Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

Fostering Giftedness and Creativity: Implementing Engineering byDesign[TM] in Kuwait: Prior to This Partnership, Technology and Engineering Education Was Not a Part of Public Primary or Secondary Education in Kuwait

Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

Fostering Giftedness and Creativity: Implementing Engineering byDesign[TM] in Kuwait: Prior to This Partnership, Technology and Engineering Education Was Not a Part of Public Primary or Secondary Education in Kuwait

Article excerpt

In 2010, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) founded the Sabah Al Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity (SACGC). The Center supports Kuwait's Strategic Development Plan and the country's commitment to nurture gifted and talented youth. The Center also supports the work of talented adult inventors and entrepreneurs by providing financial support and facilities to assist with product development and the patent process. In early 2015, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) was approached by General Manager Dr. Omar Al-Bannai and Curriculum Coordinator Mr. Meshari Alnouri from the SACGC after reviewing other comparable programs to support innovation and design education at the Center. ITEEA, through the implementation of the Engineering byDesign[TM] (EbDr[TM]) curriculum, has since partnered with SACGC to further the mission of the SACGC: Contributing to build a Kuwaiti society that fosters giftedness and creativity. Prior to this partnership, technology and engineering education was not a part of public primary or secondary education in Kuwait. Kuwait teacher education programs do not prepare technology and engineering teachers. The relationship between the SACGC and ITEEA has founded technology and engineering education as a discipline in Kuwait and has drawn math and science teachers together in partnership to implement integrative STEM education for the first time.

ITEEA's STEM Center for Teaching and Learning[TM] (STEM CTL[TM]) conducted an on-site visit in July 2015 to provide facility evaluations, staff professional development, implementation strategies, and recommendations for curriculum modifications (Mentzer, Harms, & Reed, 2015). The ITEEA consultation team (Dr. Nathan

Mentzer, Mr. Henry Harms, and Dr. Philip Reed) toured the Fab Lab Kuwait (http://fablabkuwait.sacqc.org/) and six middle schools: two in Kuwait City (Neusaiba & Abdulla Hassan), two in Ahmadi (Sawda & Ahmed Meshari), and two in Jahara (Halima & Abdullatif). The tours included one school for boys and one school for girls in each location. The schools that were visited were comprised of basic rectangular classrooms with individual desks and chairs as well as a mixture of projectors, LCD panels, and whiteboards (Figure 1b). Each site also contained one or two computer laboratories with approximately 20 PCs, projectors, and a SmartBoard. The Neusaiba girls' school had the unique opportunity of utilizing a science laboratory including six lab benches with water, gas, and electrical utilities as well as storage cabinets and a mixture of supplies for Earth science, physics, and biology instruction (Figure 1a).

During the 2015-2017 site visits, the team was hosted by Mr. Meshari Alnouri, who facilitated the implementation and upkeep of the Engineering byDesign[TM] curriculum for the SACGC. The STEM CTL[TM]team met with SACGC administrators and English, science, and mathematics coordinators. The six subject supervisors reviewed the curriculum and shared examples of similar technological design activities that had recently been conducted within the gifted program. The SACGC administrators also spent a considerable amount of time educating the STEM CTL[TM]team on Kuwaiti cultural and traditional values. The ITEEA consultation team drew many parallels to the middle school Exploring Technology and Inventions and Innovations courses through tours around town to view architecture and discussions on water, utilities, solar energy, climate, and technological and engineering challenges that impact Kuwait. Discussions with the program administrators, as well as the mathematics and science supervisors, confirmed that these topics should be contextualized in these EbD[TM] courses.

EbD Implementation in Middle School: Planning and Professional Development

ITEEA's STEM CTL[TM] utilized the information from the July 2015 site visit to establish an aggressive EbD[TM] implementation plan with the SACGC, In September 2015, less than one month after the site visit, a 10-day professional development course was provided for SACGC teachers by an ITEEA EbD[TM] National Teacher Effectiveness Coach (NTEC), Mr. …

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