Bernardo's cover image
Bernardo

Bernardo LEON DE LA BARRA

Year of Award: 2007 Award State: Tasmania Education > General
To study methods for improving the 'hands-on' teaching of science, engineering and technology education from primary school to university - Finland, Sweden, Norway, USA
Download

Bernardo was born and bred in Chile. He did his undergraduate Engineering studies in Chile and his PhD in Electrical Engineering at The University of Newcastle, Australia. He has worked as a full-time Engineering academic at Universidad de Chile, University of Technology Sydney, and the University of Tasmania. His current work focuses on ‘Integrative/Integrated STEM Education’; it seeks to design and implement learning experiences where students can visualise the close connections and synergies between the different fields that make up the STEM acronym – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The list below identifies the institutions Bernardo visited during his Fellowship: 

  • Finland: Heureka (The Finnish Science Centre), Helsinki; Tietomaa (City of Oulu’s Science Centre); and Arktikum (City of Rovaniemi’s Science Centre) Sweden: The National Museum of Science and Technology,
  • Stockholm; ‘Physics Toys’ Laboratory, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg; and Universeum, Science and Technology Centre, Gothenburg
  • Norway: The Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology, and Medicine, Oslo; and Vilvite (City of Bergen’s Science Centre)
  • USA: The Museum of Science, Boston; New York Hall of Science, NYC; Girl Scouts of the USA, NYC; SONY Wonder Technology Lab, NYC; Educational Equity Centre, NYC; City Technology Program, City University of New York, NYC; The Tech Museum of Innovation, San José, California; Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley; and The Exploratorium, San Francisco. 

These are some of the valuable learnings gained during the Fellowship: 

  • Close collaboration and long- term partnerships between STEM Educational Centres and Museums, Schools, Universities, Research Companies, and Business Corporations provide a fertile ground for STEM education.
  • Schoolchildren should be exposed to STEM as early as possible so that they do not lose their natural sense of curiosity and creativity.
  • After-school programs in STEM are increasingly popular in the USA as a way of introducing STEM in a fun and relaxed way.
  • Professional development opportunities in hands-on STEM education are crucial. Teachers can make a huge difference in the classroom.
  • Not only teachers and students are part of the equation. Parents and career counsellors also play a key role in encouraging students (especially girls) to explore and consider a future in STEM fields and careers.
  • Volunteers, after-school science clubs and related community-based efforts can really make a difference when it comes to complementing school- based programs in hands-on STEM education.
  • Low school science budgets are not a barrier. Student engagement in hands-on STEM education is also possible on a low budget. There are many resources (printed and online) that cater for this.
  • The teaching of Physical sciences at school level could benefit greatly from using engineering applications to engage teachers and students. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

Related fellows
Malcolm McINERNEY, Malcolm
Education > General
2007
Arron WOOD, Arron
Education > General
2007
Robert JONES, Robert
Education > General
2007
Hilda MacLEAN, Hilda
Education > General
2007
Allan BLAGAICH, Allan
Education > General
2007
Cheryll KOOP, Cheryll
Education > General
2007
Lynette DOPPLER, Lynette
Education > General
2006
Juanita CADDY, Juanita
Education > General
2006
Bernard HOLLAND, Bernard
Education > General
2006
Judith PETCH, Judith
Education > General
2006