UP NISMED Conducts Research and Extension Agenda-Setting Workshop

UP NISMED had its Research and Extension (R & E) Agenda-Setting Workshop on 10 January 2022 via Zoom. The objectives of the workshop were to revisit the strategic plan of NISMED, reflect on the current scope of STEM education research and extension, set research and extension priorities for each academic group, draft the NISMED Research and Extension Agenda 2022-2024, and identify strategies for research, capacity-building, resource generation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning.

Dr. Sheryl Lyn C. Monterola, UP NISMED Director, opened the program with an overview of the tasks ahead through a short video. She likened the term murmuration, which means the result when hundreds fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky, to the NISMED staff working together towards the same goal. This was then followed by the revisiting of NISMED’s Mandate, Philosophy, Vision, Mission and Core Values which was facilitated by Dr. Monalisa T. Sasing, Deputy Director for Research and Extension

The highlight of the workshop was a keynote message delivered by Dr. Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela, Director of the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat. As part of SEAMEO’s strategic plan 2021-2030, she shared that they are working towards ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. She also elaborated on STEM Education for Future workforces as one of the seven science priority areas. As the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of schools, the SEAMEO Council acknowledges the importance of enhancing the capacities of teachers and key education enablers, as well as fostering a learning environment that is free from disruption. Dr. Ethel challenged NISMED to use the current disruption as an opportunity to create more inclusive, flexible, and equitable provision of education by incorporating technologies and combining school-based and remote learning. Now more than ever, teachers need to adapt to distance delivery modes. Teachers also require professional development, learning and support, which NISMED can provide through support and training.

Dr. Valenzuela identifies the needs of teachers in support of their professional development.

Following Dr. Valenzuela’s keynote message was the presentation on Global Perspectives on Education Research by Dr. Ronnel King, Fr. Joseph Haw, and Dr. Scott Bartholomew, from the University of Hongkong, the Ateneo de Iloilo, and Brigham Young University, respectively. Dr. Ronnel King and Fr Joseph Haw shared the Positive Education approach to education that blends academic learning with character and well-being. It fosters preparing students with life skills such as grit, optimism, resilience, growth mindset, and mindfulness. Generally, Positive Education is based on the science of well-being and happiness. Learning, therefore, is not just pure academics but also overall character building. Dr. Scott Bartholomew shared the trends on STEM education. He emphasized that Science, Mathematics, and Technology provide the context, while Engineering involves creating design solutions. Engineering also acts as the integrator that brings everything together. He added that STEM must be problem-based learning but teachers are not yet comfortable with it. NISMED can then offer training for teachers that will equip them to apply problem-based learning in STEM education.

Dr. King reports the factors contributing to students’ well-being according to PISA.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion on Advancing STEM Education in Asia was moderated by Dr. Monterola. The panelists were Dr. Kessara Amornvuthivorn, Program Director of SEAMEO STEM-ED Centre, Prof. Dr Manabu Sumida, Director General of Japan Society for Science Education, and Prof Dr. Yong Zulina Zubairi, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaya. They mentioned courses of action to bring advancement to STEM Education. First was Global Challenge, which meant allowing the students to deal with the complexity of social problems by giving them a clear-eyed view of politics and history. Second was Reinvent Teaching, which meant teaching and learning should no longer be memorization but rather working towards racial, ecological, and global justice. Third was Digitalisation in STEM Education. This may include having virtual labs, having online platforms to teach STEM, and having an online community and support. Finally, the fourth was Collaboration. This meant having engagement between students and staff; having shared resources whether online content, websites, or projects; and having shared global vision among national, regional, and global sectors.

The R & E Agenda-Setting Workshop was followed by the NISMED Planning Meeting. In her opening remarks, Dr. Monterola, introduced the concept adversity quotient as a reminder to the staff that the institute will remain steadfast in its mission despite the pandemic. According to her, the adversity quotient means having the ability to turn adversity in life or any difficult situation into opportunities. Dr. Monterala was positive that with the right planning, the NISMED staff will be able to perform their duties whatever dire circumstances they or even the country may face. The different work groups worked on setting their targets for the year, taking into consideration the key ideas from the R & E Agenda-Setting workshop. The two-day activity was indeed a productive and perfect way to kick-start the year.

Mr. Rolando M. Tan, Chair of the ES Science work group, shares their academic group goals.