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Technologies like Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) encourage problem solving and collaboration in the classroom.
Technologies like Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) encourage problem solving and collaboration in the classroom.
Ricoh MakerBot 3D printer
Ricoh MakerBot 3D printer

MALAYSIA Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd, or MDEC (formerly known as Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd) is targeting to launch a programme called MY Digital Maker Movement next month in efforts to increase interest in STEM-(science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based knowledge and activities among students and youths in the country.

MY Digital Maker Movement is a programme that comprises the implementation of computational thinking in the national school curriculum due to start in January. It includes the transformation of computer clubs in schools into digital maker clubs, and a collaboration with State governments to set up facilities for digital innovation for students and youths outside school boundaries.

MDEC chief operating officer Datuk Ng Wan Peng said that as an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia entrusted to develop, coordinate, and promote Malaysia’s digital economy and the adoption of digital technology amongst Malaysians, it understands how important the school curriculum is in shaping young minds.

Introducing a different approach into classroom learning will provide the boost the education system needs to give the future generation a competitive edge in an increasingly technological and digital world, she highlighted.

According to Ng, the MY Digital Maker Movement supports the government’s integration of computer science and computational thinking into the formal school curriculum. It also seeks to establish public-private-academia collaboration to provide informal learning opportunities. The curriculum is dedicated to promoting an innovative approach to problem solving and encouraging collaboration within the classroom, making learning more effective, interactive and fun.

“The programme is all about future-proofing our talent. In the future, we will lose 60 to 80 per cent of the jobs that exist today. We need more people in engineering and information and communications technology but the response to STEM subjects and courses in schools and universities is still not encouraging. The requirement for digital skillset is current and future. We need to put technology in the hands of students so that they can learn to solve problems by creating and innovating,” she said.

She was speaking at the Ricoh Edu Tech Day 2016 in Subang Jaya.

Earlier, Ricoh Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Peter Wee announced that Ricoh is set to partner MDEC’s Digital Maker Hub. The open workshop for educators and students comes as part of the MY Digital Maker Movement, aimed at encouraging collaborative networks among Malaysian youths.

Ricoh Edu Tech Day 2016 showcased how technologies like 3D printing and virtual reality can contribute towards the evolution of educational arena.

“Technology such as this can catalyse interactive learning aligned with real-world experiences. Learners and educators can use this as a base to enhance the learning experience through immersion by using the right tools and facilities,” he said.

To demonstrate how 3D printing can take textbook-style learning and teaching to the next level, Ricoh Malaysia invited Johnson Lam, a DIY (do-it-yourself) enthusiast and entrepreneur who founded KakiDIY — a platform for makers with enterprising mindset who sell their products internationally.

Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) encourages problem solving and collaboration in the classroom, said Lam.

“Using Ricoh’s MakerBot 3D printing products and services, for example, can help students bring ideas and project-based learning come to life,” he said. He illustrated that primary school students could design (using software), 3D print and test experimental boats to learn about flotation principles. Older students could engineer and 3D print faster wheels for a Co2-powered model car.

“These activities bring STEM curricula to life while unleashing students’ creativity and foster entrepreneurship, invention and collaboration,” said Lam.

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