One of our members has been spear-heading a South African initiative to get youngsters excited about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) world at school and then as a chosen career. Called the STEMulator it is a free online ( virtual landscape full of animated content from pumping human hearts to power station turbines where youngsters can #Explore>Discover>Learn, the #HiddenWorldRevealed.

The project is an initiative of NSTF/proSET (professionals in Science Engineering and Technology) to ensure a pipeline of youngsters into technical vocations and careers. The project has been funded thus far from various trust funds and foundations but it will eventually operate as per the Wikipedia model and be freely available and free of advertising.

Says SAIMechE member, Richard Gundersen, “We are quite sure this is a unique offering and one of our current missions is to ‘tell the world about it’. There are six million school children between the ages of 10 and 15 in South Africa. Our mission is for every child to have the opportunity to explore the STEMulator and be made aware of a world they might not fully appreciate or have access to.

Urban and rural

“The landscape includes a school where we will house content relating to the official curriculum (global warming, green energy, robotics). There will also be a laboratory with video clips of scientific experiments, leaving educators to focus on explaining concepts without agonising over performing experiments for which they might not have all the requisite hardware.”

The STEMulator is distributed to rural schools on stand-alone memory sticks, avoiding connectivity and bandwidth concerns. There will also be a version loaded onto a (e.g. 1TB) server-router that can support >100 users simultaneously accessing pre-selected off-line content.

Entire world

SAIMechE, as one of the main backbones of the engineering profession, is committed to furthering STEM for the next generation. There will be many opportunities for companies and academics to contribute content (as per Wikipedia) to further augment and enhance the quality of the existing material.

Describing himself as the Chief Instigator, Richard concludes, “Although a South African project, the STEMulator is, in fact, relevant and available to the entire world. (See if you can find the olive-harvesting machine). Let’s spread the word!”

One Response

  1. Engineering and technology are the only wealth creators, unlike most other professions which dont create but provide services [used by engineers].

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