Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sarun Sumriddetchkajorn

Director, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center
National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand

Title: STE(A)M around us

Abstract: This talk emphasizes that STEM education is actually not the new approach.  It depends on how one sees things and is able to link them to corresponding subjects.  Apart from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Art is also important for learning and balancing our brain activities, thus leading to another approach called STEAM.  In this talk, examples related to things around us for STE(A)M learning are introduced.  In addition, results obtained from the use of an innovative polymer lens called MuEye are highlighted.

Biography of the Speaker:

Sarun Sumriddetchkajorn received his B.Eng. in electrical engineering with honors in 1994 from Khon Kaen University, Thailand. In 1996, he was awarded a Thai government scholarship and then joined the School of Optics/Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in optical science and engineering in 1998 and 2000, respectively, based on his work in fiber-optic beam control systems using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

From 1994-1996, he was an assistant researcher with National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC)’s Electro-Optics Laboratory, Thailand, in which he focused on embossed hologram processing and computer generated holograms. He worked at Nuonics Inc., in Orlando, Florida, USA, as a company’s first photonics engineer in 2001 focusing on the design, analysis, and test fiber-optic processors that utilized MEMS, liquid crystal, and acousto-optic technologies.

Since May 2001, he has rejoined NECTEC as a young active researcher and established Thailand’s first photonics laboratory. At his present position as the Director of NECTEC’s Intelligent Devices and Systems Research Unit, he oversees three research groups: photonics technology, MEMS and nanoelectronics, and optical thin film. For his research work, he aims to combine his expertise in photonics, electrical engineering, and computer programming to solve problems for medical, environmental, agricultural and industrial sectors.

Apart from his research work, he initiated the formations of the Optical Society of America (OSA)’s and IEEE-LEOS (now Photonics Society)’s Thailand Chapters in 2002 and later on in 2005 the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineer (SPIE) Thailand Chapter. In addition, he has put his effort in promoting optics/photonics to schools and general public by initiating “Shining-Spectrum-to-Society” project. During 2004-2005, he wrote a weekly article in Thai language about basic optics and its applications in daily life and published it in the BangkokBizNews newspaper to show to the public that optics is everywhere and it is not a difficult subject to learn. His weekly articles was also collected and published in a book entitled “Photonics...the miracle of light” in 2006 and so far it has been sold for 2500 copies.

Dr. Sumriddetchkajorn has received several awards. He is the only person to receive all three highly-competitive student awards from the three international optical societies: the OSA New Focus Student Award in 1999, the SPIE highest prize “D. J. Lovell Award” in 2000, and the IEEE-LEOS Graduate Fellowship Award in 2000. He was also awarded the 2003 Young Technologist and the 2004 Young Scientist in the field of photonics from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the patronage of H. M. the King of Thailand. In 2005, he was the only one to be awarded the ICO/ICTP prize from the International Commission for Optics (ICO) and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). He is now a senior member of OSA, SPIE, and IEEE.



Prof. Tairo Nomura

STEM Education Research Center
Faculty of Education, Clinical Study of Education
Saitama University, Japan

Title: Hands-on way of teaching based on Constructionism for STEM Education

Abstract: Recently in many countries, STEM Education is focused in school education even primary level. Usually STEM Education means that teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields especially for future workforce. But in our research project, STEM Education was defined for all people to live better in 21st century, especially improving problem solving ability more fluently, more adaptive in the real world. STEM Education injects various areas of knowledge, especially Scientific and Mathematical way of thinking and various actual technologies, to the process of problem solving to help finding modern alternatives of solutions. And another important point is that STEM Education introduces the concept of “Engineering” to problem solving situation. This concept is not only for specialist in the industry field but also very important for all people to be able to solve any problems in their daily live much better. So STEM Education is strongly connected to problem solving ability, and to implement STEM Education, the methodology of assessment for the resulting from STEM Education might be more dynamical and practical.

In our research project, according to above mentioned approach, hands-on activities – “making things” – in each lesson are used as both the tool of training better problem solving using STEM fields’ knowledge and skills and the instrument of assessing their achievement of how improve their problem solving ability. Especially those hands-on activities are designed to use Robot Technology to make various latest artificial things in our daily life, because now a days many things are consists of computer technologies so it makes these activities more real and exciting to motivate. Also the basic instructional design model based on our STEM Education approach is proposed and already designed several teacher training programs. Early practical research projects using this approach had been conducted in both Japanese schools and Thai schools, and this approach effects mainly attitude changing of studying Science and Mathematics subjects.

Biography of the Speaker:

Since Dr. Tairo Nomura received a PhD at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1999, he has been working as an Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Saitama University. At Saitama University, mainly he is teaching several classes related to the pre-service education to promote school teachers. His major research domain is Instructional Design based on Educational Technology approach. He conducted several research projects about the development and evaluation of new educational curriculum and materials in several domains such as Science and Technology, English, Mathematics, Technology, Home Economics and Music, Art. Some projects were international collaborative researches with India, Thai and several other countries. Also he is the chief director of “STEM Education Research Center” in Saitama University that he founded since 2001 and now he is the director. He wrote several research papers related to Instructional Design and Educational Teaching Methodology, and books related to robotics education and informatics education including the "Guidebook of RoboCupJunior”(2002), "The basic foundations of information and the competence of practical use of information 3ed edition"(2016), etc. Since 1994, he has been a member of the Japan Society of Educational Technology (JSET). What is more, he has been a board member of RoboCupJunior Japan since 2000 and an Executive Member representing RoboCupJunior of RoboCup Federation since 2009. Born in 1971 at Kochi, Japan.



Professor Thas (Ampalavanapillai) Nirmalathas 

Director - Melbourne Networked Society Institute
University of Melbourne, Australia

Title:  Internet of Things (IoT) – A real prospect for student engagement in STEM in schools

Abstract : With the rapid expansion of digital connectivity to every aspect of our lives connecting people, places and things that can sense or control activities in our both natural and built environment, digital data driven approaches will play a major role in our society. This digital transformation is essentially based on the STEM principles and can provide a platform for building STEM focused learning modules and programs to get students engaged in hands-on experimentation as well as helping them develop their basic digital literacy including coding exposure. By building simple platforms with compute and communication capabilities with integrated sensors and actuators, students can be given learning tasks around precision agriculture, environmental monitoring and connected homes contexts to develop data-driven experimentation and validation exposure. It will help students to understand how STEM disciplines are tackling big societal challenges and also educate them with STEM careers through a hands-on exposure. Using our latest research as the basis, this talk will highlight an IoT learning platform developed and the use of this platform to build data and visualization capabilities among students.

Biography of the Speaker:

Thas Nirmalathas is a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne, Australia. He is also the Director of Melbourne Networked Society Institute – an interdisciplinary research institute focusing on challenges and opportunities arising from the society’s transition towards a networked society. He also co-founded and provides academic leadership to the Australia’s first university based start-up accelerator - Melbourne Accelerator Program, aimed at cultivating entrepreneurship culture on campus and has already supported 24 startups.

Prof Nirmalathas obtained his BEng and PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and 1998 respectively. Over the past 2 decades, he held many senior leadership positions within the University of Melbourne including the Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He has also held visiting scientists appointments at NICT Japan and I2R Singapore.

He has written more than 450 technical articles. His current research interests include energy efficient telecommunications, access networks, optical-wireless network integration, internet of things and digital ever-presence. 

 He has held many editorial roles with the IEICE Transactions in Communications, IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology and Photonics and Networks SPIE Journal.