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.

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