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

MII-STEM project kicks off with international meeting in the UK

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, presently at the University of British Columbia, 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.