What does STEM education involve? Is it all about coding and programming? What are the core values that the STEM teachers are trying to develop in students? The trip to Future Creators Camp in Singapore gave an idea of the answers to these questions.

In August 2018, four members of Teach For Vietnam accompanied a group of six students aged from 12-15 years old to join the six-day Future Social Innovation Junior Camp, organized by the School of Gumption, Singapore. The students had previously been from our STEM Summer School, the first step of the STEM education initiatives in Tay Ninh by Teach For Vietnam.

Thanks to the partnership between Teach For Vietnam and the School of Gumption, six outstanding junior students from a small province of Vietnam were able to get the Mistletoe Scholarship Award, which funded their amazing trip to Singapore, making their dream to explore on of the most innovative countries in Asia come true.

As triggered by its name, the Future Creators Camp (FCSC) is a learning journey for junior students in which their creativity is unleashed by the Design Thinking process, including six steps namely Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Implement.

This consolidates what they have learnt about the Design for Change process from STEM Summer School of Teach For Vietnam (Feel, Imagine, Do, Share).

These two processes are both targeted at building innovative mindset for students.

In this sense, this camp is also a worthy opportunity for four members of Teach For Viet (two fellows, one Leadership Development Officer, one Community Engagement Officer) to learn more about innovative learning, community engagement and developing curriculum for the STEM Fellowship program.

A little model made from lego and clay by students in the FCSC camp

Not only the students but also the teachers from Vietnam and Thailand were all challenged and inspired to apply Singapore solutions to adapt and imagine a solution for their own nations. We learnt how to ideate and prototype the future we imagine, through making use of maker facilities such as hand tools, 3D printers, electronics and microcontrollers. This experiential and experimental learning process has empowered us to turn the craziest imagination into a visual and tangible prototypes

Students and teachers learning how to use the hand tools 3D printers

Students visiting and creating their own prototype at the MakerSpace Hub off the National Design Center, Singapore

Across the entire process, the “6C values” (Calm, Compassion, Courage, Curiosity, Commitment, and Collaboration) were integrated for the personal leadership development of participant. These values have significantly contributed to our growth mindset.

Throughout the six awesome days of the camp, our little Vietnamese students had the first-time experience to explore some of Singapore’s iconic urban landscapes, engage in dialogue with entrepreneurs, creative professionals and social innovators. Even as the kids, they were able to acquire deep knowledge and stories about the social innovations in sustainability, urban planning and human resource development.

A tour to Our Tampines Hub – the iconic complex of community inclusiveness for urban public buildings to learn about social innovation and urban planning

The most fascinating event was the MakerFair Exhibition on the last days of the camp. Students and teachers from Vietnam and Thailand had the first time ever opportunity to exhibit their prototype in an international innovative fair for designers, makers, entrepreneurs and researchers of all ages from Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, etc. As shared by one of our Vietnamese student, “This fair is just awesome, I saw some primary students confidently presenting and selling their products that they designed to people. Now I changed my mind that designing and innovation is for everyone, and I can make some models too, no mater how crazy it is”- said Hoang Ha Vy, grade 8. She is one of the little student from our STEM Summer School Tay Ninh who joined the innovation camp.

Such learning opportunity has brought about life-changing experience to our students. Coming back from the camp, they are still the little junior students who have long learning path ahead, but their mindset has grown, together with curiosity and courage to learn and create new things, with compassion to understand issues around them, and many other values that they acquired from the trip.

See more video at https://youtu.be/OTO9Roxf3BY, © School of Gumption

See more about 6C values for innovative mindset at http://gumptionschool.strikingly.com/

Thanh Lê – Community Engagement Officer