STEM education where Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are taught as a cohesive subject instead of independent ones is gaining world’s attention. STEM education is hands-on, project based, in-lab education than class room based education.
Why STEM? When you focus on project-based learning – which is common in STEM – it provides opportunities for authentic growth and development. The learning is experiential. It fosters creativity, innovation, problem solving, critical thinking & team work.
Educational institutions across the globe, parents and governments have acknowledged the need and have started taking actions so that they or students don’t fall behind. Educational institutes are building labs that promote STEM education. Parents are engaging their child in at school or post-school-hour STEM programs e.g. Robotics. Governments are providing support especially financial support to institutions to promote STEM education.
What are the ways in which STEM education is delivered? Robotics, tinkering/making, automation & electronics are some of the prominent methodologies to deliver STEM education. In delivering projects in any of these areas, a student have to apply Science (e.g. physical characteristics of material), Technology (e.g. use of programming, sensors, electronics etc.), Engineering (e.g. Designing, assembly etc.) & Math (e.g. project weight bearing capacity/ability calculations etc.).
While it is evident that we need to steer the education wheel towards STEM methodology, there are some challenges associated with them. A student or teacher faces a lot of challenges in building a project that involves technology especially electronics. Below are some of the challenges enumerated.
- You don’t get Electronics Component easily in local markets
- Quality & Reliability of components
- Little reuse of material, hence high cost of experimenting/tinkering
- Failure of the project can be costly
- The breadboard based setup is not portable. Moving from one location to other can lead to broken assembly
- Wires based connectivity can lead to noise in connection and hence could lead to incorrect project outcome
- Incorrect connections can lead to failure of component
- If you are a novice or beginner to electronics technology
- Face to face mentoring required to start effectively
- Hazard risk associated with soldering/wiring
- Learn microcontroller architecture
- Learn programming
With so many challenges to deal with getting even small reward (working project) gets quite time and resource consuming. This could lead to drop in enthusiasm or even drop in participation. Another thing that happens in the process is that focus shifts to learning electronics, programming etc. The main objective of building projects falls behind.
To solve these challenges MakerInMe Technologies has introduced an innovative product called “Cretile™”.
What are Cretiles? Cretile™ is a kit of plug-n-play Robotic, Automation, IoT and Electronic modular building blocks. Cretiles are like LEGO® of electronics/robotics/IoT world.
Each Cretile module does one specific work. E.g. Battery module provides power from batteries, a Switch module provides ON/OFF control & a Light module provides light etc.
Cretile has invented a super-easy way to connect two or more Cretile blocks to each other (patent pending). Connect Cretiles to each other and they just start to work. In matter of seconds, you can build working circuitry. No programming, wiring or complex assembly required.
Cretile has 35+ such modules providing exhaustive functionality for any project development. It constitutes a variety of sensor, controls such as various switches, physical outputs such as Light, Sound and different types of motors, Relay module to control electrical appliances etc.
In addition to plug-n-play modules, it also provides a programmable platform. Interestingly, unlike traditional platforms, one does not need to know computer programming language to program it. Cretile provides a drag-n-drop coding interface that allows you to build logic as shown below. The advantage of using such an interface is that even a school going student can start to code. Another major advantage is that you can focus on Logic instead of Syntax and Semantics of a programming language.
It also provides ability to control electrical appliances with Cretile SmartSwitch. E.g. in below setup, the appliance connected to SmartSwitch will be controlled by the Cretile Motion Sensor. The appliance, in this case a table lamp will get switched ON once motion is detected around the Cretile Motion Sensor.
With such a large number of highly functional modules one can build virtually limitless project. It is one’s creativity that will define what Cretile can do.
As student get quick results, it keeps them motivated to build more, experiment more. The focus remains on making and building logic. Cretiles thus motivates students to create, experiment, tinker, try, create, build, demonstrate or prototype. Most importantly it allows you to fail as many times before the desired results are achieved.
Cretile is suitable for all the age groups students. The students of middle school can start using the kit to explore electronics and robotics. High school students can make serious projects for demonstrations and exhibitions at the school or competition levels. College students can use it very effectively for their projects or proof of concept (PoCs) demonstrations. The kit also has a WiFi Module. With its internet connectivity, college students can carry out IoT (Internet of Things) projects too.
So, grab a kit of your own or ask your educational institute to get one in your lab and start building. This is a great way to start you STEM journey! Visit www.Cretile.com for further details.
For more project ideas search Cretile on YouTube.