The Designing for STEM team at the Nimbus Research Centre, CIT are delighted to announce an exciting new ‘Designing for STEM’ programme, which was launched on Monday, May 21st, in the Nimbus Research Centre, CIT. The programme was officially launched by Dr. Orla Flynn, Vice President External Affairs, CIT and Trish Brennan, Head of Fine Art & Applied Art, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.
Designing for STEM is a CIT Nimbus Research Centre initiative (being conducted as part of the EU H2020 UMI-Sci-Ed Project) which is headed by PhD students Michelle O’Keeffe and Sarah Hayes. The project is being supervised by the Nimbus Centre’s Dr. Kieran Delaney and Dr. Alex Vakaloudis and is dedicated towards engaging Transition Year students with careers in STEM. Since the recent decline in STEM CAO course applications, it is important to introduce a novel, hands on approach to STEM subjects, something that this program is dedicated to doing. The program also teaches students creativity and problem solving skills which are vital when approaching STEM subjects.
Over the months of February and March, the Designing for STEM team have been running pilot workshops in schools across Cork, including Loreto Fermoy, and Sacred Heart Clonakilty. They also ran two workshops in the NIMBUS Centre, one with final year Creative Digital Media students, and one as part of CIT Innovation Week. During the workshops, students are supplied with a combination of digital and non-digital materials and asked to build a low-fidelity prototype which is solving a real world STEM problem. The Designing for STEM team were able to make observations and collect feedback, which were being used to improve the program for its launch.
The Designing for STEM programme is enabling NImbus researchers to continue to explore the use of prototyping tools and methods for improving student engagement with real-world STEM issues. As well as introducing students to creative processes such as ideation and design, and to prototyping skills such as low-fidelity model making, basic computer programming will be taught, and students given the opportunity to work with Arduino boards and other relevant tools.