Research

Open-Source Environmental Sensors in STEM Education: An Indonesian Pilot Study by Dr. Kenneth Lim

Since 2013, a team of researchers from the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore has been working on the use of a network of open-source, unobtrusive environmental sensors placed throughout a school campus. Through this network, teachers have the wherewithal to design curriculum which would permit and encourage the interrogation of real-world micro-climatic data from within an environment already familiar to the students, so that their intuitions about local environmental factors and systemic relationships – which would otherwise have remained tacit – might be surfaced and dialogued upon in collaboration with their peers and teachers.

Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics Indonesia (2010) shows that Indonesian workforce is dominated by unskilled workers (nearly 90 million) compared to only 28 million of skilled workers.

In the case of Indonesia, the need for STEM Education is very high. Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics Indonesia (2010) shows that Indonesian workforce is dominated by unskilled workers (nearly 90 million) compared to only 28 million of skilled workers. Being competent and informed in STEM are not only necessary for jobs but also for daily life and participation in the community. This situation presents a special challenge to education to prepare students who have such skills.

The current school curriculum and teachers teaching practice, however, do not focus on improvement of students’ STEM competencies. The HEAD Foundation has thus offered a grant to Dr Kenneth Lim (National Institute of Education, Singapore) and Professor Ari Widodo (Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia) to continue their work on the open-source environmental sensors in schools in Bandung, Indonesia.

This project describes a design for schools in countries in the ASEAN region to leverage a networked mesh of open-source environmental sensors to help teachers surface students’ evolving intuitions and conceptions about their local microclimate through a STEM-based curriculum.

The Foundation is also supporting other STEM Education related initiatives, including Asian Science Camp 2017 and projects led by UTAR and Arus Academy.