Stars and STEM Stories
First Teacher Training Workshop Takes Place in GLOBE Bhutan – “Milestone in Scaling Up Efforts to Engage Youth”
Hands-on exercise on cloud observation and classification during the cloud protocol training session
In January 2022, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the GLOBE Asia and Pacific Regional Coordination Office (RCO), the GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO), and the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research (GLOBE Bhutan) the first teacher training workshop to implement The GLOBE Program introduced – and engaged – teachers from 12 schools in Bhutan.
The online workshop started with a welcome address by Shacha Dorji, Director, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research. In his address, Dorji said, “Bhutan GLOBE has come into force with the signing of the Diplomatic Note between the Royal Government of Bhutan and U.S. State Department in May, 2021. With it, Bhutan joined GLOBE as the 125th GLOBE country.”
“We consider this as one of the milestone in terms of scaling up our effort to engage youth in the STEM education and understanding of the Earth system from the local to global context,” the director said.
“Recently, the Bhutan education system has undergone a major shift in view of preparing the youth for the 21st century’s opportunities and challenges. We understand that GLOBE is a crosscutting program that involves atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and pedosphere study; and offers unique opportunities to enhance STEM education in Bhutan.”
“While GLOBE builds the global network of future STEM professionals, we also believe that it will set the foundation for international partnership in research, education, and innovation. The level of effort that the trainers have put into the effort, the icy roads that all teachers have traveled through, and the commitment from GIO, truly underscores the importance of this training and our effort to address shared challenges. Let’s keep up the same sprit!"
Following this welcoming address, GIO Director Dr. Tony Murphy presented a keynote address, during which he said, “We are very excited that Bhutan is joining The GLOBE Program, and we are looking towards the stewardship and fostering of environmental awareness that is both local and global.”
Dr. Desh Bandhu, Coordinator for the Asia and Pacific RCO welcomed Bhutan as a new GLOBE country in the region, and said that Bhutan can count on help from the RCO in implementing and strengthening The GLOBE Program.
Group of teachers working on GLOBE classroom implementation plan
During the online workshop, training was provided by master trainers, including Dr.Todd Toth, Dr. R.K.Garg, Dr. Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee, and Dr. Mullica Jaroensutasinee; trainings covered each of the four GLOBE protocol spheres. Teachers also received training on the GLOBE website, data collection, and data visualization. “During the workshop, GLOBE protocols were discussed in detail,” Dr. Desh Bandhu said. “On each of the protocols, the participants were provided theoretical knowledge by respective experts, followed by the practical, hands-on activities.”
Providing feedback on teacher's presentation on the GLOBE classroom implementation plan
“The main mission was to promote the teaching and learning of science, enhance environmental literacy and stewardship, and promote scientific discovery,” Dr. Bandhu said. “The idea of the program was to develop the capacity of students, facilitate activities and action projects to address local environmental issues through applied environmental education, and to help them understand the environmental concepts infused into the school curriculum.”
Group of teachers working on a student research project during a tea break
“The training program will help teachers in improving the knowledge and understanding of science, mathematics, and other innovative informative technologies. It also increased the teacher’s awareness and instilled a scientific viewpoint. The program provided a good opportunity for the participants to study and analyze major environmental parameters through simple but innovative methods/instruments. The program enriched the subjective knowledge of the school curriculum through hands-on environmental learning activities.”
Teachers presenting their group work on a potential student research project
“It was expected that the training would generate genuine scientific interest among the school community, and that the capacity-building initiatives would enable the schools to continue hands-on environmental activities.”
Director Shacha Dorji, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research, presenting teachers with GLOBE teacher training certificate
“After the completion of the training, teachers shared how they would implement The GLOBE Program in their schools, and what protocol they were most interested in doing.They came with their own ideas on how to make use of what GLOBE offers,” Dr. Bandhu said.
“From engaging in hands-on learning to the focused use of GLOBE apps, there was an endless stream of curious questions and brand new ideas. Teachers also brainstormed as to how they could collaborate with each other, and where they could get more resources and necessary equipment. As one participant commented, ‘I liked all the sessions, but to be specific I liked hydrosphere and all the protocols about the water quality measurements.’”
Changa Tshering, the Bhutan Country Coordinator, said, “Overall, it was a challenging and enriching experience to conduct the training virtually in the face of the current pandemic. A collective effort from all, GIO, the RCO, and trainers, lead to the success of this first GLOBE training in Bhutan."
Star Story submitted by Dr, Desh Bandhu, Coordinator, Asia and Pacific Regional Coordination Office; and Changa Tshering, Bhutan Country Coordinator.