Industry players bring STEM beyond the classroom

Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Creative Mind’s TM Nano Maker Kit programme exposes school teachers and students to data logging.
By Rayyan Rafidi - December 18, 2019 @ 11:21am

AS an emerging technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), data logging involves collecting information to analyse specific trends in a system or network.

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), under its corporate social responsibility initiative, recently collaborated with Creative Minds — a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education provider ― to champion the TM Nano Maker Kit programme.

Serving as a unique approach to learning STEM, the programme introduced students and teachers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor to data-logging using a palm-sized data logger — an electronic device that detects changes in a natural phenomena with a higher speed and accuracy compared with analog methods.

Creative Minds operations manager Syed Abdul Hadi Syed Abdul Rahman said the wireless technology allowed students to undertake more challenging outdoor experiments.

“With the data logger, students can conduct experiments and collect relevant data, such as velocity, magnetic influx, as well as changes in temperature, air pressure and the air pollutant index (API).

“This programme enables students to maximise the use of technology in mathematics and science through data analysis, a methodology rarely introduced in STEM compared with domains such as robotics and programming.”

“We help schools by supplying them with the latest technology enablers and platforms to develop students with 21st century competency.”

With the concept of “The world is your classroom”, students get to explore the natural phenomena without being restricted to the classroom.

“There are a lot of limitations in the classroom to study natural phenomena. This is due to technological barriers, which inhibit scientific investigations.

“This programme aims to lift the barrier by using the mobile and easy-to-use data loggers such as PocketLab. Students and teachers don’t have to worry too much about the equipment and can focus more on learning and proving scientific concepts,” said Syed Abdul Hadi.

Syed Abdul Hadi Syed Abdul Rahman.

Students’ interest in STEM could be nurtured by encouraging exploration, he added.

“Compared with lab experiments, students are more familiar with the natural phenomena. They have grown accustomed to these without realising the scientific concepts behind them.

“By giving them the tools to investigate phenomena easily, students will have more opportunities in learning STEM. This will boost their interest to explore the field. Ultimately, we don’t want students who only understand textbook contents, but we want to produce future scientists who understand the world.”

True to the concept, the recent haze had provided an opportunity for students to conduct scientific investigations.

SMK Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh students recorded air pollution index (API) readings by conducting a data logging experiment in their school.

Student Nik Nur Ayuni Nik Rosni said: “The device was easy to use as I was able to relate the experiment to mathematics and physics, such as graphs, scientific formulae and data analysis. The scientific concepts become clearer when we learn about data analysis.

“If we communicate with the local authorities, we can document the results under a research initiative and disseminate the readings to local residents,” she said.

Students also developed an awareness of global challenges through the programme.

Suraya Mohammad Shariman said she used scientific knowledge to investigate real-world problems.

A Creative Minds representative (right) showing a SMK Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh’s teacher and her students how to use the data logger to obtain an air pollutant index reading.

“It was an eye-opening experience because the activity allowed us to relate to our school lessons effectively.

“For instance, we tabulated the data and generated a graph. From the graph, we were able to identify the API range in Sungai Buloh.

“There were many uncertainties due to factors like wind direction, test location and hand movements that may affect data collection. So, we had to use our knowledge in math to find the median.”

SMK Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh teacher and adviser Siti Hadijah Supian said: “My students have become better learners because they can apply what they learnt in mathematics and physics in a more practical way.

“Moreover, exposing students to technology-based learning, in line with IR 4.0, will prepare them to face a challenging future.”

Syed Abdul Hadi said: “To address recent pollution cases, which contribute to climate change, we need to educate the younger generation dynamically. With the right education and exposure, they will be prepared as future leaders.”

The TM Nano Maker Kit programme was supported by Multimedia University (MMU) in Cyberjaya and the Education Ministry.

“MMU provided us with the expertise of its faculty members. Hence, the programme gained better industrial exposure in line with a revolutionised education system,” added Syed Abdul Hadi.

By Rayyan Rafidi

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