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School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies


Primary Department
School of STEM Education, Innovation & Global Studies
Academic Staff
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Orla Kelly is an Associate Professor in Social, Environmental and Scientific Education in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University, which she joined in 2016. She has worked in initial teacher education for over 15 years in both Ireland and the UK. She is currently subject leader for science education on the Primary BEd and PGCE programmes, with responsibility for the coordination of a wide range of modules. She also leads and teaches across a number of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level in a diverse range of areas including Science Education, Sustainability, Outdoor Learning and Local Studies.

She is a highly experienced researcher and has successfully led and collaborated on a number of national and international projects. She has a growing publication record in the area of outdoor learning, which is her main focus for research. She has a national reputation as a leader in outdoor learning and regularly supports the work of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in this area for both Early Years and Primary.

Her background is in science education, and she has recently completed, with colleagues, a STEM Literature Review commissioned by the NCCA in Ireland that will guide primary curriculum specifications development. She has a strong passion for science education, which is reflected in her co-authored book Creative Teaching in Primary Science (2014) and the role science plays in education for sustainable development.  She has worked with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to develop two publications for primary schools; Climate SOS and Guzzler’s Party, to support young learners to engage with climate issues and the role energy plays in this

She is involved in a number of internal and external committees including the DCU Sustainability Council, the Irish Aid funded DICE (Development and Intercultural Education) Project and the Royal Society of Chemistry Education Division Ireland Region Committee as Secretary. She is also a member of the NCCA Development Group for Social and Environmental Education (2022-2025).