Webinar on models and the future of STEM teacher education

The word ‘models’ has been used with the Pandemic throughout the world, with over 249 million social media hits in the last three months, yet many of our STEM teachers and students are not readily equipped to reason with these models themselves or teach with them.

In an online webinar, Professor Samia Khan introduced “model-based teaching in science education”, its history from science and its connection to science education. The webinar was attended by researchers and students of Kasetsart University, Thailand, Hanoi National University of Education, Vietnam, and Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa, Indonesia.

Professor Khan also discussed recent applications of this approach in a course on preservice science teacher education with technology.

The mii-STEM international research team presented the mii-STEM “Model-based Integrated Inquiry STEM” research program which focuses on model-based teaching and inquiry for STEM teacher education.

A panel discussion addressed questions around challenges of implementing STEM, advantages and disadvantages of model-based teaching, and the limitations of models.

MII-STEM supports me on my future path of education

My name is Xuan and I am a third-year student at the Faculty of Physics, Hanoi National University of Education, in Vietnam. I would like to share my thoughts and experiences of the MII-STEM course, which is a collaboration between the University of Dundee in Scotland and three Universities in Southeast Asia countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

First of all, I would like to express my most sincere thanks to Dr. Nguyen Van Bien, who has given me and the other students an excellent opportunity to get closer to STEM education.

Before starting the MII-STEM course, I simply understood STEM as an integrated teaching model for Math, Science, Technology, and Engineering. I am aware that STEM education is a hot and new trend in Vietnam, and teachers need to educate themselves about this teaching method.

During the MII-STEM course, I learned a lot of things and really deepened my understanding of the content. As well as theoretical learning, we were involved in practical activities, creativity and product design. All the participants in the course made great efforts and were very enthusiastic.

The course faced some disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant that the majority of the classes were taught online.

Online MII-STEM class
Online MII-STEM class


Every lesson in the project broadened my understanding of STEM education and model-based teaching, which not only gave me valuable knowledge but also supports me on my path of education in the future.

Thanks to University of Dundee for giving us this opportunity to experience a memorable class.

The MII-STEM class

Nguyen Thi Thanh Xuan
Third-year student
Faculty of Physics
Hanoi National University of Education


Broadening my perspective of STEM education

As a future educator, I am keenly aware of the purpose of education, which is not just about giving students knowledge, but supporting the development of their personalities. To do that, teachers themselves need to be well-prepared and, importantly, stay up-to-date with global developments.

These days, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is on the rise globally. The benefits brought by STEM education compel me to gain a deeper understanding of this teaching method.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to learn about MII-STEM, an international research project which aims to improve the quality of teacher education in STEM across Southeast Asia. Without any hesitation, I signed up for the project because I believed that it would be amazing and valuable experience. And I was right.

The highlight of the course is that it is so up-to-date. Every piece of information and message conveyed in the course is selected carefully from trustworthy sources, and most of them are from new research. As a result, my understanding of STEM education has significantly broadened and diversified.

Before the course, I had some misunderstandings such as thinking that STEM education is all about making science products. However, after taking the course, I now have a broader and multidimensional perspective.

I was also introduced to many useful multidisciplinary topics and ways to apply these and develop them to different contexts. Furthermore, directly experiencing, designing and organising STEM lessons under the guidance of professors in the field supported me greatly to achieve a panoramic picture of STEM education.

Besides helping to expand my understanding of STEM, the course was also a great opportunity for me to meet and make friends with many talented students who share this similar interest.

In conclusion, I highly recommend MII-STEM to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of STEM education. Lastly, I want to say “thank you” to Prof.Bien, as well as the MII-STEM team, for providing me with this great experience that will support my path of becoming a good teacher in the future.

Dat Nguyen Duc
Third-year student
Physics faculty
Hanoi National University of Education

Exciting and unforgettable: reflections on MII-STEM implementation in Indonesia

These are the two words I would use to describe the implementation of the MII-STEM curriculum at Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa in Indonesia: exciting and unforgettable.

This comes not only from my observation of pre-service science teachers during implementation and their responses during and after implementation, but also reflects the support of others in the university. This includes the Rector, Vice Rector, Dean of Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Vice Dean in Academic Affairs, Head of Department of Science Education, Head of Department of Biology Education, Head of Integrated Science Laboratory, Head of Biology Laboratory, Head of Laboratory of Microteaching, and other lecturers and staffs.

All of these people contributed to the successful implementation of the curriculum. It would not have been possible without their help. I want to particularly acknowledge Assoc. Prof. Dr. H. Aceng Hasani, M.Pd. who was Dean of Faculty of Teacher Training and Education at the time, now Vice of Rector 4 of Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa, who has always supported me from the start of the project.

I implemented the MII-STEM curriculum with the support of my research assistant, Indah Juwita Sari, M.Sc., lecturer at the Department of Biology Education and also alumni of this department. I was also assisted by three pre-service biology teachers, students of Indah Juwita Sari at the university. They helped with the observation of pre-service science teachers’ activities during implementation. So there was a team of four observers collecting data.

We taught the curriculum, a total of 15 lesson plans, in December 2019 to a group of 25 pre-service science teachers. They seemed to enjoy the lessons which they approached with real enthusiasm and curiosity. This was confirmed when I interviewed them after implementation.

The pre-service teachers saw the MII-STEM curriculum as a new teaching strategy, a view that I share, as STEM education in Indonesia is still very new. We all enjoyed being part of an international project, knowing that curriculum was developed by researchers from four countries – Scotland, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

I would like to thank Professor Samia Khan, Ph.D. from the University of Dundee, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Bien from Hanoi National University of Education, Vietnam, and Assoc. Prof. Chatree Faikhamta, Ph.D. from Kasetsart University, Thailand, who gave me this opportunity to part of this international research collaboration “Science education in Southeast Asia: Teacher Training for Quality Education in STEM”. I would also like to thank all the research assistants in this project and to Karis McLaughlin who provides communications and project support.

Finally, let’s enjoy the video we made about MII-STEM implementation in Indonesia!

R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami
Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa, Indonesia

Modelling can be used to foster student learning in science

I have a long-standing interest in modelling, with prior experience teaching Chemistry (atomic structure) at a high school in Taiwan high school.

Around that time I became aware of a research project “exploring modelling integrated analogy-based teaching on students’ conceptual understanding and modelling competencies” which had a positive outcome on students’ performance. This research added to the ongoing conversation about model-based learning and science teaching, and sparked my interest in the topic.

I have also been engaged in STEM curriculum at different educational levels (see photos below), which has enriched my knowledge of STEM education.

Because of these empirical studies, I know that models and modelling can be used to foster student learning in science.

With integrated STEM education constantly evolving, more research is needed on how modelling can be developed to meaningfully link the STEM disciplines.

The MII-STEM project adds to this body of work by providing an in-depth look at modelling as practiced in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, to inform future STEM educators’ teaching.

Model-based teaching in Chemistry


A STEM implication in high school
Students’ STEM project

During the MII-STEM project process, our team revised lesson plans for the MII-STEM curriculum several times. Once a country completed the teaching intervention, a team meeting was organised to discuss and reflect on the issues that arose in the classroom, for example, teaching time, materials and students’ misconceptions of the content.

The MII-STEM lessons include both theory and practical activities. For example, they explore questions such as: What’s the meaning of STEM? What is model-based inquiry? How do future teachers implement model-based inquiry in teaching STEM?

The curriculum includes some classic science activities such as the Black Box, Fruit Battery and Right the Light LEDs. These practical tasks provided students with the opportunity to understand that a phenomenon may be modelled in more than one way. The activities demonstrated different elements of integrated STEM education.

I am enjoying the cooperation process of this project, which not only strengthens the academic communication between the UK and the SouthEast Asian countries, but also provides a valuable STEM curriculum design and practical reference for science educators. It is an important contribution to the development of model-based pedagogies for STEM education classrooms.

Song Xue, 薛松
Ph.D. Student, Science Education
The School of Education and Social Work
The University of Dundee, UK

My experience as a Ph.D. visiting scholar at the University of Dundee

I would like share my positive experience of studying at the School of Education and Social Work of the University of Dundee as a Ph.D. visiting scholar.

First of all, I would like to say “thank you very much” to Prof. Samia Khan (my co-supervisor) and Prof. Chatree (my supervisor) who have given me this great opportunity and enabled a scholarship for me to visit here.

During my four months in Scotland, I have learnt a lot, both academic knowledge and other experiences outside the classroom. I have been able to join many classroom sessions to observe and learn how the teacher manages the class and how the students learn. This included many interesting seminars that are very useful and meaningful for me because I can learn from the education system in Scotland and adapt it to the classroom in Thailand.

Moreover, I am very grateful that I met so many Ph.D. international friends here. We built a community for sharing knowledge and helping one another. These friendships will remain a wonderful memory for me.

Furthermore, I very feel lucky to have met Prof. Samia Khan here and I’m grateful for the warm welcome she gave me. She taught me so much, supported me with my thesis, and gave me the opportunity to do research for the MII-STEM project.

As part of the MII-STEM project, I assisted with research and data collection related to science education in Scotland.  I helped gather information about the Scottish science curriculum for comparison with the other three countries: Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. I also helped develop some of the MII-STEM lesson plans which focused on how to integrate modelling into STEM teaching. It’s been a very valuable experience for me.

I have learnt many things at this University. I have learnt a lot about the lovely culture of the Scottish people. I was able to improve my English language during my stay. I am appreciative of many things here: the weather, the fairy tale atmosphere, the kind people, and the good education system. These four months have been an unforgettable experience.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to be a Ph.D. visiting scholar at the University of Dundee.

Ms. Vipavadee Khwaengmek
Ph.D. visiting scholar from Kasetsart University, Thailand

MII-STEM project kicks off with international meeting in Dundee

On 3-7 June 2020, the lead researchers of the project convened at the University of Dundee, Scotland, for week-long meeting to kick start the MII-STEM project.

Professor Samia Khan from the University of Dundee’s School of Education and Social Work, was joined by R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami from Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa in Indonesia, Dr Chatree Faikhamta from Kasetsart University in Thailand, and Dr Nguyen Van Bien from Hanoi National University of Education in Vietnam.

The team presented country profiles of Scotland, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, summarising information about their country context, the secondary science curriculum, science teacher education, and the policy drivers for STEM and science education.

The researchers compared and contrasted the secondary school science curricula and the science teacher education programs in each country.

They also began sharing ideas and planning the MII-STEM curriculum – a teachers training course to focus on modelling in STEM.