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  • Journal Articles

    1. Primary school students' interests in STEM careers: How conceptions of STEM professionals and gender moderation influence
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2020
    Publisher: Springer Netherlands
    This study assessed elementary school students’ conceptions of STEM professions and its potential influence on STEM career interest, as well as the moderation effect of gender on the relationships between conceptions of STEM professionals and career interest in STEM. A total of 216 grade 3 through 5 students in Hong Kong participated in this study. They were asked to draw images of professionals in specific STEM areas, and complete questionnaires about their conceptions of STEM professionals and interests in STEM careers. Drawings were analyzed using graphic content analysis, and survey data were analyzed using moderated hierarchical regression analysis. Analysis of drawings showed that the students had inadequate understanding of engineers or scientists in the air, food, and water area. Boys were more likely to hold gender-related stereotypes about STEM professionals than girls. Analysis of survey data revealed that students’ views about STEM career implications, STEM professionals’ personal aptitudes, and social relations significantly predicted their STEM career interest. Gender significantly moderated the association of Social relations and Interest, meaning that compared to boys, girls might express higher STEM career interest when they more strongly believed that STEM professionals are able to build good social relationships with others. This study has implications for the design and implementation of pertinent lessons on STEM for elementary schools. Copyright © 2020 Springer Nature B.V.
  • Book Chapters

    2. Enhancing pupils’ pro-environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours toward plastic recycling: A quasi-experimental study in primary schools
    Document Type: Book Chapters
    Pages: 159-188
    Year published: 2019
    City published: Singapore
    Publisher: Springer
    To tackle the serious problems caused by plastic wastes, it is critical to develop new plastic recycling beliefs and behavior, together with recycling skills (4 important steps of recycling: cleanliness, separation, compression, and sorting) of the plastic wastes in environmental education (EE). The study revealed the effectiveness of a plastic waste recycling program adopting an action competence approach with educational interventions using a new plastic waste recycling bin (PRB). The PRB allows further classification of plastic waste types. Seven primary schools in Hong Kong participated in the program. A total of 313 questionnaires which assessed pupils’ classification knowledge, behaviours of plastic waste recycling, and their pro-environmental attitudes in terms of New Environmental Paradigm were received. Semi-structured interview with 27 pupils from the schools were also conducted. Recycling performance (actual behaviour) of using the brown bins (general plastic recycling bin) and the PRBs in the schools was assessed as the evidence of action competence in plastic waste recycling. Comparing the schools which adopted programmes with a combination of two types of recycling bins (brown bin vs. PRB) and interventions (Poster vs. half/full training courses to teach the recycling knowledge and skill), both quantitative and qualitative results showed that learners of the program enhanced their recycling knowledge (K), attitudes (A), and behaviour (B) concerning plastic waste recycling. The recycling performance proved that there is a statistically significant change in the recycling steps, separation and compression. The study provides insights for environmental educators to develop strategic solutions to ease environmental issues as well as putting these actions into practice in schools. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
  • Journal Articles

    3. Multimedia e-learning and self-regulated science learning: A study of primary school learners’ experiences and perceptions
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2019
    Publisher: Springer Netherlands
    Multimedia-supported e-learning is considered useful as it can offer an enjoyable independent learning experience to learners. However, the effectiveness of e-learning for self-regulated science learning is still inconclusive. This study aimed to explore primary school students’ perceptions and experiences of self-regulated science learning in a multimedia-supported e-learning environment. A total of 11 classes from grades 3 to 6 from four Hong Kong schools participated in this study. All e-learning lessons were observed, and 33 (3 from each class) were interviewed using cognitive walkthroughs of how they made use of the multimedia resources and system tools, scaffolds, or prompts to direct their own learning in each of the three self-regulated learning phases (forethought, performance, and reflection). Results revealed that the combined use of the discussion forum and statistics table seemed to facilitate the students’ diagnosis of their prior knowledge of natural phenomena in the forethought phase. In the performance phase, the students mostly enjoyed learning with the graphic data, animations, and/or simulation experiments. Some perceived the prompts or tools from the e-learning system as useful for operation and science learning. In the reflection phase, the students self-assessed their learning using quizzes with emoticons as positive feedback which seemed to increase their enthusiasm for learning science. However, not all students were able to effectively use the system tools or prompts, to keep focused self-discipline, or to achieve deeper science learning without the teacher’s guidance. Hence, this study suggests providing more opportunities for students’ exposure to e-learning resources, while at the same time assisting them in the use of digital tools or resources, in adjusting their learning strategies, and in internalizing scientific ideas and inquiry processes so as to ensure more effective self-regulated science learning. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature
  • Book Chapters

    4. Primary science education in Hong Kong
    Document Type: Book Chapters
    Pages: 19-48
    Year published: 2018
    City published: Cham
    Publisher: Springer
    After a brief overview of the basic education in Hong Kong, this chapter illustrates the historical development and changes of primary science education that have taken place in Hong Kong over 50 years. Following this, efforts are made to describe the current primary science education as integrated in the course General Studies, pupils’ informal learning opportunities in science events as extracurricular activities, and the status of science teacher education. A review of the research is conducted on the implemented curriculum which reflects the concern of Hong Kong science educators regarding primary pupils’ science learning. The final section focuses on discussing three recent trends in Hong Kong primary science education, i.e., STEM education, IT in science learning, and education for environmental sustainability. Copyright © 2018 Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.
  • Journal Articles

    5. Environmental education in primary schools: A case study with plastic resources and recycling
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Source: Education 3-13, 2018
    Year published: 2018
    Publisher: Routledge
    This paper aims to examine teachers’ use of strategies and approaches in integrating Plastic Resources Education (PRE) into primary school life in order to overcome the challenges encountered during implementation to promote environmentally friendly practices. Case studies with eight Hong Kong teachers from PRE-participating primary schools were invited to take part in focus group interviews, to explicate their personal stories and experiences associated with the PRE implementation in primary schools. Based on the data collected from the teachers’ sharing, several challenges which are commonly reported in the previous literature, including lack of time, shortage of manpower, and insufficient pupil engagement were found. The teachers tackled the barriers by using different strategies to improve pupils’ involvement as well as getting support from the relevant stakeholders of school management and parents. The case studies provide crucial and relevant information which can be used as a reference for other schools to integrate PRE more efficiently to facilitate learning. Copyright © 2018 ASPE.
  • Journal Articles

    6. Inquiry science learning and teaching: A comparison between the conceptions and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers in Hong Kong and the United States
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2018
    Publisher: Springer Netherlands
    International studies of science education, such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), have revealed considerable national disparities in students' achievements in science education. The results have prompted many nations to compare their science education systems and practices to those of others, to gain insights for improvement. Teacher training and professional development are key educational components that have not attracted as much attention as they deserve in international comparative studies. This study compares the conceptions and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) in Hong Kong and the United States with respect to inquiry science learning and teaching at the beginning of the semester before the start of the science methods course. PSETs' conceptions and attitudes in the two countries were compared by means of a questionnaire with both Likert-type and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and inferential statistics, while qualitative data were analyzed through the systematic categorization of PSETs' responses into broad themes and subthemes to reflect patterns in their conceptions of and attitudes toward inquiry science learning and teaching. The results revealed a complex interplay between PSETs' conceptions of and attitudes toward inquiry science learning and teaching. The results shed light on the effects of sociocultural contexts and have important implications for the design of science methods courses.
    [Copyright © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.]
  • Conference Papers

    7. Education reform phenomenon: The case of STEM education
    Document Type: Conference Papers
    Conference: WERA Focal Meeting & HKERA International Conference 2017 (WERA-HKERA 2017): Innovation, Reform and Education Change in a Contemporary World (2017: The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
    To maintain one's competitiveness edge in a global sense, we have observed a wide spread drive in various economies on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at different levels of education. The emphasis on STEM education originates in the US back in the middle of last century, since then tremendous input of resources and efforts have been put into STEM education for its development and implementation. The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region highlighted Hong Kong's commitment to STEM education in his three successive Policy Address in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Echoing this high level commitment were the reports on STEM education published by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government and the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong. Given these, there is still a wide spectrum of views as to the “What” and “How” of STEM education among stakeholders. While hero cases of STEM education and learning resources have sprung up in the past few years, we yet have to see sufficient research evidence to shed lights on the ways to scale up the initiative. This speech will attempt to reflect on the global and local lessons on STEM education.
  • Conference Papers

    8. Elementary school students' perceptions and experiences of learning with e-textbooks in the classroom
    Document Type: Conference Papers
    Conference: WERA Focal Meeting & HKERA International Conference 2017 (WERA-HKERA 2017): Innovation, Reform and Education Change in a Contemporary World (2017: The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
    The introduction of e-textbooks in elementary schools has attracted growing attention. However, whether the adoption of e-textbooks can bring meaningful learning experience and educational learning environment for elementary school learners is a concern for educators. This study explored elementary school students' perceptions and experiences of learning with a newly designed e-textbook named “Interactive General Studies” via iPads in the science classroom. A total of 15 pupils from 3 Hong Kong elementary schools were interviewed about their views on the usefulness and usability of the e-textbook after they learned it using a cognitive walkthrough technique. Results showed that the majority of the students preferred to use the e-textbook for it better facilitated students' interactions and collaborations and promoted their self-learning and self-assessment. Nevertheless, some indicated that they could not really learn about relevant science concepts through merely doing activities in the e-textbook without teachers' explanations. Some others reported that they encountered difficulties in using drawing, note-taking, or syncing tools, which may affect the effectiveness of the e-textbook on their learning. It is suggested that teachers may more directly scaffold students to discuss key science concepts while doing activities in the e-textbook. Moreover, teachers may provide explicit instruction for students to adopt the use of those tools to promote more effective use of e-textbooks for learning.
  • Conference Papers

    9. Analysis of STEM activities in Hong Kong primary students' inquiry projects
    Document Type: Conference Papers
    Conference: The 2016 International Conference of East-Asian Association for Science Education (EASE 2016): Innovations in Science Education Research & Practice: Strengthening International Collaboration (2016: Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan)
    The trend to extend science education to include STEM education in the US in the recent decade also takes place in many other countries in the world. In Hong Kong, the future development in education proposed in the Policy Address 2015 included: “The Education Bureau will renew and enrich the curricula and learning activities of Science, Technology and Mathematics, and enhance the training of teachers, thereby allowing primary and secondary pupils to fully unleash their potential in innovation (item 152).” However, the integration of science with technology, mathematics and engineering is still to be established and further research along this line is necessary. Therefore, this study attempts to analyze the written reports in an inquiry project event for a better understanding of STEM activities demonstrated by the primary students. The primary students’ inquiry project reports were chosen from those 140 teams (with 4-5 members in a team) with 1000 primary students who were aged 10-12 participated in the 2015 “Innovations in Science and Environment Studies” event in Hong Kong. Under the main theme of “Go Green at Home”, the participating teams had to present the processes and results of their inquiry projects and to submit a written report which recorded their ideas, methodology and inquiry processes and results. 10 project reports were randomly chosen from each group of outstanding, merit and consolation projects with a total of 30 projects being analyzed. Content analysis was first conducted to code STEM activities demonstrated in each project report. The coded data were then changed into numerical data for quantitative analysis. The results showed that more engineering and science activities were adopted than technology and mathematics activities in the inquiry projects. Outstanding group conducted more STEM activities than the merit and consolation groups and significant group differences existed in science and mathematics activities. Furthermore, science activities
  • Journal Articles

    10. Analysis of STEM activities in primary students' science projects in an informal learning environment
    Document Type: Journal Articles
    Year published: 2017
    Publisher: Springer Netherlands
    This study adopted a researcher-generated framework to analyze STEM activities demonstrated in primary students' science projects in an annual extracurricular event held in Hong Kong. Ten students' project reports were randomly selected from each of the three groups of 24 outstanding, 45 merit, and 68 consolation awarded projects. Content analysis was conducted to code the activities in each project. The coded information was then changed into numerical data for quantitative analysis. The results showed that, in general, more engineering and science activities than technology and mathematics activities were adopted by the primary students in their projects. More projects with the Outstanding Award conducted STEM activities than those projects with Merit and Consolation Awards, and significant group differences existed in the science and mathematics activities. Besides, science activities significantly positively related to engineering and mathematics activities. Furthermore, STEM-related content knowledge of discipline core ideas and crosscutting concepts were reported. This study sheds light on the pattern of STEM activities in students' science projects, and has implications for promoting STEM integration in primary education.
    [Copyright © 2017 Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan.]
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