iSpark Mobile inspires students



DAMMAM: SAEED AL-ASMARI

Published — Thursday 20 December 2012

Last update 20 December 2012 12:27 am

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A dynamic program that tours public schools to spark scientific curiosity in the minds of 9th and 10th graders has received enthusiast response in Dammam and Hasa.
Called iSpark Mobile, the program is a Saudi Aramco initiative and is conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Tatweer.
The program has had a deep influence on some of the students in Dammam.
“I did not have a goal before; now I know I will be an engineer,” said Latifah Al-Jehani, a student who participated in Bridges.
“The program is really beneficial, I never thought I could assemble and program a robot, but I did, and I am very proud of myself,” said Aisha Al-Qahtani, a student in Green City.
Mushari Al-Qahtani, a student participated in Decoding Life, expressed his opinion bravely as he says: “I didn’t know what I want to study and major in. After participating in iSpark, I know that I have a bright future ahead of me.”
Hoping to train and inspire wider audience, iSpark Mobile moved to Hasa last week to provide the same excitement to public school students.
The program targets to cover 10 girls’ schools and 10 boys’ schools, and inspires a total of 2,000 students. So far, the program successfully started with four schools: the First Intermediate School and the Eleventh Secondary School for Girls in Al-Hofuf, and Imam Al-Nawawi Secondary School and Jaber Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari Intermediate School for Boys.
Hasa students’ feedbacks on their iSpark experience reflect their excitement, passion and thirst for more mind-intriguing programs. “I was so excited in Green City program that I bought my own robot and started to apply what I learned in the course at home,” said Nabaa Bu Sabih, a 9th grader who participated in Green City. “iSpark taught us how to have faith in our abilities” said Doa’a Al-Baod about her experience.
iSpark Mobile trainers are empowered by their students’ passion and eagerness to learn. Kennah Al-Shamsy, a trainer in Powering the World, asserts that she felt the extreme keenness and enthusiasm of Hasa students, and their remarkable efforts to take advantage of each aspect of the learning opportunities offered to them in the iSpark Mobile experience. She also acknowledges and commends the competitive spirit between her students to complete their projects in an efficient manner. iSpark mobile inspired a total of 3,254 students in 34 different schools in Dhahran, Dammam and Hasa, hoping to influence and train more in upcoming weeks.
The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture in Saudi Aramco envisions and plans to be an essential part of the collaborative efforts of local educational and government institutions to transform the Saudi society into a knowledge-based society through its enriching educational experiences.
Initiated recently in the Center, iThra Youth programs and coordinates world-class, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM-focused) outreach programs that apply new science-teaching approaches, focusing on teamwork and experimental methods. One of iThra Youth programs is iSpark Mobile.
The program visits two girls’ schools and two boys’ schools each week and trains a total of 400 by the end of each week. In each school, four professional Saudi trainers conduct two sessions from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for different student groups. The capacity of each class is 25 students, and two Saudi professional trainers to facilitate the material and engage the students during the edutainment iSpark experience. By the end of each week, 100 students are trained in each school in two of the four tracks: Decoding Life, Powering the World, Bridges, and Green City.
In Decoding Life, the students are challenged with mystery solving tasks through the utilization of forensic sciences, biology, and genomics.
Powering the World is focused on energy sources, renewable energy, and sustainability.
Engineering is the theme of Bridges, an influential course that engages the students in constructing bridges.
Finally, Green City encourages the participants to assimilate and program robots in a unique experience. In addition to the scientific knowledge that the students gain, they acquire a wide range of soft skills such as: teamwork, presentation and problem-solving. After a successful completion of the program, students receive attendance certificates accredited by Saudi Aramco and Lawrence Hall of Science in University of California, Berkley.

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