Building a UK-Mexico STEM Education Research Network

Last week, Stephanie Daza (ESRI) joined 20 UK-based and 20 Mexico-based researchers for a British Council Researcher Links and CONACYT funded workshop on Educational Dialogue and Transformative Learning in STEM Subjects at TEC de Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico. The campus is home about 30,000 students, as well as deer and peacocks.


Photo credit: Rupert Higham, Cambridge.

Below Felipe Eduardo Martínez Díaz, International Relations Coordinator, led the campus tour; TEC features impressive tiled murals by the artist Jorge González Camarena. Photo credits: Steph Daza



In university-industry partnerships, students at TEC work in interdisciplinary teams to create new products and innovations, at times participating in 24-hour hack-o-thons and resulting in new patents. The university has designed its laboratories and learning spaces to be open, collaborative, flexible, and fun. Some features in the space below included no walls (or glass walls), trampolines, tents, hanging chairs, a 3D printing lab, and moveable furniture. Photo credits: Steph Daza



The face-to-face workshop also had a Google+ community group “STEMk12dialogue” where members shared photos and information. Keynotes covered a variety of topics, such as dialogic analysis (e.g. Bakhtin), global STEM trends, and collaborative research. Many participants gave informal mini-talks about their own research. Each of us also joined two working groups. Steph participated in the globalization content group and the funding planning group. The funding group identified mobility and networking grants. Of note, Mexico is a partner country in UK’s Newton Fund to develop science and innovation partnerships. A special issue and an edited book are also being organized.

Additionally, we had the opportunity to visit local schools and explore the Horno III interactive science center. One program–Ciencias en la Familia—stood out for its quality, size, and accessibility. Working in partnerships with schools over the last eleven years, the program has supported 5000 families to complete six different science experiments a year at home. Families keep journal and lab notebook. All 66 experiments come with easy to follow instructions and use everyday, low-cost/recycled materials. Family science is inquiry-based learning about science; for example, families made robotic hands and air-driven cars. Below is the instruction page for a robotic hand made out of straws. Photo credit: Steph Daza


In addition to science content, parent and student testimonies discussed family science as play, communication, relationship building, study skills, literacy, and citizenship. The project is a model of citizen science or science and society. Three of the program’s developers/supporters were members of our group: Adrián Lozano, Cristina Reynaga, and María Cristina Moreno. Lozano, pictured here with the Head of School and parent participants, describes the project. Photo credit: Steph Daza


Part of our group posed with students in front of Ciencia en la Familia display. Photo credit: Cristina Reynaga, Cinvestav.


Meals were shared and provided opportunities for cultural exchanges. TEC’s award winning student dance troupe entertained us with traditional dances from the region of Nuevo Leon set to live music, also performed by TEC students.

Stephanie Daza

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