Mind & STEM Festival goes virtual for the first time

Mind & STEM Festival goes virtual for the first time

Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement (MMLM), together with Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) and UTAR organised Virtual Mind & STEM Festival 2021 from 3 July to 7 July 2021.

This year’s Festival was designed to take participants on a virtual journey to experience, engage and explore the power of mind and STEM

The Mind & STEM Festival is a major annual event that highlights the role mental literacy and STEM plays in shaping lives and the future. However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the festival was put to a halt last year. This year the festival team pulled together to make the festival more accessible to people by moving away from its usual in-person event content to a virtual event experience, bringing the participants “face-to-face” with mental literacy and STEM relevant activities on their smart devices.

The Festival featured an exciting line-up of interactive events and activities that took the participants on a journey to experience, engage and explore the power of STEM. It also aimed to promote various techniques and skills pertaining to the improvement of mental literacy as well as to provide the opportunity for all ages, be they a young student or a retiree to learn ways to improve and sharpen their minds.

A highlight in the festival programme—the opening ceremony of Virtual Mind & STEM Festival 2021 was launched on 3 July 2021. Delivering a speech at the ceremony were Chairman of MMLM Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik; UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat; Secretary of MMLM Committee, Co-Chairman of KLESF Steering Committee and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) President Prof Ir Dr Lee Sze Wei.

Tun Ling hopes that all the attendees will benefit from the virtual Festival

At the sharing session, Tun Ling expressed his warm welcome to all the distinguished guests, partners and participants. He said, “Mind & STEM Festival is a virtual platform that provides an online education platform for learning, at the same time enhances the awareness of the public on the role and importance of STEM and social economic well-being and sustainable development. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Mind & STEM Festival is an initiative to introduce and promote various techniques and skills pertaining to the improvement of mental literacy such as memory skills, thinking skills and creativity as well as to enhance primary and secondary school’s interest in STEM. Aside from that, this festival also imprints the importance of mental literacy among the public for the nation's growth and development, and to create awareness about the human mind and its unlimited potential.”

He added, “I am confident that this year’s festival will make a helpful contribution in promoting mental literacy and will be a great experience for all those who attend it.”

Prof Ewe explaining the importance of technology and innovation

On the other hand, Prof Ewe presented his speech about the 4th Industrial Revolution and Human Capital Development. He talked about the digital revolution, saying that it is possible to go beyond the constraints of physical needs and it could bring a much bigger space for technological advancement and development. “From the early agricultural revolution until now, there has been an increase in terms of the requirement of knowledge for the workers. That means, we can expect that during the 4th Industrial Revolution, we not only have to know more about knowledge but need to be a knowledge worker with a growth mindset and empathy,” he said. As the nature of work changes with automation, he said that humans need to go to a higher level by not just having knowledge but also developing intelligence and wisdom in order to continue to have a job.

Furthermore, Prof Ewe presented how Silicon Valley continues to be innovative with its ecosystem of talent development with a growth mindset. He also shared the great achievements of the 20th century that changed the world and presented some products that were rapidly replaced because of disruptive science and technology innovation. He mentioned that the new waves such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, 5G, robotics, the internet of things, blockchain, and quantum computing are STEM-based. “That’s why STEM education is important. If you’ve set up a good fundamental in learning STEM, that will help you to prepare yourself for future work and future world,” he said.

He also highlighted the importance of the convergence of technology and shared the challenges of 21st-century education. “A generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would last their students a lifetime. But nowadays with new technologies and new knowledge, the ability to learn, the ability to know what to learn, the ability to face challenges and come out with solutions are very important. Don’t be pleased with just learning knowledge but try to see how you can develop your thinking skills and soft skills besides knowledge,” he said. He mentioned that everyone should have balanced development in the three learning domains—the cognitive, affective and psychomotor. He also stressed the importance of focus, as well as STEM education with human value (STEMpathy). 


Prof Lee sharing his experience and ways of enhancing memory

In his remarks, Prof Lee shared his experience in terms of being able to learn knowledge and skills in a more effective way by maintaining and developing a good and strong mind. He explained that one has to first understand their brain’s strengths and weaknesses, “I find my brain is reasonably good in analytical and logical thinking. At the same time, I find myself weak when it comes to memorising numbers. Therefore, I came to understand that in order for us to be able to remember numbers and data effectively, we need to add relationships or contacts into the numbers. I learned this method and I applied it to certain circumstances.”

He mentioned that human brains tend to be less effective when one continuously does monotonous things. “You have to add variety into your study time, making it more diverse in terms of using your brain. Also interlope your learning time with some physical activities,” he said. Besides, he also advised the participants to keep their minds healthy and strong by having a good and balanced diet. “The most energy-consuming organ in our body is our brain. It consumes a lot of calories and it needs a lot of nutrients to power up and fully function to its maximum potential,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of maintaining close social interaction with family, friends, peers and teachers, and he said, “We need social interaction in order to maintain a good functioning mind.” He added that even during the Covid-19 pandemic where all had to maintain social distancing with limited social activities, people still maintained social interaction by sending messages to each other. He also advised participants not to simply believe and share misleading information about the Covid-19, especially through non-stream social media. He expressed his hope that everyone would keep themselves safe and healthy during this challenging time.

From left: Wong, Teo and West Wong during the forum

The ceremony then continued with a virtual forum discussion themed ‘Maximise your mind power through the virtual world’. Moderated by Malaysian Human Calculator West Wong, the forum was delivered by Grandmaster of Memory Wong Wan Jiun and President of Malaysia Memory Sports Organisation (MMSO) Teo Kim Foo. Wong and Teo, the two great minds, shared and discussed their thought and memory techniques in the forum. To see the full video that was held on 3 July 2021, click here.

As always, the Festival connects its participants to an inspiring array of voices. It featured a programme packed with free webinars and online activities brought by notable speakers and guests. To know more about the free webinars and online activities from 3 July 2021 to 7 July 2021, click the following links:

Numeracy with SMART brain power by West Wong

Instant Focus - Manage Distractions Effortless by Anant Kasibhatla

Developing Social, Emotional and Ethical Literacy through SEE Learning by Brendan Ozawa de Silva

How to Boost your Memory by Wong Wan Jiun

Quality of Education through Mind Skill by Teo Kim Foo

Magic of Memory by Jeyaraman

STEM Cube Webinar by Eric Tan Lee Teck 

Origami Revolution is here. What you need to know to excel in the next 20 years by Kenneth Ch'ng

STEM Webinar: HANONA Board by Nurul Nadia binti Ismail

STEM Webinar: Fun Learning Through Minecraft by Goh Kok Ming

STEM Webinar: Chemistry Open Mic by Marziah binti Mohamad

STEM Webinar: Make My Own Ginger Milk Pudding by Dr Ong Kiat Ju

Mind Mapping for Effective Learning and Thinking by Paul Chan Kum Hoe

STEM Webinar: Competition Advantage through Innovation - Past, Present and Future by Ts Dr Lee Chen Kang

STEM Webinar: Do You Mind Eating Plastics? I Mind! by Lee Chee Heong

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