Problem solving and self-confidence are skills that children and some adults struggle with. Children feel a sense of immediate accomplishment when completing something themselves and, at Young Engineers, that is one of our values.
When a child feels good about themselves, they are more open to trying new things. Self-esteem obstables can be overcome by presenting problems to children and allowing them to solve the problem with the use of building blocks and the guidance of an instructor. This also allows children to learn new skills.
According to The Scots College (2017) “Connecting small pieces of building blocks to create a final product that follows a child’s vision can be challenging. Achieving this task holds an immense sense of satisfaction that is obvious in a child’s smile when they proudly show off their completed work. This has an immensely positive effect on a child’s self-esteem”.
What is STEM anyway? It’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Who cares about it? Well, actually, everyone should. These are the skills that will be most relevant in the technology-driven future that lies ahead. The skills that will give children an edge when they look to finding jobs – many of which don’t even exist yet – and building sustainable futures.
The World Economic Forum released a report towards the end of 2016 entitled ‘The Future of Jobs and Skills’. In this report, they pointed out that some of the most in-demand jobs today didn’t exist five to 10 years ago. In another report written by Scott McLeod and Karl Fisch, they made one staggering claim (backed up by plenty of research, of course): “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist’.
At this point you’re probably asking what all this has to do with STEM. Well, everything, actually. It’s STEM skills that are the most relevant to the jobs of the future. It will be the talented people in these fields who can pick up careers anywhere in the world, who can adapt to the fluidity of the evolving jobs market and who can take their talents from one field to the next. It will be the children who have STEM that can carve out new job titles and niches and who will be most likely to take home the big salary cheques and have sustainable careers. The United States Department of Labour’s Bureau of Labour Statistics research found that STEM fields have the highest potential for job growth and that those in these fields will make higher wages.
The statistics are behind STEM, now we just need to put the children behind it.
The problem is that most children aren’t taught to see STEM as exciting. The scientist or data analyst or engineer hasn’t traditionally been given the Hollywood makeover that doctors, fashion designers, lawyers and athletes have had. These careers aren’t seen as glamorous or appealing and this needs to change. We need to inspire the children of today to see STEM as their route to success tomorrow.
One of the challenges that surrounds STEM is that many parents aren’t aware of what it represents or what pathways it opens up for their children. Fortunately, just one Google search around STEM will throw up a virtual smorgasbord of ideas, careers, educational opportunities and insights. It will also highlight one hugely important point – there is no time like the present to make STEM a part of your child’s life.
Make 2020 the year of STEM for your kids. Show them how these fields are exciting, interesting and dynamic. Give them the chance to explore worlds that open up under a microscope, to create machines using basic engineering skills, and use maths to understand the complexities of technology. For younger children, these skills can be taught through edutainment tools that allow them to absorb STEM constructs without realising that they are doing so. As they grow older, they can then take these concepts and apply them within the educational setting, and they can continue to grow in their applications and inventiveness in an entertainment setting.
Young Engineers has developed programmes across numerous age groups that are designed to ignite curiosity, excitement and innovation in your child, specifically within the field of engineering. Using building blocks and theory lessons, we give them the opportunity to create machines, find solutions to challenging problems and immerse themselves in STEM from the start. Every part of our programme has been designed to kickstart STEM in your young engineer and give them the tools they need to succeed. We’ll be here in 2020, teaching STEM to children – join us in making 2020 the year of STEM for your kids.
When it comes to education every institution, expert, teacher and parent has been searching for the perfect formula to make learning easy and exciting. To make it something that students want to do, want to engage with and want to excel in. It makes sense. Instead of complaints about ‘Why me’ and ‘I hate you’ whenever studies are mentioned, most people would prefer to hear ‘Oh, yes please’ or ‘Can I study now?’
It turns out that there is a secret. There is a trick to inspiring people to learn and engage with their tutors and materials. It’s called fun. Neuroscientists have discovered that the most effective way to absorb and retain information is linked to positive emotions and sensations. Positive thoughts and moods inspire students to think more critically, to look at inventive ways of overcoming challenges and to get stuck into problems with gusto.
In a recent piece for Learning Landscapes¹, neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang elegantly described how the two elements of cognition and emotion have been traditionally perceived as different entities playing in a china shop. Cognition is the delicate china on the shelf, emotion the petulant child breaking it. Today, research has found that the two are actually interconnected and that emotions are fundamentally important to producing rational thought.
What was interesting about the research undertaken by Immordino-Young was that they found that emotions are not the bull running through the china shop of cognition, instead they are the foundations that hold cognition in place.
This research is further supported in a paper for Frontiers in Psychology by Chai Tyng, Hafeez Amin, Mohamad Saad and Aamir Malik on The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory². The paper found that emotion has a ‘substantial influence on cognitive processes in humans, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem solving’. If students are studying in a setting that doesn’t inspire positive emotions, then they may as well be at home. Education in a negative space can potentially be meaningless.
Of course, no sane parent is about to send their child home to watch TV because they’re having a tough time at school – there are thousands of other factors that play a role in the moods that school inspires – but they can create positive spaces and environments that change how education and learning are perceived.
This is where edutainment comes into its own.
A recent World Bank report³ into the value of edutainment found that it had the potential to change lives for billions of people. The organisation believes that edutainment campaigns could transform how people learn about issues like budgeting, hygiene and violence, and already there have been initiatives in South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal tapping into this potential. Right there lies the value of edutainment. It takes complex concepts out of the traditional dry and dusty tomes and intoned voices and transforms them into engaging and emotive scripts. People can relate to these moments, these scripts, on a real level – connecting the situations and the lessons to their everyday lives – and the impact on learning is phenomenal.
Edutainment is so much more than just a portmanteau, it is a scientifically measurable and proven methodology that inspires learning, engages students and supports the development of critical and creative thinking skills. It adds the positive ingredient to the educational mix and, as it gains ground as a valuable tool globally, it is set to give forthcoming generations a remarkable new way of achieving their potential. e² Young Engineers has used the science of edutainment to create programmes that inspire kids to learn more about engineering concepts, 3D modelling and more. The goal is to educate and inspire, the tool is edutainment, and the science is behind it.
Article by Jessi Sunkel, Young Engineers.
4 October 2017 – PRETORIA SOUTH AFRICA –
e² Young Engineers, a company that provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform for children, is excited to launch a nationwide campaign with fast food restaurant giant McDonald’s. e² Young Engineers will be featured as a Kids Educational Partner for the McDonald’s campaign, and customers that purchase a Share Bag Meal will be directed to a bespoke website where they can select from a bouquet of rewards.
e² Young Engineers South Africa is the preferred educational partner of choice for TLC – a promotions agency specialising in reward campaigns, loyalty schemes and incentivising consumer behaviour. The focus of this campaign is on bringing families together, sharing a meal and giving something special to children – education.
McDonald’s Share Bag Meal @ R160; available at McDonald’s franchises countrywide:
Michiel van der Westhuizen, CEO of e² Young Engineers South Africa commented on the partnership, “We are proud to be a Kids Educational Partner for this MacDonald’s campaign. The free intro class that can be obtained because of purchasing a family meal, can open a whole new world for a child interested in the likes of robotics and software engineering, allowing them to investigate machinery from a professional perspective of engineers, or introduce them to both the theoretical and the practical sides of mechanical engineering and software development.”
He continues, “Our focus at e² Young Engineers is on the future generations of engineers and scientists and our initiative has always been to establish an original and unparalleled education approach to assisting the engineers of tomorrow by creating engaging educational solutions early on.”
About e² Young Engineers
e² Young Engineers South Africa represents children who participate in our unique education curriculums. Our sessions provide theoretical knowledge and practical implementation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) basics.
e² Young Engineers provide an engaging, hands-on learning platform. The educational goals are achieved by using our very own building blocks and K’nex® assembly kits uniquely designed by our staff, demonstrating the scientific principles in a fun and accessible fashion; combining experiments that form scientific intuition with stories that capture the imagination.
Purple Word Box (Pty) Ltd for e² Young Engineers South Africa
012 433 6467