…Seeks to tackle COVID-19 Challenges to STEM Education
By Chioma Ndife
The Anambra State Chapter of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria, STAN, has held her 2nd biennial conference on the theme, ”COVID-19 Challenges to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education.
The second biennial conference which took place at the Federal Science and Technical College, Awka, Anambra State, commenced on December 8 and ended on the 9th with presentations by the teachers on how to tackle the challenges posed to STEM education by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In a keynote address titled, ”COVID-19 and Emerging Issues in STEM Education”, Prof. Nkechi Patricia Mary Esomonu of the Department of Education Foundations, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, described STEM as an approach to teaching and learning and noted that its major goal was to improve learners’ critical and creative thinking skills to face the challenges of the 21st century.
She stated that STEM fostered the skills that would drive new innovations across disciplines through the use of computational power to quicken discoveries in order to find creative ways to tackle challenges across disciplines to solve big challenges.
Prof. Esomonu concluded that COVID-19 made intensive use of technological advancement in STEM education inevitable, saying that educators would use more e-learning video services and incorporate the use of social media, as well as artificial intelligence to enhance classroom delivery.
The key note speaker recommended for standard and functional health systems/clinics to be put up in schools and opined that stakeholders in education must be serious about equipping classrooms and learning environment with e-teaching facilities. She regretted that some teachers were not ICT compliant, saying that teachers must accept that they needed new digital tools and resources for effective teaching and learning.
She maintained that Nigeria needed to address the logistical and funding issues that hindered procurement, implementation, maintenance and modifications of school technological equipment.
Speaking to Fides, the Anambra State STAN chairman, Dr. Christiana Uzoamaka Ezenduka noted that the conference presented an opportunity for science teachers to come together and brainstorm in order to get themselves equipped with new methodologies involved in science teaching and learning.
She disclosed that the focal point of the second biennial conference was to develop modalities that would assist science teachers to continue teaching science in any harsh condition, saying that COVID-19 could not stop the teaching of science subjects. She maintained that teachers through the conference would learn how to manage challenges posed by COVID-19 to science education.
She said that teachers were also exposed to the use of new normal in teaching science education in case of any future eventuality, saying that the resource persons that were invited exposed teachers to the Use of Google Classroom and the Use of Zoom in teaching science education.
Ezenduka beckoned on teachers to be part of the STAN activities as it would help them to improve on their classroom delivery and efficiency.
Contributing, the Science Fair Coordinator of Anambra State STAN, Comdr. Clement Okpala, explained the processes involved in the quiz competition organized by the state chapter of STAN, which, he said, was part of the activities put together for the 2nd biennial conference.
Okpala said that winners of the competition which started at the regional level would represent the state at the national level. He noted that after the regional competition, five schools emerged, having attained the score that was set as a benchmark.
‘Out of the five schools that emerged, they would be assessed again in an oral form and three schools would then emerge to represent the state. After the oral assessment, Unizik High School represented by Onyinye Juliana Okafor came first, followed by Bishop Crowther Seminary and St. Patrick’s College, Awka, represented by Nicodemus Chinaenweze and Chukwuemeka Victor Onyeka respectively, he stated.
One of the resource persons, Dr. Naomi Samuel, while presenting her paper on ‘The Use of Zoom in Teaching and other New Modern Facilities’, said teaching through the Zoom platform enabled the teacher to have access to many facilities such as films, videos, simulations, among others, to make the teaching and learning easy.