Wednesday, 21 August 2019 01:48 GMT

Texas A&M at Qatar, STEM school in science & engineering innovation

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: Texas A & M University at Qatar spent 16 weeks over two semesters working with the Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School for Boys to build a wireless communication system. It was done to encourage science and engineering exploration and innovation in young high school students.

The open-source project, TalkiePi, is a single-button, push-to-talk, Wi-Fi walkie-talkie that allows users to talk with their friends easily over WiFi. Beginning in September 2018, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experts from Texas A & M at Qatar's Office of Development, Engagement and Outreach guided students through the process of designing, building and testing their own TalkiePis to learn mechanical, electrical, programming and prototyping skills. 

Fawzia Al Khater, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, was keen to create a holistic school program. The academic school program includes university programs that are based on the provision of workshops, training programs and educational courses.  

She said: 'I was happy with the outcomes of the program and I did not expect the students to react with this level of enthusiasm. Motivating student and initiating a love for STEM were our targets in the first year of operation. That is exactly what happened with our experience with Texas A & M University at Qatar and was achieved a pace that we didn't expect. So we are now seeking to take further steps to expand after carefully examining the outputs of this year.

The collaboration began with an introduction to 3D modeling using 3D computer-assisted design software. Students learned the basics of 3D design by creating their own cases to hold the components of the TalkiePi. After the design process, the students learned the basics of 3D printing using Dremel 3D printers. The students created and printed test objects, which allowed them to practice their new skills before tackling the TalkiePi case, battery pack and personalization.

In the spring, the students began the semester with an introduction to electronics hardware. The students learned basic circuitry diagramming and prototyping using power supplies, resistors, LEDs and various other components using a solderless breadboard, which was then used to build and test circuits. After completing their circuit prototypes, the students were taught how to solder electronic components into a working circuit.  

Some students such as Abdulla T Al Fehaida began the school year and the course not really knowing what engineering is or what engineers do. 'When I entered this school, I thought engineering was just construction and buildings, Al Fehaida said. 'But after a few months in the school and during this course, I learned that there are many things an engineer can do and I learned the steps that go behind a project. We did a lot of hands-on activities and fabricated a walkie-talkie, and with all of the things we learned, I think engineering is so fun and I have a new perception of this. 


Texas A&M at Qatar, STEM school in science & engineering innovation


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