Zayed University Research to Address Current K-12 Educational System Challenges in STEAM Fields

18 Feb 2020

Students from the German International School in Dubai (DISD) were hosted by Zayed University to attend a workshop, which is the first in a series, that will address challenges in the current K-12 educational system.

They visited the Mobile Digital Fabrication Laboratory in ZU campus in Dubai, which addresses educational challenges in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics through facilitating hands-on experience. The project aims to compare the digital and craftsmanship skills of pupils from various schools through upcoming future workshops.

The initiative came as a testbed for further development of the Research Center for Digital Fabrication (CFDF), which follows the directives of H.E. Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, President of Zayed University.

Dr. Thorsten Lomker, Assistant Dean Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, said, “I have recently applied for a research project with the Ministry Of Education that addresses the deficits we see with our current students (and former pupils) and tries to solve them through a fully-fledged mobile laboratory and a change of school education.” “Over three years, the research project aims at generating scientific data about the effect suchlike pedagogy has on local students from non-private, government schools.”

“We trained them in the use of a sophisticated 3D modeling program, to generate the sliced path for the laser cutter. As well as the cutting with the laser and the manual assembly of the objects (chairs and a vase). students performed well, and with little exceptions, it has been a great experience,” Lomker further added.

The Mobile Digital Fabrication Laboratory is an innovative educational tool to advance student learning outside of the regular classroom, in varying school locations. It mainly addresses the learning of local students from government institutions in the areas of Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing through mobile 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Robotics, CNC Machining, and other related technologies.

The MDFL is housed in an architecture that is a self-sustaining mobile classroom environment, that temporarily unfolds from a standard shipping container. Its underlying pedagogy makes use of the latest advancements in Information Technology and addresses Arab Digital Technology and other languages to increase the students’ awareness and capacity about STEAM education.

School Principal Michael Lummel, said, “By participating in the project as a direct practical partner, DISD hopes that pupils will have access to autonomous learning opportunities that they would otherwise not have in regular lessons. In the course of the digitisation of DISD and the development goal of DISD to become an excellent STEAM school, the mobile classroom offers pupils an excellent opportunity to try out technologies that are otherwise only available at universities.”

DISD sees this as an opportunity to increase interest in new technologies and new developments and thus to increase students' enthusiasm for this area. “The teaching staff also had an excellent opportunity to combine pedagogical skills with new technologies and tried out the possibilities and limits of this type of teaching and learning,” Lummel added.

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