RCE KwaZulu Natal-2017

1. Project Title: 
e-STEAM Project
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
3. Project partner contact information : 
WESSA uMngeni Valley Education Center
Creator and developer
Matthew Cocks
Unit Leader
Alternative project contact: 
Vivo Venter
Education Manager
4. Project type
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

WESSA uMngeni Valley Nature Reserve are developing a new e-STEAM Hub (Environment Solutions = Science+Technology+Engineering+Art+Mathematics) as part of their vision to become a leading centre of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in southern Africa. The E-STEAM concept is strengthening the current status of uMngeni Valley as a ‘Sustainability Commons’, a ‘Regional Centre of Expertise,’ and the ‘SADC Centre of Excellence in Environmental Education’. E-STEAM is investing in eco-friendly technologies and educational resources to link outdoor environmental education with best practice teaching methods, through the teaching process of e-STEAM. Our 900 Ha outdoor classroom will serve as the inspiration to use mobile applications, mobile data-loggers and mobile technologies to solve environmental issues through cross-collaboration and problem-solving. Innovations here include a biomonitoring River Health Index through biomonitoring supported by a customized Google Earth plane with ‘living data’ conceptualized as a ‘cloud of knowing’ (see www.miniSASS.org – a registered RCE project).

UVNR currently align all our education programmes to the local South African CAPS and IEB Curriculum. However, many schools in South Africa are under resourced in science, mathematics, engineering and technology education resources, and poor teaching methods and practices are not preparing students with the necessary problem-solving skills for the 21st century work-place. By introducing such technologies, and the e-STEAM process into UVNR programmes, we can expose both primary and secondary learners to key skills and techniques for future tertiary education and green work skill requirements. UVNR will now be sufficiently resourced to become the preferred local provider of state-of-the-art resources and field-study programmes for schools and universities to attend and make use of. UVNR already employ science, geography and technology teachers with the necessary knowledge and experience to use mobile technologies to teach e-STEAM in the outdoor classroom.

We will launch a mobile ecology bus by the end of 2017, to travel to schools and teach e-STEAM at schools who cannot afford to travel to UVNR. This unit will be equipped with all technologies and resources to run field study programmes and lessons at any school or local venue. The development of the new UVNR e-STEAM Hub will be accompanied by the expansion of dormitories, accommodation and catering facilities from the current 60 beds up to 350 beds by

February 2018. We will approach corporate and private funders to sponsor underprivileged student groups to attend e-STEAM workshops at UVNR throughout the year. WESSA will use its excellent reputation and track-record to lobby government basic and higher-level education departments to become accredited and recognised as a provider of e-STEAM Education. This will make it easier for schools to gain permission to attend courses at UVNR, and to get access to government funding.

7. Provide references and reference materials : 
6. Project status
On Going
Launched in September 2017, and final setup of hub to be completed by March 2018. Resources purchased, training ongoing and programmes already being offered at UVNR.
8. Tagging
Africa and Middle East