Innovative tool to educate high school students through research based learning
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The need for enhanced engagement of school students for better behavioral outcomes in line with scientific learning and acquisition of science process skills have continually incited educators to strategize innovative teaching approaches. Meanwhile, innovations and research from the scientific community has consistently been prioritized, demanding highly skilled STEM labor in the global market, henceforth challenging educators to brace the next generation with high proficiency in STEM fields. The research study focuses on an out of school approach that caters to the industrial demands in STEM workforce, henceforth acquainting the high school students with research methodology for improving their technical efficiency and intellectual capacity in problem solving and critical thinking. The study program was conducted on 208 students from public schools in Qatar, who participated in 68 research projects, each project being engaged by a group students during a period of 2 months at Qatar University research laboratories. The performance of participants were analyzed by mixed methods implementing both quantitative data based on questionnaires and qualitative data based on feedback interviews from research mentors, schoolteachers and the participant students. The results of the program yielded positive outcomes from the stakeholders as the school students gained competences exhibited by under-graduate or graduate students like research self-efficacy, research skills and aspirations for scientific careers, accomplishing the objectives of the program. This study program henceforth was successful in bridging the gap between high school and university, as the participant students had an advantage in confidence over their peers in university laboratories and technical writing assignments.
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