Does computation technology matter in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects?

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Background: STEM education and research are increasingly emphasized by governments worldwide to foster national development and productivity, economic competitiveness and societal wellbeing. There is no exception in Hong Kong, with its desire to promote STEM education and to strengthen Innovation and Technology development in the future.
Purpose: This study aimed to explore the STEM activities employed in primary students’ STEM projects under the theme ‘Living in a Smart City’, and to identify what and how computation technologies were generally used and to examine the differences of computation technology used among project types and award levels.
Sample: 168 project reports were collected from a STEM Fair with the following areas of content: the origins of the inquiry idea; scientific/STEM theories employed; inquiry process and testing methods implemented; findings and results obtained; difficulties encountered; and students’ reflections.
Design and methods: Content analysis on project reports and students’ reflections was performed. The qualitative data were coded for statistical analysis, to explore the differences in the association of the STEM activities in the projects. Analyses were supported by students’ reflections in the reports to explore students’ computation experiences.
Results: Most students worked on new device projects, and projects producing new devices were more likely to integrate technological activities. On the whole, science, engineering and mathematics activities complemented each other well, with less evidence of integration with respect to technology activities. Students gained valuable knowledge and got a sense of achievement from the STEM project work.
Conclusion: It is encouraging to find that students were capable of integrating STEM activities to different extents into STEM projects. It is noticed that more emphasis should be laid on promoting the infusion of computation technological activities. More attention should also be paid on providing computation technique assistance or logical explanation to students. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-250
JournalResearch in Science & Technological Education
Issue number1
Early online date03 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2023


So, W. W. M. (2023). Does computation technology matter in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects? Research in Science & Technological Education, 41(1), 232-250. doi: 10.1080/02635143.2021.1895099


  • Integrated STEM
  • STEM projects
  • STEM activities
  • Computation technologies


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