From September 2 to September 6, for the first time in Ukraine on the basis of NTU “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute” the XVI annual international conference on practical science “HSCI`2019” (Hands-on Science) was held. It brought together teachers, methodologists, popularizers of science, and students from about 15 countries of the world (USA, Portugal, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, Czech Republic, India, Ukraine, etc.). Among the conference headliners were specialists in the field of world-class STEM education. The participants attended more than 20 interactive presentations, workshops, demonstrations of experiments in various fields, participated in discussions, and exchanged experiences in the field of popularization of engineering and natural sciences.
The international conference HSCI`2019 started on September 2 on the basis of NTU “KhPI”. The opening ceremony was held with the participation of the university rector Yevgen Sokol, director of the department of science and education of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration (HOGA) Larisa Karpova, president of the Hands-on Science Network community Manuel Philip Costa, conference organizers, and participants from different countries.
“It is a great honor and joy for me to welcome to our university the participants of the 16th international conference on practical science “Hands-on Science”. We are proud that the KhPI was first hosted this international forum in Ukraine, bringing together representatives from the USA, Great Britain, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Japan, and Portugal. I am proud that there are scientists from NTU “KhPI” and teachers from all over Ukraine who are not indifferent to the future of our country: they popularize engineering education, science with STEM technologies among schoolchildren. This will help motivate students in the study of physics, chemistry, and other engineering specialties, the interest in which today needs to be increased. We must prove to our children that the natural sciences are the future”, said Professor Yevgen Sokol, Rector of the KhPI.
The director of the Department of Science and Education of HOGA (Kharkiv Regional State Administration) Larisa Karpova noted that such an event is important and honorable for the Kharkiv region. Here, participants can not only exchange new pedagogical technologies, experience in the field of popularization of engineering and natural sciences, but also develop international contacts.
The locations for HSCI`2019 were the audience of the university, as well as the creative spaces of the KhPI: Scientific Underground, Arsenal of Ideas Ukraine / Idea Space: Science & Museums. Here, over the course of a week, representatives of the education sector, popularizers of science, as well as students, discovered for themselves “Innovative education in science and technology” – the theme of the 2019 conference. It covered a number of areas: physics, chemistry, geography, biology, ecology, mathematics, and others. These were not just master classes and demonstrations of experiments, but an exchange of best practices in the field of STEM education, the popularization of technical areas, and natural sciences. In just a week, more than 20 diverse interactive meetings were organized. Here are just a few of them – workshops “Nanotechnology, bionics and scientoonics: a new hope to change the world”, “An Edible periodic table”, “Discovering Light. Interference and diffraction. & 3D Images and Holography ”,“ 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ”, lectures with demonstrations“ Basic in Electricity Kit (made with waste materials) ”,“ May the (Electromagnetic) Force Be with You ”. Note that the teachers of NTU “KhPI” were not only among the organizers of the conference, but also its headliners. They shared their experience in implementing the project for schoolchildren “STEMCamp School NTU “KhPI”, combining inclusive and STEM approaches in education, developing student science clubs. And the participants of the student scientific association “ELECTROLIUM” prepared master classes and experiments covering the fields of energy, physics, and ecology.
“The organization of the forum is excellent! At the conference, I had new ideas that I would definitely use in my pedagogical work. This is a great platform for the exchange of experience, best practices, and knowledge. Here I met many like-minded people, and teachers who are trying to attract students to scientific activities. Children need to be interested, carried away, accessible to explain the necessary information to them. I represent a small company that collaborates with schools in the UK. We organize workshops for schoolchildren (“workers’ workshops”), where they study natural sciences. At my native university, together with 12 teachers, I teach English school teachers how to conduct classes in the natural sciences. I’m coming to Ukraine for the fourth time and to Kharkiv for the second time. KhPI struck me with its grandeur, beautiful buildings, friendly and interested students. Kharkiv Polytechnic – a great place to study! During the conference, I organized workshops for adults and children, and previously held Skype classes as part of the STEMCamp School NTU KhPI project. It is pleasant to note that my Ukrainian colleagues use more practical exercises in their work. I hope for further communication with teachers and teachers from Ukraine both during meetings on such forums and via the Internet” – Dr. Denise Balmer, University College (London, United Kingdom) shared the impressions of the conference headliner.
According to the results of the international conference on practical science “HSCI`2019”, all participants received certificates. The organizers note that the main goal is to popularize science among young people and teachers, to facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences, and skills. And the president of the Hands-on Science Network community, Manuel Philip Costa, emphasized that it is important to always be open to new things, try to be “on the same wavelength” with students and youth.
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The annual HSCI conference was founded in 2004 by the educational community Hands-on Science Network, which includes educators, methodologists, and scientists from different countries. During its existence, it took place in Slovenia, Greece, Portugal, Brazil, India, Turkey, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Spain.
The Hands-on Science Network (HSCI) Learning Community is working to develop science education and science literacy in society. HSCI covers a wide range of teachers, from preschool to “adult” education, as well as leaders and methodologists, academicians and researchers in almost all fields of science from around the world. The network is aimed at the sustainable development of society, encouraging the use of innovative practical experimental approaches to science, technology, the environment of teaching and learning at school.
The abbreviation STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”. These areas underlie this educational methodology. Moreover, these disciplines are not studied separately, as usual, but in combination. Of great importance is the practical application of the knowledge gained. The child does not just get acquainted with new directions in the development of exact sciences and engineering, but learns to put into practice what he has learned. Students receive practical skills that can make life easier, for example, creating a “smart home”.
NTU “KhPI” actively supports and conducts activities based on the approaches of STEM education and aimed at popularizing the natural, engineering and technological sciences among children and youth. Since September 2017, the KhPI has been operating the interactive space Arsenal of Ideas Ukraine / Ideas Space: Science & Museums, which is adapted for people with special needs. Here, KhPI scientists and invited foreign experts regularly hold workshops, interactive lectures and developmental games for children and youth, including in the field of popularizing STEM education (STEMCamp School, Vacations with the Polytechnic University, Saturdays with the Polytechnic University, Science Days, International Day of Light, etc.).