Impact(s) of using a remote telescope and associated curriculum materials. Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Fremantle, WA, 25th -29th November. (Refereed)
  • Hollow, R., McKinnon, D.H, Danaia, L., & Townsend, A. (2007). Wildflowers in the sky: Professional development delivery in isolated schools in Western Australia. World Conference on Science and Technology Education. Perth, WA, 8th-13th July. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., & Danaia, L. (2007). An Australian study of the impact of using remote telescopes in the teaching of astronomy. World Conference on Science and Technology Education. Perth, WA, 8th-13th July. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., & Parkes, V. (2007). Teaching primary teacher education students how to teach science. World Conference on Science and Technology Education. Perth, WA, 8th-13th July. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D.H., Danaia, L., & Parkes, V. (2007). Innovative primary science classroom practice through pre-service teacher immersion in a problem-based, collaborative learning experience: Approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. National Australian Teacher Education Association Conference. University of Wollongong, NSW, 3rd-6th July. (Refereed)
  • Danaia, L. & McKinnon, D. H. (2006). The use of remote access telescopes in science education: Impacts and opportunities. In Curriculum Corporation, A vision splendid. ICT: research, pedagogy, implementation for schools. Adelaide: Curriculum Corporation. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D. H., & Danaia, L. (2006). Remote Telescopes in Education: Report of an Australian Study.Refereed Paper Presentation at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Prague, 13th-24th August. (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D. H., Danaia, L., & Parkes, V. (2006). Innovative primary science classroom practice through pre-service teacher immersion in a problem-based, collaborative learning experience: Approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. Poster presentation at the Maximising Opportunity and Managing Risk Conferences, 21st November 2006 Wagga Wagga, NSW and 23rd November 2006 Bathurst, NSW.
  • McKinnon, D. H., & Danaia, L. (2005). PBL, collaboration, portfolio and criterion referenced assessment in a science and technology curriculum subject for beginning teachers. In: Dirk HR Spennemann & Leslie Burr (eds), Good Practice in Practice. Proceedings of the Student Experience Conference 5-7th September '05. (pp. 4–23).Wagga Wagga, NSW: Charles Sturt University.  (Refereed)
  • McKinnon, D. H., & Danaia, L. (2005). PBL, Collaboration, Portfolio and Criterion Referenced Assessment in a Science and Technology Curriculum subject for beginning teachers. Presented at the CSU Learning & Teaching Conference: Bright ideas and Evolving Evidence, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst,28 and 29 September 2005.

Dissertations

  • Danaia, L. (2008). Students' experiences, perceptions and performance in junior secondary science: An intervention study involving astronomy and a remote telescope. PhD Thesis. Charles Sturt University: Bathurst.
  • Danaia, L. J. (2001). An Investigation of primary age students' alternative conceptions of astronomical phenomena: An intervention study. BEd (Hons) thesis, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst.

 

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