International Research Collaborations: A Beneficial Prospect

Dr. Samia Khan was invited to deliver the keynote address at a seminar on International Research Collaborations. She described different scales of research collaborations and their relationship to policy as well as the story of how mii-STEM was born. As part of the talk, Dr. Khan invited mii-STEM Country Leads to share their thoughts on the mii-STEM international research collaboration in its 5th year. Here are some short snippets of the benefits from two of our country leads:

Hello everyone, my name is Nguyen Van Bien, and I am from Hanoi National University of Education in Vietnam. Hanoi National University of Education is the oldest university in Vietnam for teacher education, founded in 1945. We are the main contributor in the country for teaching every subject and all school levels, from childhood to K-12. Each year, we have an average of new 7,000 students. I joined MII-STEM as a country leader, and it is an honor to be a part of this group. The benefits of being part of MII-STEM include opportunities for collaboration and networking, sharing best practices and resources, and gaining access to training and professional development opportunities. I am very excited to be working on upgrading our next MII-STEM course 2.0. We hope that we can develop not only an offline course about STEM teacher training but also a blended course about MII-STEM.

My name is R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami. I have been working as Assistant Professor of Science Education at Universitas Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa in Indonesia since 2015. This university is the only public university in my province, Banten province under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia. Every year the university graduates around 300 science teachers or around 400 STEM teachers. My responsibility at my University is teaching and conducting research in science education or STEM education. In addition, I am the Editor-in-Chief of a WoS indexed journal in science education at my University. My role in MII-STEM is as the country leader for the Indonesian team. The benefits of the MII-STEM group for my country are very important because since the MII-STEM project started in 2018 in Scotland, STEM education in Indonesia has become more popular with the many international conferences, workshops, research collaborations that have been conducted. Another benefit for myself is that we have published article in a reputable Journal and also presented our MII-STEM results in several conferences around the world like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

During the two day long event, seven lessons learned about international research collaborations were also described as were features of our mii-STEM group methodology, including: “The Dundee Method”, a gallery of engagement with country profiles and various contexts, design-based research and the role of “curriculum design-sprints” in curriculum development, distributive meeting structure, and attention to graduate mentorship.

“I am a visiting international research student at the University of British Columbia”

First of all, I am incredibly honored and happy to visit at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as a visiting international research student for 4 months, and I have to thank Prof. Chatree Faikhamta (advisor) and Prof. Samia Khan (co-advisor) for giving me this remarkable opportunity.

Currently, I am a second-year Ph.D. student at Kasetsart University. My main goal this year is to develop research instruments and a PD program. Fortunately, I had the good fortune to attend a MII-STEM project when I was a first-year student invited by my advisor. Due to attending this project, I met with Prof. Samia who is one of my favorite key people looking at models and modeling and I am so honored to have Prof. Samia to be my co-advisor. Of course, my research interest is about models and modeling, in particular modeling knowledge and teaching with models. Yet, as a member of the mii-STEM team, I also contribute to the MII-STEM project with others. For example, during my visit, co-authoring and developing MII-STEM manuscripts is also one of my responsibilities. Therefore, the goals for my research visit are to develop research instruments, a PD program, and MII-STEM manuscripts. Prof. Samia and I have regular meetings every Tuesday.

On the other hand, I am writing this blog when I arrived in Vancouver almost 2 months ago. During this time, I have learned a lot and would like to share my experiences. Firstly, I gained a wonderful opportunity to attend the NARST conference 2022. To be honest, I am a lucky person because the NARST conference was organized and located in Vancouver this year and it is within the range of my visit. Basically, NARST is one of the foremost international science education conferences and its flagship journal,  JRST is not only one of the top journals in science education but also my favorite journal I read in my entire Ph.D. When I attended this event, I met many key people working on models and modeling such as Prof. Moritz Krell, Prof. Christina Schwarz, and Prof. Samia Khan (It was like a dream come true). Moreover, I learned most attendees were good listeners and participated by asking questions, sharing ideas, or making positive arguments. I think connection was also a key. There were many sessions to create new relationships between researchers and graduate students,  such as NARST’s mentors and mentees event, and the graduate students lunch, and so forth. Secondly, I would like to thank Dr. Oksana Bartosh and my co-advisor for allowing me to observe an elementary preservice teacher class. I was super impressed! As I observed, they were active, good listeners, and asked questions about whatever they would like to know more. Finally, 2 months ago, I gained experience myself learning outside UBC. For example, I typically ran around Seawall and Stanley park for relaxing on the weekend and hung out with my friends Downtown sometimes. I hope that my experience would be beneficial to the reader and I look forward to sharing my experience with 2 months left for my visit with Dr. Khan in the next blog. Here are my photos.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Anupong Praisri

Second year PhD student from Kasetsart University, Thailand

Plenary Speaker at the 2nd Virtual ASEAN Multidisciplinary Research Conference 2021 in Philippines

One of the countries leads, Asst. Prof. R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami was invited as a plenary speaker to talk about MII-STEM at the 2nd Virtual ASEAN Multidisciplinary Research Conference 2021 on November 6, 2021.

Asst. Prof. R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami was invited as a plenary speaker to talk about MII-STEM at the 2nd Virtual ASEAN Multidisciplinary Research Conference 2021 on November 6, 2021. This conference was organized by the Philippine Association of Researchers, Educators and Statistical Software Users (PARESSU), Inc., in cooperation with Pangasinan State University in the Philippines. Asst. Prof. R. Ahmad Zaky El Islami was invited to talk about the efforts to sustain research productivity in Indonesia and presented MII-STEM as an International Research Collaboration: An Effort for Sustaining Research Productivity in Indonesia in the Field of STEM Education. He said that the MII-STEM project was started in 2019 by developing a proposal via email among ASEAN researchers. It was submitted by PI, Prof. Samia Khan, Ph.D. for internal grant funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) in  the UK. The funded research began in 2019. He also said that after the announcement of successful funding, researchers conducted online international meetings using Zoom. Three to four meetings were carried out in order to prepare for an in-person symposium at the University of Dundee, Scotland, UK. In June 2019, all researchers met at the University of Dundee to present the science education or STEM education curriculum in each country. Each country contributed to a country profile using a template created by the project manager. The country profile was laminated on a poster and used for discussion and talking points throughout the week-long visit. Additionally, they collaboratively made a draft of a proposed framework for MII-STEM.

Furthermore, Asst. Prof. Zaky El Islami discussed design sprint and design research to refine the MII-STEM curriculum. He explained three phases of the research, including a pilot study of the impacts of the mii-STEM curriculum on teacher education in Indonesia, followed by an implementation in Thailand, and an implementation in Vietnam. The outputs of this research collaboration are journal publications and papers presented at international conferences. A paper is accepted by Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, an international journal in Q2 available on in 2020 and Q1 based on the CiteScore available on in 2021.

Many audiences were very interested in learning more about MII-STEM. Although it is challenging to respond to all questions from participants because of the limited time, the moderator said that the audience can send an email to ask more questions. At least five questions were answered in the presentation including: What is the MII-STEM? Is it the same as the MII-STEM approach in every country that participated in this project? Are you intending to introduce it to the Philippines? What is the requirement to be involved? Is it possible to implement it in the Philippines? Can MII-STEM be implemented in secondary school? What is the effectiveness of the MII-STEM on students learning?

El Islami answered that MII-STEM is a unique emphasis on Models and Modeling, Inquiry, and Integrated STEM Education. The MII-STEM curriculum was developed by all researchers together, so the MII-STEM was taught similarly in each country though in one country it was taught amongst working teachers in the first iteration. Additionally, El Islami said that the MII-STEM curriculum aims to be made available to additional ASEAN countries. Maybe in the future, this team will include a Philippines scholar to implement this MII-STEM curriculum. Furthermore, El Islami said that the MII-STEM curriculum that is being developed now for Indonesia is for undergraduate students to foster skills to develop models; however, for the MII-STEM 2.0 in the next year, the project will be implemented at the school level by inviting working science teachers from Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam to attend a mii-STEM PD program using an online platform. MII-STEM 2.0 will be developed by using a free online platform and for be intended for the benefit of working science teachers. 

“Everyone is a Designer”: A Curriculum Design Sprint for a MII-STEM 2.0 Curriculum

My name is Ngan Le, and I am a PhD Student at the Hanoi National University of Education, in Hanoi, Vietnam and a member of MII-STEM. The MII-STEM group recently held a Design Sprint over two mornings to build a mii-STEM 2.0 curriculum based on all the research trials in actual science teacher education classrooms of all three countries: Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. A design sprint is a way of working in which every member of the group is considered a designer. A “curriculum design sprint” is MII-STEM’s term for a framework for answering critical questions about curriculum through design, prototyping, and later, testing ideas about the curriculum with stakeholders and participants.  It is based on Google’s Design Sprint methodology, toolkit and templates.

In the two mornings of our design sprint, everyone did all of the best to discuss and suggest many exciting ideas with the leadership of Prof. Samia Khan. In advance of the design sprint, each member reflected what was salient about the MII STEM course we taught in teacher education with an advanced survey, including questions, such as: what would success look like for mii-STEM, what evidence do we have that the mii-STEM curriculum was effective, etc.?

The design sprint occurred in three phases, as shown in the picture. There are 11 members present, including professor and Ph.D. students joining to revise our science teacher education curriculum.

Adapted from:

On the first day, after the introduction of Prof. Samia, representative sof each country shared achievements and challenges involving the practical implementation of our curriculum in teacher education for future science teachers and working science teachers. For this section, everyone has an opportunity to review all pros and cons of the MII-STEM 1.0 curriculum. Right following the review phase is the HMW section, in which we wrote all “How might we” questions about what we need to do next for the MII  STEM course. In general, all three countries had some common main remarkable points about the target participants, the mode of delivery of class – online or offline or blended, and MII-STEM learning outcomes with appropriate assessments. Based on these points, we moved on to “crazy 8’s”. Each country listed 8 ideas in 8 minutes. After that, everyone engaged in “dot voting”. Each member has three dots to vote for three exciting ideas that he/she thinks the most prominent to be considered soon for a revised MII-STEM 2.0 curriculum.

After voting, we found out that there are three prominent issues that we may focus on doing for the next step: (1) Redefine MiiSTEM Framework 2.0, (2) Develop an In-Service Teacher Education course ; (3) Revise all assessment tools for Mii-STEM course. Prof. Samia Khan divided us into three breakout design groups on zoom for discussion. Each design group worked together and sketched a picture of what we will do for the following day. 

On the second morning, we paid attention to three remarkable issues and sketched out a “journey map” for the future. We continued working in group and put the most effort into making our issue more and more realistic. There are so many results gotten in the second morning. All of us were very happy about our work. 

For me, it has been a wonderful curriculum Design Sprint. I have learned a lot from this experience, such as organizing a design sprint and working as group to create new ideas. The most crucial result of the design sprint is that we can see what we should do next for new MII-STEM curriculum research. 

Thank you to all the professors for giving me an opportunity to join the project. 

Thank you to all Ph.D. friends for letting me learn more from you. 

A Graduate Seminar in 2021

The MII-STEM group held a graduate seminar on 28 January 2021, at the beginning of the new year, in which six PhD students presented their research and there were some professional discussions by our panel after each presentation. The goal of the graduate seminar is to provide a forum for all graduate students in the MII-STEM community to express their research interests and provide a peer-reviewed environment to garner additional insights into research.

Six presenters showcased various STEM topics, including: modelling competence, argumentation, computational reasoning, PCK and problem-solving. Interestingly, the MII-STEM scope of research is very compatible with doctoral inquiries in various universities represented by our group. For instance, Mr. Song is in the second year of a PhD in the UK who shared his doctoral research focusing on improving the modelling competence of preservice science teachers (PSTs) during a teacher education program. He will use different technology-supported scenarios in this teaching program to develop meta-modeling knowledge and the modelling practices of PSTs. As working in MII-STEM inspired him to get a lot of ideas conducting his personal research, Song appreciated that he could participate in this project. The creation of an open-ended question to assess modelling practice, namely the “the black box” that was introduced in the MII-STEM project for “nature of science,” is just one of several dimensions of MII-STEM research he referenced from his project: “It is found that the black box is one suitable way to test how students interact with a complex structure that I will try after having validated this task in our MII-STEM project,” Song reflected.

Every presenter received beneficial and distinct perspectives from country leaders and other graduate students at the time of the panel discussion. It was also a good chance to extend the academic network and improve research quality. By acquiring new ideas and interesting methods for research, graduate students were able to explore the similarities of their programs of study and learn from the others’ research presentation. Meanwhile, several in the group might establish a collaborative partnership after our inter-university MII-STEM presentations.

MII-STEM is an international project in which scholars from different countries work together to develop future teachers’ abilities to teach science effectively. Not only is it useful for pre-service teacher education, but also for the professional growth of new researchers. The upcoming academic events, including the annual conference, a design sprint and monthly meetings, will take place. Looking ahead, the new year promises to be another fruitful one for MII-STEM.

Major Symposium 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 symposium July 31, 2020 attended by over 80 scholars in ASEAN countries, 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