1 Grand Valley State University/UNAN Managua (UNITED STATES)
3 Grand Valley State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 3391-3397
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1758
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
This is a case study of hope in education. It is what has happened over the last five years. At that time a delegation from Nicaragua was visiting in one of the author’s homes. After the breakfast dishes were cleared a young student brought out some materials to make solar panels. Everyone tried including the Rector of what is today Nicaragua’s largest University. The US student with help from class mates patiently led the Nicaraguans step by step through the process. Connecting the miniature solar cells, mounting them, attaching output connections, sealing them and then putting them out in the sun to dry.

The outside of the house looked a bit like a laundry for solar panels as the panels were placed in the sun to harden. The accolades of the Nicaraguans, and the emotion of the physics teacher who moved from book to application were worthwhile. A man who was educated in the second poorest country in the hemisphere with only theory and memory to guide him had his hands on real solar technology. He was touched by this technology as a symbol of applied learning. He was hungry for more and thanks to the work of one of the authors has been getting more with each exchange visit. The Nicaraguan professor is using Arduino in his physics classroom today. The passion to share knowledge with students, and the excitement of faculty for continuing to learn is focused on in the introduction.

The paper and presentation show how moving one step at a time there is a clear vision of empowering Nicaragua STEM students to have the tools necessary to make products that can-do things on their own, using sensors, and gauges, and electronic controls. You will learn how the simple lecture class is turned into an exciting hand on program. You will see how by expanding slowly a young US grad student and professor plans to help STEM education in a country that is not known for its technology. You will see how application can open the mind to think in new ways.

Today, despite the political turmoil that has brought education to a halt for four months the team forges ahead planning for a brighter future. If ten Engineering and Physics professors can learn Arduino this year then that offers the possibility that 800 young people may be exposed to hands on learning in 2019. The power of multiplication in education is impactful, if you can open the minds of professors and turn them onto new ways of learning in the classroom.

All three authors use Design Thinking, and this is part of the driving force for this process. You can not go very far in the prototyping stage if participants do not know how to make things work. This is about empowerment so that students and faculty can make their world better on their terms.

This is education at its core. Professors wanting to learn more to be able to better empower their students. This is the professorate at its ethical best when a busy young professional takes time to patiently work with and encourage a colleague from another country. This is interdisciplinary as this spans three or more disciplines and is all about working together to survive the hurdles in the path of change.
STEM, Nicaragua, Design Thinking, Prototyping, Product Development.