29th November 2019

Supporting STEM robotics

John Ennew
Technical Director

Recently, I was invited to a local secondary school, Simon Langton in Canterbury, to see the STEM activities being undertaken. 

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are the subjects seeing skills shortages by businesses and industries in the UK, and Simon Langton is one of a number of schools hosting activities to increase students’ interests in these areas. 

Dr Tim Lesworth, Director of Science & STEM Research Coordinator at Simon Langton, spoke about the school’s focus on building practical skills, improving critical and analytical thinking and theoretical fact memorisation, which is required by the curriculum.  

In their sixth form years, students are encouraged to take part in projects that interest them, allowing them to explore a subject before knowing if there is a solution. In this way, they are able to experiment, see what works and, more often what doesn’t, and then reflect on their experiences. 

The ability to explore, solve problems and apply learning from the classroom into the real world are the attributes we look for in employees at Deeson. It was very encouraging to see how the school was promoting this application and thought process through the use of these projects.

The school provides opportunities for all age groups to have hands on experience of the latest technology by providing design, computing and robotics clubs. Mr Graeme George, Head of Computing, showed me around the school to their maker spaces, which provides computing and robotics kits that the students can use.

In order to provide some direction and purpose, there are several national and international competitions that the school is involved with. These involve teams being given a series of challenges that they need to design, build and program a robot to achieve. 

These competitions also encourage teamwork: students perform different roles, including design engineer and programmer, which is much more like the kind of work we do outside of school.

During my visit, I was able to see a demonstration of their robots identifying colours, moving blocks and flipping markers to score points. 

As an agency working with a range of different technologies, we understand that developing STEM skills is vital for the workforce of the future. 

To encourage this development, and understanding the importance of supporting the next generation’s computing and robotics extracurricular activities, Deeson presented the school’s robotics teams with a new robot kit.

We are looking forward to seeing how Simon Langton and similar schools continue to progress in this area. 

Technical Director John Ennew with the robotics club from Simon Langton School