Equipping Teachers of Quezon City Academy

Posted under best on August 23, 2019
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Last August 10, 2019, the Center for Integrated STEM Education in the Philippines (CISTEM) led the facilitation of a Design Thinking Workshop for 35 teachers of Quezon City Academy. The workshop was aimed to support and equip QCA teachers as the school prepares to transition itself to a Whole Brain Entrepreneurship High School aligned to 21st Century Future and information and technology (ICT) trends - a project led by Dr. Eduardo Morato, Jr. through Bayan Academy’s Bayan Educational Systems and Technologies (BEST) program.

Flood barriers. The teacher participants were challenged to create prototypes of a flood barrier   to stir up their creativity with the limited materials provided.

Dr. Sheryl Monterola of the Center for Integrated STEM Education in the Philippines presented the current Philippine landscape when it came to the workforce quality of the Philippines, and went on connecting the importance of STEM Education in improving the quality of the said workforce. To concretize one of the processes used in STEM Education, Dr. Mentorola and her team prepared a number of activities that exercised inquiry, creativity and critical thinking - skills needed throughout the design thinking process.

The program for the day focused on facilitating design thinking stages on empathy, problem finding, and idea generation skills using various techniques. The teachers went through the activities in teams of five members, and had the opportunities to create prototypes of free-standing devices, flood control system, sketches of their ideas and other interesting outputs.

Day 1 of Design Thinking Workshop. The challenged-but-happy participants pose for the camera after the first workshop day. 

The QCA teachers went through Day 2 of the Design Thinking workshop last August 17, 2019. Taking off from the ideas they generated during Day 1, the teachers used the ideas generated during Day 1 and practiced the skill of distilling ideas.

Dr. Ma. Nympha Joaquin lead the lecture on distilling ideas and the different techniques such as doing a creative pause, embodied cognition (using metaphors, manipulatives, and gestures), and other kinesthetic strategies. To practice one of the techniques of distilling ideas, Dr. Joaquin asked the teachers to go around the room, quietly read through the ideas generated from Day 1, and pick at least two ideas per person. When everyone was able to choose the ideas that appealed to them, Dr. Joaquin asked them to combine their ideas as a team and eventually come up with a grand idea, which shall serve as the proposed solution for each team’s identified problem/s.

The grand idea of each team, which was the team’s proposed idea, was then used as a reference for the exercise on assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of the proposal. 

Then, the teams were oriented about the process of prototyping and why it is important. From conceptualizing each of their grand ideas, and knowing the SWOT, the teams proceeded in creating the prototypes and posters for their respective grand ideas or proposed solutions.

              Piggy Pyro Bank. Designed to help students save funds for future use.

                                                             Tas Watch. Designed to help in time management and relieve stress.

        Therafe. A place of relaxation and fun for family bonding experiences. 

Each team had the chance to present their prototypes, posters, and make a pitch about their respective team’s proposed solutions. The poster-making was intended for the teachers to practice presentation of data, and a marketing exercise. Meanwhile, the pitch was intended for the teachers to practice the communication of their ideas. 

Posters and Pitches. Each team presented their posters and pitches to the whole group to exercise the skill of communicating the information relevant to the prototype they created.

Towards the latter part of Day 2, Dr. Joaquin provided a lecture on assessment and evaluation, and the possible criteria to be used when assessing the solution/s or project proposals. 

Then, a short session on self-awareness and mindfulness was conducted by Dr. Rosanelia Yangco. Dr. Yangco had facilitated activities on creating one’s own mirror through the use of foil paper, and to express one’s feelings through the use of clay. The teachers were provided time to share about their creations, and some made a simple panel mirror, a flower-shaped mirror, and a heart-shaped mirror. 

            Happy heart. One of the teachers creates a heart-shaped mirror in expression of how she wants to feel whenever she wakes up each day - love!

Dr. Monterola then wraps up the workshop by reiterating how STEM practices, such as the design thinking process, matters in nurturing the next generation by showing the skills on-demand in the future, and the STEM skills that educators should help their students develop.

As an ending note, Dr. Monterola encouraged the QCA community to have interdisciplinary projects, remember that the development of innovations are not limited to STEM subjects, and to create innovations in their respective subject areas

Quezon City Academy
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