Expert Voices

EdTech Educator Reflects on Educational Innovation at STEM Fair

If one acronym was to sum up the future of education, it’s STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics have owned educational innovation for a while now. And there was definite proof of its popularity at the impressively attended MOTAT Science fair, dedicated to all things STEM.

The Mind Lab was among 40+stalls, with 2000+ children, caregivers and teachers each interacting with hands-on STEM concepts, while connecting with New Zealand industry at the forefront of educational innovation.

“From an educator’s perspective, the event really hit home how rewarding it is for our students to build their problem solving, collaboration and communication skills, ”

says The Mind Lab EdTech Educator, Emma Grobart.

“It was great being part of such a big event where everyone was not only excited about learning but supportive of each other’s educational journey as well.”

The Mind Lab’s hands-on STEM activities of reverse engineering an electric car and experimenting with Micro:bits, emphasised the pillars of collaboration, creativity and learning through failure.

Emma says a highlight was the opportunity to network with like-minded innovators, but the true reward was witnessing children’s enthusiasm for a teaching philosophy, she’s deeply passionate about.

“One of our very dedicated kids spent at least 2 hours on the Micro:Bit. Initially practising with the basic concept of coding LEDs, but then of his own accord, expanded his experimentation so much further.”

“He tried to copy our rock paper scissors game, but couldn’t quite master it. However, through failure, he took on his own project and learnt so much about the program. In the end, he started teaching other kids how to code.  It was a perfect example of the real confidence-building outcomes when children practice skills of iteration, learning through failure and collaborating with others.”

The majority female Mind Lab Edtech team also broke the gender gap for budding STEM enthusiasts.

“To encourage more girls to study STEM subjects at higher education and through employment, we need to tackle stereotypes they’re exposed to early on,” says Emma Grobart. “I hope in witnessing my team’s enthusiasm might in some way bridge the gender gap and inspire more girls to continue with STEM.”

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