Biomedical Sciences (Bond University)
“Escaping” the traditional STEM classroom
Educational escape rooms are increasingly being recognized as an effective way to enhance STEM education by promoting student engagement and fostering 21st-century skills. These interactive and immersive learning experiences challenge students to think critically, problem-solve, and collaborate, helping them develop important skills such as communication, creativity, and adaptability. As such, educational escape rooms offer tremendous potential to improve the STEM curriculum and prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century workforce. By designing, developing, and evaluating educational escape rooms for various STEM subjects that can be realistically implemented on university campuses and in high schools, I aim to provide evidence-based guidelines for universities and high schools to use. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to produce a set of evidence-based guidelines for the design and implementation of the tool that can enhance STEM education and promote 21st-century skill development.
This project aims to contribute significantly and positively to the STEM education sector within Queensland in the following ways:
1. Educational escape rooms offer a unique and interactive learning experience that can improve student engagement and foster the development of 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. By providing opportunities for students to develop and apply these skills in a meaningful context, educational escape rooms can help prepare them for the challenges of the modern world.
2. The project's focus on designing, developing, and evaluating educational escape rooms for STEM subjects has the potential to impact the way these subjects are taught in higher education and high schools. By promoting more active and hands-on learning experiences, educational escape rooms can help students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and better prepare them for the workforce.
3. The evidence-based guidelines developed through this project can provide valuable insights for the creation and implementation of future educational escape rooms and other interactive learning experiences across various disciplines. The guidelines could inform the development of educational escape rooms that are tailored to specific subject areas, learning objectives, and student populations. Additionally, the guidelines could be used by educators to ensure that the educational escape rooms they create are effective and achieve their intended learning outcomes.
4. By evaluating the effectiveness of educational escape rooms and developing evidence-based guidelines, this project could contribute to the growing body of research on educational escape rooms. This research could provide insights into the efficacy of educational escape rooms as a teaching and learning tool, as well as best practices for their design, development, and implementation.
5. The use of educational escape rooms can help address the underrepresentation of women in STEM by providing a more engaging and inclusive learning environment. By designing escape rooms that incorporate diverse perspectives and showcase female role models in STEM, this project can help inspire and motivate more women to pursue careers in STEM fields.
6. Educational escape rooms can be designed to incorporate elements from different STEM fields, promoting interdisciplinary learning and helping students understand the interconnectedness of different STEM subjects. By fostering interdisciplinary learning, this project can help prepare students for the complex and rapidly evolving demands of the modern workforce.
7. Involving industry partners in the development and evaluation of educational escape rooms can create opportunities for collaboration between academia and industry. This collaboration can help ensure that the educational escape rooms are designed to meet the needs of both the academic community and the workforce, promoting the development of skills that are in demand in the industry.
8. By developing evidence-based guidelines for the design and implementation of educational escape rooms, this project can enhance the reputation of Queensland's STEM education sector as a leader in innovative and effective teaching practices. This can help attract and retain students, educators, and researchers to the region, contributing to the growth and development of the STEM industry in Queensland.
Growing up in Malaysia, I faced a lot of limitations when it came to career choices. There was a limited range of options that were considered viable, and as a young girl interested in the sciences, it felt like my choices were even more restricted. I knew that I had a passion for human biology and chemistry. During that time, I was told the only viable career path was to become a medical doctor, which didn't align with my interests. Despite the discouragement I received, I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Bond University on the Gold Coast. This allowed me to explore the various areas of biomedical sciences and figure out which area I wanted to specialize in. During my studies, I discovered the field of pharmacology, which I immediately fell in love with. I was fascinated by the way different drugs could affect the body, and how pharmacologists played an essential role in developing new treatments for various diseases. I approached my pharmacology lecturer and began volunteering in the lab, which opened up new opportunities for me to learn and grow. Through hard work and dedication, I was able to pursue a Masters of Science by Research degree which was upgraded to a PhD. This was a great achievement for me. Completing my PhD was a challenging journey that required me to push myself to my limits, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Following the completion of my PhD, I started working as an Assistant Professor. It allowed me to use my expertise to help educate and inspire the next generation of scientists. I believe that my story makes me a good role model for young girls interested in pursuing a career in STEM. I have shown that it is possible to overcome limitations and pursue your passions, even in the face of discouragement. I have demonstrated that there are many different paths to success, and that it is possible to navigate the challenges that come your way with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn. My journey demonstrates persistence, determination, and resilience in pursuing my passion for science and this quality can be a powerful inspiration for girls and women who may face similar challenges. Furthermore, I have always been open to new opportunities and did not limit myself to a particular career path and explored different options, rather than feeling restricted by societal or cultural expectations. Additionally, I have actively built relationships with potential collaborators and mentors in my field, demonstrating the importance of networking. This can be a powerful message to girls and women, who may sometimes be hesitant to reach out to others for help or support. My dedication to my field and my desire to make a positive impact in the world have allowed me to achieve a level of success that I never thought was possible. I hope that my story can inspire young girls to pursue their passions and make their mark in the world of STEM.
As a passionate advocate for promoting women in STEM, I have actively worked towards building a supportive community for women in science. I am an active member of the women in STEM group within the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine at Bond University. My active involvement in this group, as well as my role as an advocate for equal career opportunities for women in the science field, has helped to create a more inclusive and empowering environment for women pursuing careers in science. I have written multiple articles on my experience to encourage women, particularly younger girls in high school to pursue their interest in science education (e.g. Alliance of Girls’ School Magazine page 88 - https://www.agsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/IA-2019_WEB.pdf and Bond University Women in STEM blog - https://bond.edu.au/blog/women-stem-dr-iris-lim). Through my written work, I have shared my personal experiences and encouraged younger girls in high school to pursue their interest in science education. By doing so, I played a crucial role in inspiring the next generation of female scientists and helping to address the gender imbalance in STEM fields. I am also currently an active organising committee member of the Bond University Women’s Network which is an inclusive network of women and those who value and respect women. Through my involvement in this group, I empower women to connect and make a difference, instilling a sense of compassion, care and community as respected and valued members of the Bond University community. We organise events that endeavour to support and assist women with their own development, as well as providing a forum to promote all causes for the betterment of women and families. In each of these events, we fundraise for a range of charities that support women. I led the organisation of the recent event, where we hosted an International Women’s Day Breakfast attended by more than 200 participants, including young girls from high schools on the Gold Coast and their teachers. This event served as a platform for inspiring and empowering young girls to pursue their interests in STEM and provided an opportunity for them to connect with women who are already working in the field and we raised more than $2000 for the Malala Fund which supports education for women and girls. Additionally, I am the social media director for our network’s account, and I consistently promote our events to raise awareness and attract more women to our community. By creating engaging content and sharing our experiences and achievements, we are inspiring and motivating women to pursue their goals in STEM. As a part of my commitment to promoting women in STEM, I have also mentored several female students within Bond University who have shown interest in pursuing a career in science. I believe that mentoring is a vital aspect of career development, and I strive to help young women overcome challenges and reach their full potential. It is essential to have a supportive network of mentors and peers who can provide guidance, especially in male-dominated fields like STEM.