NUI Dr Mary L Thornton Prize in Education awarded to Anna Scanlan
Congratulations to Anna Scanlan on her recent award of the NUI Dr Mary L Thornton Prize in Education 2019. Anna’s research in UCC is jointly supported and supervised by Professor Tommie McCarthy in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Dr Declan Kennedy in the School of Education.
The prize is funded at the bequest of the late Dr Mary L Thornton and is intended to encourage doctoral research related to education, especially for higher education in Irish institutions. Anna is a former Neuroscience graduate from UCC, whose interest in the science of learning grew throughout her graduate studies. Her move to research has enabled her to explore how learning can be improved for deeply theoretical disciplines such as science, in which topics are often based on molecules and processes invisible to the naked eye.
Anna felt the capacity of online digital media for creating, sharing and engaging with science content provided a strong platform for learning. She also noticed that visual, auditory and reading/writing modalities had translated well to online learning but that kinaesthetic - one of the most effective, tactile learning modalities - had not. Anna’s focus now is to enhance science learning by identifying, designing and investigating novel tactics for translating physical kinaesthetic learning to the non-physical realm of online, digital media. Recruitment of volunteers to evaluate the first set of online kinaesthetic approaches is expected to commence within the next month.
Anna’s research in UCC is jointly supported and supervised by Professor Tommie McCarthy in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Dr Declan Kennedy in the School of Education. Both Professor McCarthy and Dr Kennedy have long-held pedagogical interests in how science learning can be improved. Both have extensive academic records and publications in the fields of education and science. Anna would like to take this opportunity to express her gratitude towards Professor McCarthy and Dr Kennedy who have been invaluable in moving her research forward, for their patience, coaching sessions and sense of humour! She would also like to thank Niamh Dennehy of the School of Education and former winner of the NUI Dr Mary L Thornton Scholarship, for her advice and insight into education research.