Big Bang Crawley STEMFEST
Five Invensys Eurotherm staff took part in this event. Three of us ran the Eurotherm stand, where we showed the Rasberry Pi computer running a Web Browser and talked to children about software development and how to get involved in it. We had a lot of interest in the Rasberry Pi, the children were interesting in getting one and tryting it out, (we had handout leaflets with all the info they needed on how to get one and which websites to look at to get it going). We also had a lot of interest from teachers who had heard about the Pi but had absolutely no idea how to work it and therefore how to teach it! It seems there is going to be a problem here if IT staff are to be the ones teaching this kind of subject. They do not neccesarily have the skills required to teach software programming.
We also took along our "Control Yourself" Bike challenge that teaches children about control. They get to pedal a bike which is controlling a fan which blows a ball up a tube. The idea is to keep pedalling at exactly the right speed to hold the ball in the middle which is actually very hard to do due to the lag in the feedback. We then let one of our controller products take over which keeps it in the middle. We also talked about careers at Eurotherm with a focus on R&D and electronics engineering and demonstrated some of our products.
Two of us took part in "What's my Line" where the children had to guess our jobs. I was shocked how little vocabulary the children had to describe what I did (I am a research and development electronics technician). I knew they would struggle with the research bit but found they weren't really familiar with the term "electronics" at all. they just kept saying do you work with computers? There is obviously some work to do in schools to get more electronics into the curriculum.
Two of our engineers took part in judging the school projects competition and I was pleased to see that Eurotherm had sponsored one of the prizes.
It was a fun day but very busy, I think next time we will take extra people to look after the stand because it was so busy all day we had trouble leaving it and we all would have like to have a look around the rest of the show to see what was going on.
The highlight of my day (apart from inspiring and being inspired by young people) was having my photo taken next to a Mclaren Supercar! Oh - and sitting in an enormous Rolls Royce!