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Curtin University
Staff Profile

Dr Karen Murcia

Dr Karen Murcia Dr Karen Murcia
Position Senior Lecturer
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
School School of Education
Campus Bentley Campus

Brief Summary

Dr Murcia is a senior member of the Curtin University teacher education team with a focus on producing high-impact educational research and engagement with interactive and innovative teaching. Her teaching interests and research work span the intersection between learning theory, learning design, and professional development. She is a specalist in STEM education. Specifically, her research has provided a unique and valuable depth of understanding about teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science and the interaction of science with society. Her research in pedagogical interactivity and technology enhanced learning environments investigated the impact of ICT integration and gamification on digitally aware students motivation and interest in learning. In particular, the quality of her research in the field of numeracy across the curriculum and the influence of learning and teaching on an individual’s subject specific self –efficacy was recognised by the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research (WAIER) through her 2006 Early Career Researcher Award.

Dr Murcia has conducted stakeholder consultations, needs analysis, program design and evaluation research. She is experienced in the development and facilitation of a range of adult education and professional development programs. These have included evaluation methods, ethics, values based leadership and action planning. She has worked in partnerships with government, industry and community groups both nationally and internationally.

In addition, Dr Murcia is an active volunteer in the WA community through her roles as a Board Member for Child Australia and Scitech. She is also on the advisory committee for the Low Carbon Schools Program.

Memberships, Awards and Training



Early Career Award (2006): Western Australian Institute of Educational Research 

Professional Associations






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Unit Co-ordinator

Research Student Supervision





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Research Interests

STEM Education, Scientific Literacy, Numeracy Across the Curriculum, Technology Enhanced Learning Environments. 

Research Grants 


Selected Publications


Murcia, K. (2008). Scientific literacy for sustainability: Educating citizens for the 21st century. VDM Verlag. Germany.

Book Chapter

Tytler, R., Murcia, K., Hsiung, C, Ramseger, J. (2016). Reasoning through representation. In Hackling, M. (Ed) Quality teaching in primary science education: Cross -cultural perspectives. Springer publications. 

Murcia, K. (2013). Tools for supporting the teaching and learning of science. In Learning and Teaching Primary Science. Cambridge University Press

Murcia, K. (2012). Integrating digital technologies into the contemporary science classroom. In Tan, D., Kim, M. & Hwang, S.W., (Eds) Moving Forward: Issues and challenges in science education research. Springer publications. 

Lee, C. B., & Murcia, K. (2012). Problem solving for conceptual change. Learning, Problem Solving, and Mind Tools: Essays in Honor of David H. Jonassen. In Spector, M., Lockee, B., Smaldino, S., & Herring, M. (Eds.). Routledge.

Refereed Journals

Murcia, K., (2014), Interactive and multimodal pedagogy: A case study of how teachers and students use interactive whiteboard technology in primary science. Australian Journal of Education, 58(1), 74-88

Haigh, Y., Murcia, K., Norris, L., (2014), Citizenship, civic education and politics: The education policy context for young Australian citizens. Journal of Education Policy, 29(5), 598-616

Lowe, G., Prout, P., Murcia, K., (2013), I See, I Think I Wonder: An Evaluation of Journaling as a Critical Reflective Tool for Aiding Teachers in Challenging or Confronting Contexts. The Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(6), 1-16 

Hackling, M., Murcia, K., Ibrahim-Didi, K., (2013), Teacher orchestration of multimodal resources to support the construction of an explanation in a Year 4 Astronomy topic.  Teaching Science, 59(1), 7-15

Brown, J., Murcia, K., Hackling, M., (2013), Slowmation: A multimodal strategy for engaging children with primary science. Teaching Science, 59(4), 14-20

Murcia, K. (2013). Secondary school students’ attitudes to nanotechnology. Teaching Science, 59(3), 15-21

Haigh, Y., Murcia, K., Norris, L. (2013).  Getting outside your head: community service, citizenship education and youth participation. International Journal of Educational Development

Masek, M., Murcia, K. Morrison, J. (2012).  Getting serious with iPads: The intersection of game design with teaching principles.  Australian Educational Computing Journal, 27(2),  34-38

Hackling, M., Smith, P., Murcia, K., (2011).  Enhancing classroom discourse in primary science: The puppets project. Teaching Science, 57(2), 18-25,

Murcia, K., Haigh, Y., Norris, L. (2010). Learning From Community Service: Australia Tanzania Young Ambassadors Talk About Sustainability. Issues in Educational Research. V20(3), 293-313

Murcia, K. & Sheffield, R. (2010). Talking about science in interactive whiteboard classrooms. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. V26 (4).

Murcia, K. (2010). Multi-modal representations in primary science: What’s offered by interactive whiteboard technology? Teaching Science. V56 (1), 23-29

Hackling, M., Smith, P. & Murcia, K. (2010). Talking science: developing a discourse of inquiry. Teaching Science, 56(1), 17-22

Murcia, K. (2010). Nanotechnology: Science Fiction or Reality. Journal of the Science Teachers’ Association of Western Australia. V46(1), 5-7

Murcia, K. (2009). Science in the News: An evaluation of students’ scientific literacy. Teaching Science. V55(3), 40-46.

Murcia, K. & S. McKenzie (2009). Finding the way: Signposts in teachers’ development of effective interactive whiteboard pedagogies. Australian Educational Computing. V24(1), 23-29.

Murcia, K. (2009). Re-thinking the development of scientific literacy through a rope metaphor. Research in Science Education. V39(2), 215-229.

Murcia, K. (2008).  Teaching for scientific literacy with an interactive whiteboard. Teaching Science. V54(4), 17-21.

Murcia, K. (2008). Teaching science creatively: Engaging primary teacher education students with interactive whiteboard technology. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. V3(3), 45-52.

Murcia, K. (2007). Science for the 21st century: Teaching for scientific literacy in the primary classroom. Teaching Science. V53(2), 16-19.

Murcia, K. (2005). Science in the newspaper: a strategy for developing scientific literacy. Teaching Science. V51(1), 40-42.

Murcia, K. (2005). Using action research principles for professional development: the Waikiki school experience. ALAR Journal. V10(1), 3-17

Schibeci, R. & Murcia, K. (2000).  Science is about facts, or is it? Journal of College Science Teaching. V29(3), 205-208.

Murcia, K. & Schibeci, R. (1999).  Primary student teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science.  International Journal of Science Education. V21(11), 1123-1140.

Conference Papers Published in Proceedings

Hackling, M., Murcia, K., Ibrahim-Didi, K., Hill, S., (2014), Methods for multimodal analysis and representation of teaching-learning interactions in primary science lessons captured on video. Proceedings of the ESERA 2013 Conference: Science Education Research For Evidence-based Teaching and Coherence in Learning, 1-8, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Murcia, K., Marsek, M., Morrison, J., Newhouse, P. Hackling, M. (2012). Learning in transformational computer games: Exploring design principles for a nanotechnology game. AARE-APERA Conference. Sydney. Australia (Dec 2-6).

Murcia, K. (2010). ICT across the curriculum: Developing pre-service teachers’ integration literacy. Proceedings of the TARC International Conference on Learning and Teaching. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Murcia, K. (2009). Multi-modal representations of science: What affordances are offered by interactive whiteboard technology? Proceedings of the International Science Education Conference. 24th to 26th November. Singapore

Sheffield, R. & Murcia, K. (2009). Interactive whiteboard technology in primary science: What are teachers’ beliefs and concerns about discourse in their classrooms? Proceedings of the International Science Education Conference. 24th to 26th November. Singapore

Murcia, K. (2009) Interactive Whiteboard Pedagogies in the Primary Science Classroom. Paper presented at RAISe Conference (CEO). 10 & 11 August. Perth, Western Australia.

Murcia, K. & S. McKenzie ( October, 2008). Finding the way: Signposts in teachers’ development of effective interactive whiteboard pedagogies. The Australian Computers in Education Conference. Canberra. At

Murcia, K. (2006) An evidenced based framework for developing scientific literacy. The Early Career Award address given at the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research 21st Annual Research Forum.  Perth. 5th August. At

Technical Reports

Hackling, M, Murcia, K., West, J. (2013). Optimisation of STEM education initiatives in WA. Report to the WA Department of Commerce.

Murcia, K. (2010). Teachers’ Implementation of AccessNano: A Case Study in Lower Secondary Science Classrooms. Report to the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Murcia, K. (2009). Integrating ICT with Primary Science and Mathematics. Literature review for the South Australian Department of Education.

Murcia, K. & McKenzie, S. (2008). Whiteboard Technology: engaging children with literacy and numeracy rich contexts. Report to DEEWR Australia. At,

Hogan, J., Murcia, K. and Van Wyke, J. (2004) Western Australian Strategic Primary School Numeracy Research Project. Report to the Department of Education, Science and Training. Australia. At,

Murcia, K, Powell, B. and Van Wyke, J. (2004) Innovative Numeracy Research Project. Report to the Department of Education, Science and Training. Australia. At, 

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