June 2019
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AR and VR in STEM Education

Posted: June 7th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

My student Ryan Lin and I are working on introducing Google Tours to future STEM teachers. We think this technology has a lot of potential in a STEM classroom as it allows to connect Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into science teaching. This is something that our students are exposed to in their lives. So to help future teachers, we created a video on the use of Google Tours in STEM education. We hope you find it useful.

ISfTE 2019 Conference

Posted: June 5th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

The photo of the participants of the 2019 International Society for Teacher Education conference (May 12-17, 2019)

I have been very fortunate to attend the ISfTE 2019 conference. This was a very special experience for me for at least three reasons. First of all, this was a new community for me. It is a truly international community of scholars and practitioners who work in teacher education. Hearing ideas from the colleagues from so many countries was very interesting. As far as I remember, the countries represented at the conference were: Canada, USA, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Bhutan, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Kenya, Nigeria, S. Africa, Brazil, India, Australia, etc. The second feature of the conference that blew me away was the organization of the conference in the form of a working group workshop. We were working on our paper drafts with colleagues in order to produce publishable papers as the result. To me it was very productive and useful. What a big difference with the “traditional education conferences”. The third feature is allowing us to explore the area where we were through organized field trips and excursions. This was amazing. And not only we had fun, but we got to know each other and we discussed each other’s work as a result. This was a great idea. I have to say how much I admire the work of the conference organizers from Brock University – Drs. Vera Woloshyn and Leanne Taylor. I will definitely try to attend this conference in the future. And now, my colleagues and I have to write the paper we have been working on and submit it to the August journal issue of the ISfTE journal.

CSSE 2019 at UBC

Posted: June 5th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

On June 1-6, 2019, UBC hosted the conference of the Canadian Society for the Studies in Education. This was very lucky for me and for many UBC graduate students who could attend a conference right at home. The Conference has a very active SERG  (Science Education Research Group) that organized a number of very relevant sessions during the conference. On June 5, 2019, I presented a talk at the  conference. The talk focused on innovative use of technology in STEM teacher education.


The session helped me learn about various ways of using technology in STEM education, in problem-based learning and in innovative technology use in museums. One of the interesting ideas I have learned is how to use or even to think about scaffolding when teaching online. As I teach ore and more online, I keep thinking about it.

UBC Celebrate Learning Week

Posted: May 1st, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

My team and I are very excited to participate in the 11th Annual UBC Celebrate Learning Week. We are presenting a poster on the 3D Learning project we have been involved in. We have been working on the OmniGlobe project with the UBC Pacific Museum of Earth, on Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) projects and many other innovations that we are going to implement next year in STEM teacher education at UBC.

Our presentation can be found here:  2019ubc_tlef_poster_Milner-Bolotin Final

STEM in Teacher Education: A Canadian Perspective

Posted: April 25th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I was very fortunate to be invited to be a part of an science education research panel at the University of Toronto Science Mathematics and Technology Centre. The panel was organized by Dr. Carol-Ann Burke and led by Prof. Douglas McDougall from OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education). The panel challenged us to think about the following question: STEM in Teacher Education: A Canadian Perspective. I enjoyed being a part of this panel very much and especially enjoyed the summary by Prof. David Blades from the University of Victoria.

Cross-Canada forum: STEM in teacher education – A Canadian perspective

Posted: April 10th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

On April 9, 2019 I was invited to participate in a very interesting panel organized by the OISE’s (Ontario Institute for the Studies in Education) Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Centre and the Canadian Science Education Research Group (SERG). These two organizations co-hosted this cross-Canada forum titled: STEM in Teacher Education – A Canadian Perspective. The panel was videotaped and I hope it will be of interest to many mathematics and science educators who are trying to understand what STEM means in the Canadian context. For me, it was especially interesting to think about the challenges of the STEM construct itself, its history and its future. I also tried to think how we educate our teachers and if we can expect from them to be able to teach in the way that STEM education suggests. The summary by Prof. David Blades was especially interesting. I hope my students will find it illuminating as well.

The description of the panel discussion was as follows:

Over the last decade or so, the STEM acronym has gained momentum as a hot new term in educational and public spheres in Canada. Despite the term’s ubiquity, education systems have been slow to formally identify ways in which we should approach STEM education, much less how we should conceptualize what STEM means in a Canadian context. Meanwhile, teachers are being prepared for classrooms where they are expected to introduce the STEM construct to their students. In the cross-Canada forum STEM in teacher education: A Canadian perspective, panelists and audience members will explore ways in which teacher educators in Canada are preparing pre-service teachers for this new avenue of teaching and learning while examining the potential challenges and affordances attending STEM education.

Panel members:

  • Jesse Bazzul, University of Regina
  • Karen Goodnough, Memorial University
  • Marina Milner-Bolotin, University of British Columbia
  • Christine Tippett, University of Ottawa
  • Carol Rees, Thompson Rivers University.

Afterthoughts provided by David Blades, University of Victoria

Moderator: Doug McDougall, OISE, University of Toronto; Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education.

Breakthrough discovery in astronomy: Press conference

Posted: April 10th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I wish this news were shared with the world on a global scale! This is huge!

YouTube Preview Image

STEM 2020 Conference at UBC

Posted: March 22nd, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

My colleagues and I have been working for month on organizing the next STEM in Education Conference here at UBC in the summer of 2020. This is the second time we will be hosting this conference here in Vancouver. This international conference is the result of the original collaboration between three universities: Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia), Beijing Normal University (China) and UBC. Now we have more partners and many K-12 teachers, STEM educators, STEM education researchers and educational leaders are planning to attend it. We are working on making it an exciting and productive conference for all the participants. Please check our website: share it with your colleagues.


41st UBC Physics Olympics – Reflections

Posted: March 11th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

This Saturday, on March 9, 2019 we held our 41st UBC Physics Olympics. More than 730 BC secondary students participated in the events. They represented 72 teams from all over British Columbia who worked tirelessly for months to create their pre-builds, prepare for the Fermi Question and Quizzics competitions, and get ready for the hands-on labs. We had teams from Vancouver Island, Nelson, Invermere, Kelowna, Whistler, Squamish and many other areas of BC. While the majority of the teams came from the Lower Mainland, many regions of BC were represented. While organizing and leading hands-on events for 734 students was a huge time and effort investment on behalf of the volunteers, faculty, students and their teachers, it was all worth it. I cannot even express how amazing it is to see so many teams figuring things out, working together and enjoying doing physics. For many students it was the first time they came to UBC do to physics.

This is an email I received from a Physics Teacher from Invermere, BC – Mrs. Tessa Reilly:

Thanks once again for all of the work you and your colleagues put into this event. Not only did my students have a great time, but it was a wonderful opportunity to boost their confidence. They tend to think that they have no chance at competing with “city kids” and don’t expect to succeed, but they are feeling a lot more positive about themselves and their futures at university now!

Tessa Reilly

Science Department Head and Teacher

David Thompson Secondary School

I was also so happy to see how many girls we had – it was a truly collaborative event where the students supported each other and had fun doing science:

Students are working on their timepiece. They had to design a device that can measure any given small time interval.

I also have to admit that I felt a little bit like “a physics grandmother” at this event. My own former students, who are now wonderful physics teachers all across BC came with their teams to compete. This was very special. I had ten of my former students in the event!

Students from Semihamoo Secondary School and their teacher Mr. Louay El Halabi celebrating their overall win – the big trophy is theirs for one more year!

We also had media on site and they interviewed the students who participated in the events:

And The Tyee:

I would like to thank all the volunteers, organizers, teachers and students who made this celebration of science possible! We are looking forward to the 42 event in 2020!

For more photographs go here.

41st UBC Physics Olympics

Posted: March 5th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

physics olympics-2019 poster

For the past half a year, my colleagues from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and I have been working together on organizing the 41st UBC Physics Olympics. This is an annual event that has become a tradition. It is also a unique opportunity to bring together physics teachers from all over British Columbia. I am proud to say that some of the physics teachers who bring their teams are my former students. This year, we are expecting 73 teams of students from all over British Columbia. This means that we will have more than 600 students from British Columbia (most of them are grade 11-12 students) who will come as teams to compete in hands-on events. This is a very unique event and only a collaboration of many faculty members, staff, graduate and undergraduate student volunteers can make it possible. We are also expecting guests and visitors. In addition, we are organizing a professional development event for physics teachers, who are accompanying their teams. This year we are going to discuss the challenges of the new British Columbia science curriculum. We hope it is going to be an exciting event. This is one of the traditions on UBC campus, I am very proud to be a part of. I am looking forward to it.

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