A popular ocean theme park in Hong Kong partnered with the Education Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; the Faculty of Education, School of Biological Sciences and Department of Geography of The University of Hong Kong (HKU); and the Hong Kong Association for Science and Mathematics Education (HKASME) to organise the The First Ocean Park International STEAM Education Conference.
60 education professionals from 11 regions including Australia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA share insights on STEAM education, inspiring teachers and educators to integrate STEAM elements in their work, and encourage the next generation to learn from different perspectives while taking part in environmental conservation.
The conference hosted more than 800 principals, teachers and professional educators from secondary schools, primary schools and kindergartens from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. It was officiated senior government officials, university leaders and industry magnates.
The aim is to strengthen STEAM education development by bringing together education professionals, researchers and education practitioners from Hong Kong and overseas who are keen to co-create the future of STEAM education. It is hoped that animal ambassadors, natural resources and attractions at the Park will inspire new STEAM educational ideas, cooperation opportunities, and promote academic exchange and value-added skills.
Keynote speakers include a leading Aerospace Engineer from NASA’s Goddard Space Center; a conservation science expert from the University of Exeter; the Founder and CEO of a company a Hong Kong-based maker group; and a professor from Murdoch University, Australia.
Awards were also presented to the winners of The First Ocean Park International Conservation STEAM Competition and the Ocean Park x HKU Hackathon, with the outstanding work from the two student competitions being showcased at the conference venue.
STEAM Competition showcases innovative solutions for global environmental issues
Ocean Park also ran The First Ocean Park International Conservation STEAM Competition to encourage STEAM learning.
The competition aims to stimulate students to apply their knowledge and skills in STEAM-related disciplines to solve real-life problems.
Students from around the world were invited to submit creative proposals with innovative solutions for global environmental issues. The theme of the competition was “STEAM and Marine Conservation”, with participants selecting one of three topics:
- STEAM Action – Propose technology solutions to clean marine debris and conserve marine biodiversity.
- STEAM Promotion – Create art products to promote marine debris reduction or biodiversity conservation.
- STEAM Public Awareness – Use technology (e.g. Virtual Reality) to raise awareness among the general public of the importance of reducing marine debris and conserving biodiversity.
14 selected teams presented their proposals at the Final Round Presentation on 20 June 2019. These include exciting creative projects which apply Virtual Reality technology to simulate real-time scenarios under the sea, enabling the public to learn about the oceans and the pollution from the eyes of marine animals; production of fish-shaped devices capable of identifying and recycling garbage under the sea with infrared sensors; and robots that can automate waste identification, location and sampling processes.
Ocean Park x HKU Hackathon – resolving operational issues at the Park with innovative solutions
An exciting undertaking co-organised with iDendron, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub of HKU, the Ocean Park x HKU Hackathon provided an invaluable experiential learning opportunity where students were given a week to develop innovative solutions for the Park in the fields of visitor experience, education and conservation.
Students challenged themselves to help resolve operational and relevant issues at the Park, working with professionals and academics to generate solutions within the theme park business environment.
The best solutions were pitched to industry professionals and winning students may have the enviable opportunity of seeing their solutions come to fruition and be implemented in the Park.