SARAO celebrates the successful completion of the SKA Telescope Manager Critical Design Review
The General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union to be hosted on African soil for the first time in 2024
Chinese Vice Minister for Science and Technology visits SARAO offices
Servitude establishment program
Latest developments on the land acquisitions programme
SARAO Tech News
Across the Globe
SARAO Science Engagement
RD9 Solutions: Introduction to Robotics
DST Mini Science Forum ignites conversations about big science
SARAO participates in Science Centre World Summit 2017
SARAO participates in third Science Forum South Africa
SARAO/SKA SA hosts DST Mini Science Forum in Northern Cape
Scifest Africa 2018
SARAO and Oculus announce partnership
SARAO wins Best Workshop prize at Scifest Africa 2018
NASA Electrical Engineer visits schools in Sutherland
SARAO participates in Public Communication of Science and Technology Conference in Dunedin, New Zealand
Participants graduate from Phase 1 of MAPPP NINE
SKA AVN MAPPP NINE Development Lab
MAPPP NINE expands to SKA AVN
IAU CAP 2018
SARAO participates in EuroScience Open Forum 2018 in Toulouse, France
National Science Week 2018
SARAO hosts 2018 SAASTA National Schools Debates Competition in the Northern Cape and North West
SARAO Big Data Africa School 2018 kicks off
Carnarvon High School teams through to National Competition of World Robot Olympiad 2018
SARAO Big Data Africa School 2018 ends on high note for African students
SARAO staffers shine at INCOSE SA 2018 conference
Five SARAO electrician trade artisan students attend media training in Carnarvon
SARAO Junior engineer wins Best Poster Presentation at UCT Engineering Research Expo
Dr Bonita de Swardt presents at plenary session at Grand Challenges Partners meeting in Kenya
SARAO bursary holder wins first prize in AT-RASC student paper competition
Dr Aletha de Witt elected to the IAU commission on astrometry
Dr Rob Adam inducted as a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering
SARAO bursary funded students selected for 2018/19 CSIRO scholarship
Junior Science Process Developer wins Thomson Reuters Award
Brendan Swarts – Electrician Artisan student
Morgan Daba – Electrician Artisan student
Marthinus Steyn – Telescope Operator
Griet Tobias – Housekeeper
Jan Mouers – General Worker
Mathakane Molewa – HERA Construction Supervisor
Malissa Pietersen – Procurement Officer (Site)
Lourencia Lyon – HERA General Worker
Peter van Wyngaarden – HERA General Worker
Bradwin Vermeulen – HERA General Worker
Tyrone Adams – HERA General Worker
Levurd Vaarland – HERA General Worker
R. Sean Oliphant – Mathematics teacher at Carnarvon High School
RD9 Solutions: Introduction to Robotics
SARAO News #02 2018
RD9 Solutions, a company that was established after SKA SA Systems Engineer Tyrone van Balla’s StarBiz project was funded, hosted two Robotics workshops on 21 and 28 October 2017.
The workshops were hosted at South Peninsula High School in Diep River and was open to students in Grades 8 to 11. Twenty-eight keen students attended the workshop over the two weekends.
During the workshop, students were introduced to concepts of electronics, programming and robotics and were given the opportunity to build and program a MiiA robot, RD9 Solutions’ flagship robotic offering.
The workshop curriculum, constructed by RD9 Solutions, was well received by learners and teachers alike, and the unique digital classroom setting captivated learners for the entire duration of the eight-hour workshop.
“As opposed to teaching and lecturing, the workshops employed a self-learning strategy. Learners were digitally given course material and exercises they had to complete. They were given access to a platform through which they could chat, via text, to one of the course facilitators to submit their solutions to exercises and to ask for help if they had difficulties. By using a means of communication that they were familiar with, we were able to reduce the formality and pressure that learners sometimes face in traditional classroom settings,” says Van Balla.
The structure of the workshop also allowed students to interact anonymously with a facilitator. “This not only reduced the fear associated with answering questions incorrectly, but also encouraged a try-fail-retry approach that further promoted self-learning and fostered a greater understanding,” continued Van Balla.
The workshop had a large social aspect that encourages both collaboration and competition. Learners were informed about the progress of their peers via a leaderboard and learners were motivated and rewarded upon successfully completing each section.
These gamification concepts proved to be really stimulating and motivating for the learners. On many occasions, learners made the decision themselves to skip the proposed break periods to continue working through the content – they wanted to catch up to their peers and improve their standing on the leaderboard.
After going through the course content, the learners then dived into programming the robot using their smartphones. They were presented with the opportunity to experiment with programming for themselves in getting MiiA, the robot, to perform various movements. Their final challenge was to program MiiA to be able to play a game of soccer.
“The feedback received from learners after the workshop was invaluable. There were many highlights and things they enjoyed, but more importantly, they raised concerns and suggestions for improvements. RD9 Solutions is currently polishing the workshop offering and looking to build a more robust system that learners and students can interact with. Once this platform has been established, more workshops will be run with schools and science centers beginning in early 2018,” says Van Balla.
SKA South Africa launched the StarBiz programme last year during which employees were challenged to provide innovative ideas to solve problems being faced in everyday life. This was part of SKA SA’s aim to not only promoting and supporting innovation and commercialisation, but to also increase its socio-economic impact beyond astronomy.
Through the StarBiz program RD9 and MiiA received some start-up capital, which enabled van Balla and his business partner, Ridhaa Benefeld, a mechatronics engineer in Pretoria, to run pilots in schools to test its offering.
MiiA is an accessible, extensible and multi-purpose robotics platform designed with the core principle to be a teaching and learning tool aimed at teaching and encouraging the exploration of electronics and programming. It is believed that programming is quickly becoming a necessary skill, regardless of career path, and the sooner learners are exposed to it, the better equipped for their futures they will be.
Big Data Attendees at the one-day work session which was held on 11 July 2017 at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Ghana to kick off the High Performance Computing training programme in Ghana.
Members of the nine SKA African partner countries concluded the Fourth Ministerial Meeting on the SKA in Accra, Ghana by signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on radio astronomy.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor watches on as the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cuts the ribbon at the launch of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory.
The launch of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory was covered 119 times in the media between 23 and 25 August 2017:
In Ghana: 24 times
In South Africa: 36 times
In other African countries: 8 times
Internationally: 51 times
The value of these placements is R6 983 234.17.
Last Updated on November 19, 2018