Clarkson University Research Professor Dana Barry was invited to give a Keynote Talk for the 23rd International Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems. The conference was held earlier this month in Budapest, Hungary. Her Keynote Talk was titled “STEM and ICT Education in Intelligent Environments.” This session was chaired by Professor Hideyuki Kanematsu of the National Institute of Technology, Suzuka College in Japan.
Professor Barry began her presentation by describing STEM education and its importance. It is an interdisciplinary teaching and learning approach, where STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Countries wanting to strengthen their power and national status need enough qualified STEM graduates to creatively solve challenging problems, compete globally, and provide the scientists, engineers, etc. of the future. She mentioned that information communication technology (ICT) is very important for STEM education, especially since we are living in a digital age. It includes computers, software, and more. At this point, Dr. Barry displayed the book titled STEM and ICT Education in Intelligent Environments. She co-authored it with Professor Hideyuki Kanematsu. Their textbook (which contains information and activities for the real and virtual worlds) was published by Springer Nature in 2016.
Next, Professor Barry emphasized the need for motivated instructors to engage and encourage students of all ages to pursue academic studies, especially in the areas of STEM. She mentioned that creativity (which uses higher levels of thinking like synthesis) enhances the teaching and learning of STEM courses. Then she described her effort to address the concern of having a sufficient supply of qualified STEM graduates. Barry gave a successful, virtual workshop for creative teaching to elementary school teachers of young children. Her goal was to motivate the teachers and provide them with creative teaching methods and ideas, for preparing exciting lessons to turn their students onto learning. The workshop focused on Dr. Barry’s Creative Education program and its innovative teaching strategies that won national awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Her workshop (which involved the use of avatars) took place in Second Life (SL) on an island owned by Nagaoka University of Technology, Japan. Researchers there built virtual buildings containing virtual classrooms with tables, chairs, a podium, a whiteboard, etc. This classroom simulated a real-life learning environment. The participating teachers held brainstorming sessions, completed a survey, and used the creative teaching methods to prepare engaging lessons for their students.
The second part of Professor Barry’s Keynote Talk focused on the technologies to dominate STEM education and her prediction for the classroom of the future. She discussed a variety of technologies including mobile apps, online learning along with massive open online courses (MOOCs), virtual /remote laboratories, 3D printing, Google Glass, gaming/gamification, flexible displays, the Internet of things, machine learning computers, biometrics, and robot assistants. As for the classroom of the future, Dr. Barry predicted that the classroom will use the technologies mentioned above and more. She thinks the room will be student-centered with an emphasis on comfort and flexible learning space, with private workstations for individual tasks and collaborative workstations for group projects. Special desks, designed for students who like to stand, will be available too. The room will include EXO desks (desks with apps on their surface) that can be used as computers. A robot will provide lecture material and a teacher will be there as an assistant. Flexible assignments will be provided to accommodate different learning styles. Assignments will be completed online and uploaded through classroom portals. Also, teachers, parents, etc. will communicate through social media.
In addition, Dr. Barry served as Chair for the conference session called Active Learning Using ICT for Smart Education. At this session, she presented the paper STEM Activities for Exploring Mars Using Innovative E-learning (by Barry et al. and to be published by Elsevier). Dr. Barry also attended the University of Budapest with her collaborator Professor Hideyuki Kanematsu, who gave a presentation about their work with biofilms (sticky matter, like that on our teeth, which is produced by bacteria to protect them from antibiotics, etc.). Kanematsu and Barry have a textbook (Biofilm and Materials Science) that was published by Springer in 2015.
Professor Barry received an award certificate for her excellent Keynote Talk at the conference’s farewell dinner.
Dr. Barry is a Research Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Clarkson University, a Professor and Scientific Board President for Ansted University, and a Professional Tutor at SUNY Canton. She is an officer and a Chemistry Ambassador for the American Chemical Society (ACS) and has many honors and publications to her name.