Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Maritime industry spearheads training for teachers in robotics

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean (WiMAC) has adopted several schools for the implementation of a robotics programme. Scores of educators across Jamaica will benefit from a training exercise in robotics geared towards preparing them to manage a new initiative being facilitated through the maritime industry. WiMAC, in collaboration with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), will introduce an exciting underwater robotics programme/competition (SeaPerch) in selected high schools as a means of developing maritime awareness and to support the Ministry of Education's (MOE) thrust to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Jamaica. The teachers will be trained at the CMU, by an expert from the Cayman Islands, after which they will coordinate the competition in the individual schools, utilizing the training they receive.

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics programme that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. The training will equip teachers with transferable skills which will enhance the overall engagement of students through technology-based engineering. Specifically, it will increase the interest in robotics, engineering, science, mathematics, and maritime studies among high-school students. Building a SeaPerch ROV teaches basic skills in ship and submarine design and encourages students to explore naval architecture, marine and ocean engineering principles.

Throughout the project, students will learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking and technical applications.

Having regard to the importance of proficiency in STEM subjects to maritime careers at sea and ashore; the maritime industry has an important role and vested interest in supporting the MOE's STEM thrust.

 

INTEREST IN AT-RISK YOUTH

 

President of WiMAC Claudia Grant says in addition to the nexus between the project and the Government's STEM thrust, the organisation was interested in its implementation because of its potential to engage and inspire at-risk youth.

"WiMAC's mandate includes more than increasing the participation and contribution of just women in the maritime sector. It also includes promoting maritime careers among the youth. As such we saw this project as the perfect opportunity to do so,'' she said.

"We hope that the project will contribute to our children enjoying and appreciating STEM subjects, as the principles they will learn are applicable to a wide range of technical and STEM-based careers.''

She added that while the programme is being launched in Jamaica, it is WiMAC's hope to implement it in other Caribbean countries soon.

The launch will be on Thursday, February 15, with Vivette Grant, WiMAC vice-president of resource mobilisation and research and development, moderating the proceedings and Mrs Priscilla Kid-Deans, member of the National STEM Committee, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, delivering greetings. Other stakeholders, including Mona Sue-Ho, social development manager of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, will be in attendance as well.