Applications of STEM Technologies for Improved Understanding of Teaching and Learning
An inaugural local study on special needs science education using eye-trackers to examine pedagogies in the science classroom. Using eye trackers, we study how teachers engage in inclusive adaptive practices to address the needs of children with dyslexia when teaching science.
This project is funded under NIE Office of Education Research Project number OER 25/17 TTW. The Principal Investigator is A/P Teo Tang Wee (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Examining 21st Century Learning in STEM Activities
This project aims to examine the three aspects of 21st Century learning as students undertake problem-solving using STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) knowledge and practices. The three aspects of the 21st Century learning include foundational knowledge (to know), meta-knowledge (to act), and humanistic knowledge (to value). Evidences of students’ 21st Century learning in these three aspects will be examined from the student engagement in a STEM research project.
This is a non-funded project. The Principal Investigator is A/P Teo Tang Wee (email: email@example.com)
Design and Validation of STEM Student Survey to Evaluate the Effectiveness of STEM Curriculum
A pilot study was conducted to validate the design of a student survey instrument that can be used to evaluate a STEM curriculum. This instrument will offer comprehensive insights into the effectivess of a STEM programme by measuring five constructs, namely, students’ views about participating in STEM activities, self-efficacy views in STEM learning, views about STEM, STEM-related identities, and STEM careers. In this project, the instrument is refined and validated using Rasch.
The pilot study was funded under NIE Start-up Grant Project number SUG 09/15 TTW. The Principal Investigator is A/P Teo Tang Wee (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Students’ Research Projects
Development of integrated STEM tasks
Dominic Koh (URECA 2017/18). STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is valuable as it promotes learning of 21st century skills such as problem-solving. The challenges faced by students in this century are predominantly STEM-related (Bybee, 2010). It is of fundamental importance to equip students with knowledge of STEM disciplines in order to enable them to navigate the 21st century world. Yet, despite efforts to introduce STEM programmes, the integration of STEM in Singapore’s science curriculum remains limited. This research therefore intends to design STEM tasks that can be readily used by teachers in biology lessons. Two tasks were designed by adapting stages of Sense-Making Model (Schwarz, Passmore & Reiser, 2017). Task 1 focused on diabetes and insulin delivery biotechnology tools. Task 2 focused on digestive system and pill drug delivery design. The first task was trialled with a secondary three Express stream class of 26 students, while the second was trialled with a secondary three Express stream class of 11 students. Both tasks were carried out within formal curriculum time. Pre- and post-assessments were administered for the task. Both showed a decrease in mean scores, indicating no statistically significant gains in content knowledge from the tasks. Two types of student artefacts were created during the task. Student reports in Task 1 showed students’ ability to justify decisions and crafting criteria, demonstrating an engineer’s strand of thought. This was less evident in reports from Task 2, suggesting a need for guideposts to aid students in their thought processes. However, Task 2 reports did show students’ effort in linking concepts to the problem. The presentation segment, together with critiquing by fellow classmates and their teacher, enabled instances of disciplinary learning to occur. Student interviews were conducted at the end of both tasks, with results showing a favourable response towards and appreciation for such tasks. This indicates a potential for such tasks to be deployed in classrooms. Further development of such tasks could pay closer attention to getting students to engage in mathematics and increase the use of technology in the activities of these tasks.
Publication. Koh, J. Q. D., & Tan, A.-L. (In-press). Students as pharmaceutical engineers: A biology-centric STEM task. Teaching science, In press(In press), In press.
Darren Kung (URECA 2018/19). STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has been acknowledged to play a vital role in the advancement of nations worldwide (Lee, 2015; National Research Council, 2011) and as a useful platform to develop critical skills such as creativity, effective communication and self-management (Hathcock, Dickerson, Eckhoff & Katsioloudis, 2014; Bybee, 2010). STEM also promotes a multi-pronged approach towards many real-world problems we face today. Hence, it is vital for STEM education to be integrated into everyday lessons. Despite its importance, is the implementation of meaningful STEM tasks is currently limited. This research aims to design and evaluate three Biology-based STEM tasks that combine knowledge from different disciplines of STEM to approach real-world problems. The tasks will guide students through a sense-making framework to systematically approach the problems. They are designed with regard to selected learning outcomes within the O-Level Biology syllabus to facilitate their integration into existing work plans of teachers. The tasks were then be evaluated based on the level of learning that took place via pre- and post-assessment questions. The findings from this research will validate the usefulness of the STEM tasks as a means of effective inter-disciplinary education, and their potential role in science education of the future.
Accepted for presentation at 2019 ASERA conference, 2- 5 July, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Ophelia Kee (URECA 2018/19). With the growing pertinence for students in the 21st century to master problem-solving techniques and tackle issues beyond their own disciplines, it is crucial for the education system to move the of teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a more integrated and contextualized manner. In addition, teachers need to ensure that the content taught is located within persistent, complex and extended real-world problems. As such, lessons would no longer only focus on helping students to solve textbook-based questions, but also develop necessary inter-disciplinary problem-solving skills and creativity in every student.
The aim of this research is to design and evaluate the effectiveness of two integrated STEM activities that require the application of knowledge in Chemistry. Through engagement in the activities, students could develop knowledge of how Chemistry can be connected to engineering, mathematics and technology. The STEM activities that are designed is trialled with a group of 40 grade 9 students in Singapore. The students will undergo pre-, post- assessments and interviews to determine the level of learning after each STEM activity. Discussions related to the benefits of integrated STEM activities in schools and have they can be implemented will be included.
Accepted for presentation at 2019 ASERA conference, 2- 5 July, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Perceptions of STEM education
Dominic Koh (URECA 2018/19). STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Apart from its economic significance, STEM education holds promises of offering an authentic way of learning for students. It could facilitate the development of 21st century competencies as well as scientific literacy. Despite heavy use of the term, there is yet to be a clear consensus on what STEM education entails. The diffused understanding of STEM education poses problems for teachers to engage in STEM education effectively. As such, it is crucial to first learn about perceptions that teachers may hold in order to design targeted STEM education courses to guide them through the implementation of integrated STEM. Sixteen pre-service teachers (PSTs), between second to fourth year of study, participated in a 30-item questionnaire. Questionnaire responses were used to sort the PSTs into naïve, emerging and progressive categories. Nine PSTs in total from all categories were then randomly selected for an interview to elicit perceptions about STEM education. Conventional content analysis was used as the overarching theoretical framework for analysis. Questionnaire and interview responses were coded and used for thematization. This enabled the construction of stories of a naïve, emerging and progressive PST. We found that PSTs with naïve understanding provide broad descriptions and unique ideas on STEM education. Progressive PSTs showed a deep and well-articulated understanding, often associating STEM education with making interdisciplinary connections. PSTs with emerging understanding recognized some ideas of STEM education similar to progressives but these ideas often lack precision. Using the perceptions and suggestions gathered, recommendations on design of STEM education courses are offered. Finally, this research showed a possibility of crafting an inventory to assess level of understanding of future PSTs to facilitate differentiated instruction to teach PSTs about STEM education.
Accepted for presentation at ESERA 2019, 26 – 30 August, Bologna, Italy.