Amy MacDonald

Associate Heads of School

Associate Professor Amy MacDonald

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

Associate Head of School (Research and External Engagement) & Associate Professor of Early Childhood Mathematics Education
Albury / Wodonga
Building 763, Room 143

Amy is an Associate Professor 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.

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. Other current projects include the evaluation of the Little Scientists early STEM program; evaluation of the Let’s Count online numeracy program; and the development of a conceptual framework for effective STEM education from early childhood through to senior secondary education.

Awards/Honours

  • 2018: ARC DECRA
  • 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

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.

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

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 – 2018: 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

  • 2018 – current: Vice President (Communication), Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia
  • 2018 – current: Editor, Mathematics Education Research Journal
  • 2018 – current: Expert Advisor, Australian Council for Education Research Mathematics Anxiety and Engagement Strategy
  • 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: Expert Advisor, Australian Government Department of Education and Training Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA)
  • 2016: Contributor, Family Day Care Australia ‘JiGSAW’ magazine
  • 2014 – 2015: Contributor, Centre Support monthly newsletter
  • 2012 – 2018: 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)