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New Southward Cross-Country Research Project on Science Education

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I. Introduction


This integrated research project, aligned with the goal of the "New Southward Policy," attempted to collaborate with several Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia in order to expand the international vision of science education research of Taiwan. Since these collaborated countries have participated international educational assessments, including TIMSS and PISA, for several times, it is reasonable to go beyond these international assessments and explore a handful of crucial science learning features. Therefore, three important science learning features (i.e., conceptions of learning science, academic hardiness in science, and science learning self-efficacy) have included in this project. In terms of conceptions of learning science and academic hardiness in science, the relevant literature has indicated that both of them may be influenced and shaped by social-cultural and educational contexts. It is worth noting that all of these participating countries have been under the influence of the so-called “Confucian Heritage Culture.” Besides, in terms science learning self-efficacy, most of the Asian countries such as Singapore and Taiwan have surprisingly shown high achievement and performance, yet low academic confidence in science. Based on the aforementioned, it is worth investigating and conducting cross-country comparisons to further understand the similarities and differences among the secondary school students’science learning features. Through the collaborations among these countries, the ties between Taiwan and these Southeast Asian countries would be strengthened for the purpose of establishing long-term and stable relationships. Also, the international competitiveness as well as the status of international community in the field of science education research would be recognized.

II. Highlights

The highlights of this research project are listed as follows.


1. This integrated research project is one of the rare research project aiming to develop several highly-consistent survey questionnaires to comprehensively understand the secondary school students’ conceptions of learning science, academic hardiness, and science learning self-efficacy among these participating countries.


2. The past research evidence has documented that learners’ science learning features may be influenced by the specific socio-cultural and education contexts. In other words, it is possible that the structural relationships among these science learning features may be differed in each country. Thus, this research project attempts systematically understand and compare the structural relationships in terms of these related science learning features as well as academic achievements among Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.


3. This research project adopted the cross-sectional research design to compare secondary school students’ science learning features and learning performance in different grade levels among each country. So far, several large-scale investigations in each country has been carried out and more than 1,000 students have been surveyed.


4. The PI of this research project (Prof. Tsai) and the co-PI (Pro. Chiou, Guo-Li) has been invited to Center of the Initiation of Talent and Industrial training (CITra) (University of Malaya) by Prof. Wong Seng Yue to visit and have an in-depth discussion with the Center Director Prof. Berlinda Murphy on the topic of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education.


5. The PI of this research project (Prof. Tsai) and co-PI (Prof. Guo-Li Chiou) have visited Chong Hwa Independent High School, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to understand the current practices of science education curriculum among practicing mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology teachers.


6. The PI (Prof. Tsai) and co-PI (Prof. Yang, Fang-Ying) invited Dr. Parichat Saenna from Khon Kaen University, Thailand to discuss data analysis procedure and results derived from the analysis. Dr. Saenna is one of the collaborators of this research project who is in charge of data collection process in Thailand.


7. The PI (Prof. Tsai) and co-PI (Prof. Liang, Jyh-Chong) have visited National Institute of Education, National Nanyang Technological University to discuss the results related to socio-cultural and educational contexts with Prof. Tan Aik Ling (Department of Natural Sciences & Science Education) and Prof. Tan Seng Chee (Department of Learning Sciences and Technologies).

III. Reports

The progress of this research project that has been made is to properly develop and validate the survey instruments for each country. Up to now, in each country, more than 1,000 students’ responses on the questionnaires have been collected and analyzed (from 8th grade to 12th grade). The most significant findings have been synthesized and submitted to renown international educational journals for review.


STEM for 2TV (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics for Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam): A Joint Adventure in Science Education Research and Practice (STEM2TV)

I. Introduction

STEM education, in which Science is integrated with Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to explore and solve real-world problems, is advocated as a promising approach to prepare 21st century students and human resources. However, research on the implementation and effectiveness of STEM education appears limited and inconclusive since STEM education is a recent initiative. Therefore, this 3-year integrated research project aims to initiate collaborative efforts between Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam to establish evidence-based models of STEM education research and practice at the secondary school level across three countries. Three closely related sub-projects are proposed to achieve such a goal. Sub-project 1 (Learning and Instruction) aims to innovate STEM teaching and empirically examine the relationship between students’ classroom participation preferences and the effectiveness of teaching methods. Sub-project 2 (Assessment) aims to develop an assessment framework which can properly guide STEM learning, teaching, and professional development. Innovative instruments combined with scaling and standard-setting techniques will be developed to support STEM assessment in authentic contexts. Sub-project 3 (Professional Development) aims to identify STEM signature pedagogies and investigate teachers' pedagogical reasoning on STEM teaching. Innovative methods to facilitate teachers’ professional development for STEM education will be developed and examined. A coordinative project is proposed to develop STEM instructional activities as research materials and tools for sub-projects and facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between sub-projects. A STEM education research and practice platform will be established by the synergized effort of sub-projects and the coordinative project. The platform will sustain the Taiwan-Thailand-Vietnam partnership and facilitate the outreach of our evidence-based STEM education across Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and other new southbound countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

II. Highlights

1. The STEM module development and Implement in the three countries: BEATS-CCR (Basic Electrical engineering and Application of Technology for Science learning in CCR):


In the first phase (2017-2018) of STEM2TV, our project focused on developing a fitting STEM module to further the research phase. First, in order to develop a fitting formative assessment tool for our STEM module, to record student’s learning achievements and perceptions in the STEM class, the ICT platform called CloudClassRoom (CCR), was used to facilitate STEM learning and instruction. The basic idea of CCR is using mobile devices to enable every student in a real classroom to respond to the teacher’s questions in an instant and fully collective manner. CCR is written in HTML 5.0 and works on all mobile devices (such as laptops, PDAs, smart phones, and tablets) without further software or plug-inns installation. Once a teacher uses his or her devices to connect to CCR, he/she can pose various types of questions to the whole class. Students are then enabled to use their personal devices to respond with digits, text, pictures, animations, or even multimedia. By this means, silent students may feel it is safer or more comfortable to participate because there is no pressure to speak an answer out loud or raise their hands to volunteer to speak. The original BEATS materiel was developed by Taiwan high school physic teachers. It is a positive and constructive response to teachers’ requests for instructional materials that exemplify the innovation in education and are easy for them to implement.


The instructional materials of the BEATS module have been translated into English to facilitate communication between three research sites. Based on the original BEATS materials, STEM teachers, experts, and educational researchers, from Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam these materials are discussed, review, revised and rearranged into a new BEATES- CCR curriculum design (three-hours course) by following the 6E model theory (Burke, 2014), included: Engaged, Exploring, Explaining, Engineering, Enriching, and Evaluating and Question-Driven Instruction (QDI) model, in order to fulfill the common STEM needs among Science Education Center (SEC), National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Kasetsart University in Thailand and National Hanoi Normal University in Vietnam. All the BEATS-CCR teaching manual, teaching plan, CCR items and materiel list in Chinese, English, Thai and Vietnamese version were completed, in our first year of project time, in 2018. The main tests in the middle school (Around 300 students) in Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam are completed in February, 2019.


2. STEM teacher training workshops in Thailand and Vietnam: To promote international exchange and STEM teacher cultivation, the teachers’ BEATS-CCR STEM workshop which were held in Vietnam and Thailand. To present how we started out our research to explore the needs of Vietnam and Thailand STEM education, in order to leverage the similarity and accommodate the differences among the partner countries, and present our struggles in implementing STEM courses in different classrooms. The researcher findings in Vietnam workshop are submit and accepted by 2019 NARST.


3. 2018 North-South Conference in STEM Education: Emerging Trends for New Asia symposium in Hualien Taiwan:


The SEC of National Taiwan Normal University has established good cooperative relations with important teaching and research institutions in Europe, America and northeast Asian countries, and has assumed a leading position in the field of international science education. In recent years, with the advantage of geographical location and international influence, the SEC of NTNU has gradually established close cooperative relations with southeast Asian countries. The North-South Conference in STEM Education: Emerging Trends for New Asia by SECof NTNU is hold, in order to serve as a hub for international collaboration in science education and to invite science education research teams from northeast Asia (e.g., Japan, South Korea) and southeast Asia (e.g., Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia) to conduct academic exchanges in STEM interdisciplinary integration education.


The SEC of NTNU invited Hokkaido University of Japan.HU, Seoul National University in South Korea;(SNU), Kasetsart University of Thailand;(KU), Hanoi National University of Education;HNUE, and the University of Jember in Indonesia;UJ) to join this symposium. The topics of the symposium includes four main parts :(1) Current Status and Future Prospects of STEM Education in Asia;(2) The Application and Reflection of Innovative Technology in Science Education;(3) Advocating STEM Instruction Module from the Local View for Science would and Learning;Special Invitation - STEM Education in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


This symposium aims to examine the past and present status of STEM education in Asian countries and analyzing the foundation, motivation and future direction of developing STEM courses in European and American countries. In view of the common cultural background of Asian society and the differences between them, the possibility of the STEM course evaluation model that is localized and in line with the international trend is discussed.


4. With the support of Ministry of Science and Technology (project name: “STEM for 2TV (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics for Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam): A Joint Adventure in Science Education Research and Practice”), Science Education Center (SEC) of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) has expanded its academic relationships with new south-bound countries. On January and December 2018, a two-party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by SEC of NTNU (Taiwan) and University of Jember (Indonesian), and SEC of NTNU and University of Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University.


New Southward Cross-Country Research Project on Science Education

III. Reports

STEM 2TV project academic publications


1. Bevo Wahono.& Chang, C. Y. (2018, November). Examining the Relationship between Science Teachers’ Knowledge, Attitude, and Application of STEM Education. Paper is presented at the International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2018), Hualien, Taiwan.


2. Nguyen K. T.T. , Lin, P.L.& Chang, C. Y. (2018, November). Pre-Service Teachers’ Conceptions of STEM Education in Vietnam. Paper is presented at the International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2018), Hualien, Taiwan.


3. Nguyen B.V. , Nguyen H.V. , Le H. H. , Nguyen H. D. , Nguyen H. M. (2018, November). Teachers’ Acknowledgement and Perception toward STEM Education in Vietnam: Empirical Exploration. Paper is presented at the International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2018), Hualien, Taiwan.


4. Nguyen K. T.T. , Lin, P.L.& Chang, C. Y. (2018, November). Teachers’ Acknowledgement and Perception toward STEM Education in Vietnam: Empirical Exploration. Paper is presented at the International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2018), Hualien, Taiwan.


5. Lin, P. L., Nguyen K. T. T., Ko, S. W., Nguyen, V. H., Nguyen, V. B., & Chang, C. Y.(2019, March). New generation of STEM for new southbound countries: In-service teacher-training workshop between Taiwan and Vietnam. Paper will be present at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Baltimore, MD, USA.


  1. STEM2TV project website
  2. CloudClassRoom (CCR) instant response system website
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