After three-days of training in Hanoi at the end of September last year, 130 STEM Ambassadors participating in the “Promote school girls’ interest and participation in science and innovation through STEM education and digital skills” project have had their first opportunity to inspire a new generation of young women through training sessions delivered countrywide. With the mission of providing better opportunities for girls from secondary and high schools in Vietnam to explore their potential and feel empowered to pursue STEM studies at university level and careers in associated fields, project training sessions have provided an exciting site for students, teachers and STEM Ambassadors to connect, and to explore and nurture a shared passion for science.
In December 2018 and early January this year, boot camp training sessions were cascaded to school students in nearly 30 secondary and high schools across seven cities and provinces around the country. (Full list of project participating schools below.)
With the support of STEM Ambassadors, students have had opportunities to engage with contemporary approaches to scientific research, worked together to solve problems using the TRIAL model (Task, Recall, Idea, Apply, and Learnt), and were inspired by the range of science careers opportunities available to them. For some students, this was their first opportunities to engage with educational innovative methodologies, scientific enxperiments and project-based learning. More than 1,000 students have directly participated in workshops to date, with many student projects focused on addressing local issues of direct relevance to participants’ own communities.
STEM Ambassadors and partner school teachers are supported with project delivery by UK education experts Alessio Bernardelli, founder of CollaboratEd and Neil Atkin, founder of Rubbish Science. Bernardelli and Atkin have compiled a STEM Education handbook for educators and also share monthly STEM Newsletters focused on innovative thinking models and creative STEM teaching approaches.
Ms Duong Thi Yen, a teacher from Dai Mo Secondary School in Hanoi, told us that, “The STEM bootcamp really inspired me so much. Through the project, I have had opportunities to meet new friends and learn about the latest STEM education methodologies and practical classroom techniques. In every STEM session, my students have had the freedom to share ideas and work collaboratively, which makes them happier and has helped to develop confidence and a positive attitude towards learning new things. The results have motivated me to include similar tasks regularly in my teaching practice”
After receiving positive feedback from students participating in the project, teachers from Huong Thuy High School in Hue also proudly shared that, “While at first, students were hesitant about STEM and what they would learn in the training, they soon became very engaged. They have been actively involved classes and have increased confidence in sharing their own opinions. Our classes were very successful. Despite happening over two cold and rainy days in Hue, training outcomes were certainly very positive.”
Schools are now in the process of finalising preparations for the upcoming School Lab Competition. Competition results will be announced in March 2019. We look forward to seeing what students have produced with the support of their STEM Ambassadors through this exciting and innovative learning process.