Guests from the Phranakhon Rajabhat University in Bangkok Thailand, were recently at Utah State University for a 9-day study tour to explore methods of preparing their students to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The group included the university’s president, deans and professors intent on learning more about teaching subjects that are important to the country’s economic future.
Phranakhon Rajabhat University was Thailand’s first teachers’ training school. King Rama V founded the university in 1892, with the goal of producing teachers for primary schools. Currently the university offers degrees in humanities and social sciences, industrial technology management science and sciences and technology education.
The tour was led by Edward M. Reeve, professor and teacher educator in USU’s School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education. Some of the site visits included USU’s STE2M Center, Edith Bowen elementary school, the South Cache 8th/9th Grade Center, Bridgerland Applied Technology College (BATC), a local manufacturing company and USU’s aviation facilities. Reeve said that group wanted to learn about how to develop STEM education programs and experiences that could be added to their university programs.
“Many countries, including Thailand, are beginning to see the importance of STEM education as an instrumental part of building a competitive STEM workforce,” said Reeve.
Andreas Wesemann, director of USU’s professional pilot program, presented on the importance of STEM education in aviation. Following the presentation, the group experienced STEM in action trying their hands at “flying” USU’s Commercial Regional Jet (CRJ) 700 Flight Simulator and visiting the university’s flight training facilities at the Logan Cache Airport.
The group also got to build its own robots, complete an engineering design challenge to build C02 powered rockets and build simple electronic circuits. Reeve said hands-on opportunities like these bring STEM to life for students.
“Applying math and science in ‘real-life’ activities is a lot more fun for students than learning and memorizing equations and formulas that have been presented on a whiteboard,” he said. “Today, the push in STEM education is integrative STEM education. Not our separately taught classes, but an integration of the four components to balance the education students receive. The approach helps create students that better understand their coursework, and it helps them to become creative problem solvers.”
Contact: Edward Reeve, 435-797-3642, Ed.Reeve@usu.edu
Writer: KailCee Harrison, Kailcee.Harrison@usu.edu