The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is enhancing its efforts in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education in Hong Kong. With the support of its faculty, staff, students and alumni, HKUST has recently launched an interactive platform to help spark junior high students’ inquisitiveness and support local teachers in teaching STEM subjects in Hong Kong.
Why would different acidity levels result in different colors on a pH paper? Is it possible to make someone fall in love with you by implanting some chemical substance in his/her brain? Co-founded by Prof. King CHOW, Director of HKUST’s Center for the Development of the Gifted and Talented and Prof. WOO Kam-Tim, Founding Director of the Center for Global and Community Engagement (GCE) at HKUST School of Engineering, the new platform STEM@HKUST (https://stem.ust.hk/) not only offers materials that encourage young learners to tackle everyday problems with a scientific mind, it also seeks to help local teachers of instilling the true spirit behind STEM education – a critical mindset and problem-solving skills, into their students.
“Teaching STEM at school is often viewed as following the science textbooks to cover the science and technology subjects items by items, or practice in the extracurricular activities that utilize knowledge delivered in class,” said Prof. Chow. “But the gist of STEM education actually lies with the development of students’ mindset to observe, to analyze systematically, evaluate the validity and identifying feasible solution experimentally. When the breadth of knowledge is overwhelming in modern days, only when one acquires this mindset, one can move beyond knowledge and practice STEM to the best relevance of our everyday life.”
STEM@HKUST not only seeks to be a one-stop shop of information on STEM related events and competitions, it also showcases original videos produced by HKUST’s faculty, staff and students which explain everyday conundrums in a lively manner. Students can suggest topics or experiments they want to watch, secondary school teachers with queries on STEM related topics are also welcomed to raise questions through the website.
On the other hand, the team is also planning a mentorship program that could see HKUST undergraduate students observing STEM classes hosted by HKUST alumni in the teaching sector. So while the students – many of whom already had experiences tutoring youngsters, could learn more about lesson planning and presentation skills, they could also help the alumni teachers in developing STEM materials.
HKUST has always been a keen promoter of STEM education. While HKUST’s Academy for Bright Future Young Engineers organizes workshops and summer programs for primary and secondary school students on topics spanning electric vehicles, financial engineering and Facebook Chatbot, the University’s enrichment program for gifted learners offers opportunities to high potential students on developing their talent. GCE also provides training to students – including underprivileged and those with special education needs, who are invited to join its signature Underwater Robot Competition, to boost their confidence and interests in STEM.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (www.ust.hk) is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is the world’s second in the latest QS’ Top 50 under 50 ranking. Its graduates were ranked 12th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global Employability University Survey 2017.
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