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Texas A&M at Qatar working with the Ministry of Education to develop students` innovative skills in Science and Technology

Texas A&M at Qatar working with the Ministry of Education to develop students` innovative skills in Science and Technology

23 January 2019

STEM experts from Texas A&M University at Qatar are working with Qatar Science and Technology Secondary school for Boys to build a wireless communication system to encourage science and engineering exploration and innovation in young high school students. This program comes as part of the school`s vision to introduce academic programs in collaboration with distinguished universities in the country and abroad.

 

Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs Mrs. Fawziya Alkhater said" The ministry works to offer the students of Qatar Science and Technology School the best educational STEM opportunities. It is part of the school`s vision to invite distinguished universities to the school to offer training programs. These opportunities are considered a supporting part of the  school`s interdisciplinary curriculum that is tailored specifically to the ministry of education in Qatar.

 

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. Since September, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experts from Texas A&M at Qatar’s Office of Development, Engagement and Outreach have been guiding students through the process of designing, building and testing their own TalkiePis to learn mechanical, electrical, programming and prototyping skills.

 

Teaching basic “making” skills have become a priority in STEM education, said Texas A&M at Qatar’s Dr. Mohamed Gharib. These skills, when taught early, can encourage future exploration into hands-on making, presenting students various opportunities to integrate multiple science and engineering foundation skills into their experience.

 

“STEM education in Qatar is rapidly developing,” Gharib said, “and the opening of this new STEM school—which has already attracted talented students—is considered a crowning achievement for this development. We’re pleased to be contributing to helping these students advance their educations and build human capacity in Qatar.”

 

The collaboration began with an introduction to 3D modeling using 3D computer-assisted design software. Students were introduced to the basics of 3D design by creating their own case 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 the students to practice their new skills before tackling the TalkiePi case, battery pack and personalization.

 

The TalkiePi project will continue in the spring of 2019 with an introduction to electronics hardware. The students will learn basic circuitry diagramming and prototyping using power supplies, resistors, LEDs and various other components using a solderless breadboard, which is used to build and test circuits. After completing their circuit prototypes, the students will be taught how to solder electronic components into a working circuit. During this portion, the students will be introduced to the Raspberry Pi microcomputer. They will then learn the microcomputer’s hardware components and the Linux open-source operating system. These skill sets offer a solid base on which future advanced building projects can be developed.

 

The program has 60 students in two-hour sessions over 16 weeks, totaling 32 hours of instruction per student and taught by Gharib and Benjamin Cieslinski.

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