The Chevron Enjoy Science Newsletter – Issue No. 2

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Issue No. 2, October, 2015

Chevron Enjoy Science Project News

Recent Project Activities

STEM Education News

Guest Columnist: Asst. Dr. Amara Kheowracsa

Thai Education News

Upcoming Events

Chevron Enjoy Science Project News

The Chevron Enjoy Science Project Presents 3 TVET Hub Models

In partnership with the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Skills Development (DSD), the Chevron Enjoy Science Project organized a 2nd Special STEM Thailand Forum on September 1st 2015. During keynote addresses, Mr. Rob Stowell and Mr. Pat Jones, TVET experts from the Chisholm Institute in Australia, presented model TVET Hubs designed with extensive stakeholder input specifically for Thailand.

Speaking to a full audience, Mr. Stowell said that all TVET Hubs should achieve six major goals: create an active and real partnership between schools and industry organizations; produce STEM and TVET education programs that are relevant for students and industries; effectively and efficiently use TVET resources, including sharing them across education systems and industries; produce work-ready students with strong STEM skills; improve TVET teacher quality, making sure that they have the right technical, industrial, and pedagogical skills; and foster more a positive and accepted public image of TVET.

Based on more than 20 meetings with a wide variety of stakeholders, Mr. Stowell and Mr. Jones worked with the Chevron Enjoy Science Project team to create three TVET Hub models. These models were designed to focus on several different approaches, in particular an industry-led TVET Hub, a university-led TVET Hub, and a business-led TVET Hub. While broad in scope, these TVET Hub models are easily customizable for different regions and specializations within Thailand.

Mr. Stowell then went into greater detail on how exactly the TVET Hubs would function. During its first year, the Chevron Enjoy Science Project will launch one TVET Hub in Samut Prakarn, with the Automotive Human Resource Development Academy (AHRDA), under the DSD. Following the Chevron Enjoy Science model, this TVET Hub will be implemented and led by an industry cluster, which will provide STEM and technical competency teacher trainings. The goal is for AHDRA to partner with the nearby King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, which will provide academic support to improve grade 10th-12th STEM education. At the same time, AHDRA will work with the DSD and private training institutions to provide vocational education, technical skills training, and job placements for 13th-14th grade students. This network of relationships will link together the local automotive industry, technical university, and vocational institute to fully prepare TVET students for the workplace.

The Forum attracted participants from the private and public sectors, as well as academics, all of whom provided feedback during the second half of the Forum on how to further develop Thailand’s TVET system. The Special STEM Thailand Forum was the second in a number of forums and roundtables that have been planned as part of the Chevron Enjoy Science Project, which works to improve Thailand’s STEM education, develop its TVET programs, and raise awareness about STEM and TVET nationwide.

Read more about the Chevron Enjoy Science Project

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Recent Project Activities


Bangkok Mini Maker Faire

Thai student entrepreneurs and “makers” learn about applied science, technology, and electronics at Thailand’s first Mini Maker Faire in Bangkok.

In partnership with Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Ltd. and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand’s first Mini Maker Faire was organized in Bangkok from September, 26-27, 2015. At the Maker Faire, Thai “makers” were able to enter a contest by submitting their creative works, with a special focused on electronics, programming, crafts, music, food, and arts, etc. Qualified “makers” were also invited to show examples of their work at this event. In addition, the Chevron Enjoy Science Project also led an inquiry-based investigation activity at the Faire, during which participating teachers and students demonstrated the effects of inquiry-based science in the classroom. This event also showcased 3D printing examples from “makers” who reached the final round of the Chevron Enjoy Science: Let’s Print the World Project.

 

OBEC National Conference

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) National Conference, “Upgrading the Quality of Science Education: Basic Education in 2015,” was held during September 12-13, 2015 at Prince Place Hotel, Bangkok. The Chevron Enjoy Science Project supported this conference by inviting Professor Brian J. Reiser, an expert on science education at the School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, to share his experience with science education management, as well as Professors Tom Corcoran and Kate Montgomery from the Teachers College, Columbia University to share lessons learned through working to improve science education in other countries. The conference gathered more than 700 teachers from across Thailand.

 

Pre-Teaching Service Activity

University professors learn about education managment from local Enjoy Science experts.

A Pre-Teaching Service activity was organized by the Chevron Enjoy Science Project during September, 5-6, 2015, for 14 university professors from Khon Kean University, Rajabhat Rajanagarindra University, and Rajabhat Songkhla University. Professor Tom Corcoran, co-director of Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE), Teachers College, Columbia University; Professor Lin Goodwin, Vice Dean of Teachers College, Columbia University; and local Enjoy Science experts came together to teach professors about education management and the roles of a university supervisor.

 

MOU Singing with Khon Kaen University and Songkhla Rajabhat University

Khon Kaen University and Songkhla Rajabhat University will partner with the Chevron Enjoy Science Project to host regional STEM Hubs.

The Chevron Enjoy Science Project held MOU signing ceremonies with Khon Kaen University on August, 28, 2015 and Songkhla Rajabhat University on September, 17, 2015. These two universities will serve as Chevron Enjoy Science Regional STEM Hubs and work with participating local schools, including 123 schools in Khon Kaen and 74 schools in Songkhla. The Regional STEM Hubs will provide professional teacher development, educational development, curriculum development and materials distribution.

IPST Thailand STEM Festivals

Participants learn how to address and fix problems they encounter when designing and implementing STEM education project activities.

Seeking to raise awareness for STEM education, the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) Thailand recently organized interactive STEM Festivals in three provinces: Nakhon Pathom (August 3-5, 2015), Chiang Mai (August 6-8, 2015), and Nakhon Ratchasima (August 13-15, 2015). The Chevron Enjoy Science Project supported IPST by organizing a keynote address called “Why STEM Is Here to Stay,” which focused on the importance of STEM education, as well as a workshop on Problem Solving Approaches in STEM, where participants learned about the engineering design process. These two activities were conducted by Professor Edward Reeve from Utah State University, USA. Across the three provinces, a total of 159 participants joined the Problem Solving Approaches in STEM workshop.

 

The Chevron Enjoy Science Press Family Camp

Encouraging children to be interested in science and math as a part of daily life at the Thailand Science Park.

The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), in partnertship with the National Science Museum (NSM), the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), and Kenan, held a Press Family Camp during 25-26 July, 2015 at the Sirindhorn Science Home, Thailand Science Park for 28 families of the press (including 43 kids). With support from the Chevron Enjoy Science Project, this activity used interactive experiments to encourage kids to be interested in and understand science as a part of daily life. In addition, there were two presentations on the importance of STEM education: “The Necessity of STEM Education and Thai Kids,” by Professor Montri Chulavatnatol Chairman of the Governing Board IPST, and “Raise Your Kid to Be A Scientist,” moderated by Chumphol Hemakerin.

 

STEM Education News


The Importance of Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning is a key part of the Chevron Enjoy Science Project’s TVET component. Students will gain real-world, practical knoweldge through regional TVET Hubs that bring together Thailand’s private sector, public sector, and academic institutions.

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is not just concerned with what is learned in the classroom, it is a powerful learning tool that also emphasizes practical and experiential work-based learning. In “Revisiting Global Trends in TVET: Reflections on Theory and Practice,” a recent set of studies published by the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Mr. Richard Sweet talks about the ever-growing importance of work-based learning that trains students for real-world professions.

Mr. Sweet, a Professorial Fellow in the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, points to a number of key benefits that stem from work-based learning across a wide variety of locations and cultures. Work-based learning, he says, can increase a student’s productivity and innovation. When comparing skilled German workers with closely matched English counterparts, for example, there is a clearly-seen higher level of productivity within the German firms.

“The studies not only showed that there is a link between the level of skill development within German apprenticeships and enterprise productivity,” Mr. Sweet writes, “but also that the breadth and quality of [those] skills plays a central role in enterprise productivity through influencing the ways in which work is able to be organized, compared with firms with a lower and narrower skills base.”

This type of applied, work-based learning is also a powerful tool for attracting new vocational students and re-engaging with students who may be struggling or uninspired. The practical, hands-on approach of work-based learning that puts students directly into working communities and organizations, often under the supervision of mentors, is a mind-opening experience for many. Students can see immediately how what they are learning applies to real-world jobs. The experience provides them with cross-cutting problem solving skills and contextual knowledge, as well as networking connections and career development opportunities that can easily translate into a variety of different careers.

In addition, work-based learning can help lead to better youth transitions. Mr. Sweet writes that “there is a strong correlation between combining work and learning, in whatever form, as a student, and the probability of finding work after leaving education.” In countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, and Australia, where education often includes an integrated work-based component, students were more likely to get a job after leaving school than students in countries like Italy and France, where there is little work-based education integration.

In the end, integrated work-based learning is a powerful tool that enhances TVET programs and increases workers’ productivity. Work-based learning is not only a win for industries and businesses, however, students also benefit by gaining marketable skills, network connections, and increased job opportunities. With the current global demand for skilled workers on the rise, it is critical for industries, governments, and TVET institutes to expand and emphasize integrated work-based learning.

Learn more here: Revisiting Global Trends in TVET: Reflections on Theory and Practice

 

Guest Columnist


Empowering Scientific Thinking

Asst. Dr. Amara Kheowracsa, Director of Institute of Quality Teacher Development, Rajabhat Rajanagarindra University

Many people never thought that it would be possible for humans to travel to other planets, much less land on them and conduct research. Such a huge advance in science, however, comes only as the result of millions of smaller technological and scientific breakthroughs. Similarly, new technologies, such as nanotubes, rely on thousands of scientists who have reimagined, redeveloped, and reorganized machines and organic particles to become smaller and more efficient.

These examples highlight the fact that today’s extraordinary scientific and technological achievements are not as impossible to imagine or overly complex as they might seem at first. Instead, scientific progress is the evolution of millions of smaller breakthroughs coming together. In other words, it is the result of humans engaging in scientific inquiry to see how far they can explore and expand their knowledge.

Scientific inquiry is the method that scientists use to rigorously study nature and technology in all different aspects. Such inquiry requires various skills, such as questioning, data collection, experimentation, discussion, collaboration, critical thinking, and the ability to quickly acquire new knowledge. This concept of scientific inquiry is especially critical when it comes to education, providing a conceptual platform for teachers and a foundation for how students should think about science.

Thailand urgently needs to develop its educators to teach using the concepts of scientific inquiry so that students can become continuous learners who support the country’s technological advances. Teachers should actively encourage students to become enthusiastic about learning, urging them to jointly design project activities and experiments, develop observation skills, ask questions, collect information, debate, and present their findings. Such positive learning habits will ensure that more students remain interested in science and technology. This method, however, should start gradually for those students who have never experienced it, beginning with closed inquiry, then semi-open inquiry, and finally open inquiry learning.

The Chevron Enjoy Science Project’s aim is to upgrade science teachers to better understand and implement this type of inquiry-based learning through practical development. This inquiry-based education method will boost teacher and principal confidence to effectively manage science education and lead students on the path towards building the future’s scientific achievements.

 

Thai Education News


Implementing Education Reform in Chonburi

Chonburi was recently selected as one of ten base provinces for implementing education reform by the Quality Learning Foundation, part of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Quality Learning Foundation, which as part of the Prime Minister’s Office seeks to promote a learning society, recently selected Chonburi as one ten base provinces for implementing education reform. The goal of the project is to upgrade the quality and capacity of youth education in Chonburi, with a particular focus on practical, job-focused education. This project has already received a lot of support from both the private and public sectors, and is aligned with the Government’s education reform policies.

Komsan Eakachai, the Governor of Chonburi, pointed out that Chonburi is an industrial hub as well as center for tourism, and as such education management should be focused on teaching students the skills for jobs in the those fields. This Chonburi model, curriculum for employment, was established through local stakeholder participation and private sector involvement, all of whom collaborated to jointly make a curriculum relevant to local industries and businesses.  Governor Eakachai hopes that with the Quality Learning Foundation’s involvement, Chonburi will be able to fully manage its own education needs, for both students and industries.

 

Upcoming Events


STEM Roll Out Training Activity

A STEM roll out training activity will be organized in three provinces: Khon Kean (Oct 16-18), Samut Prakarn, and Songkhla (Oct 21-23). More than 300 math and science teachers will learn from experts from the Teachers College of Columbia University how to integrate innovative instructional technology into their science and math teaching, as well as how to more effectively manage their classrooms.

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