In its endeavour to contribute to the educational infrastructure of the Sultanate Eshraqa, the Corporate Social Responsibility Arm of Khimji Ramdas, has launched ‘e-stemazone’, an online platform for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts (STEAM fields) which will be operated through a Learning Management System (LMS). E-stemazone is a new addition to the existing Stemazone program to help children learn STEAM subjects in the safety of their homes. Stemazone is a STEAM learning initiative meant for Omani children between 6 to 16 years of age. Eshraqa has partnered with Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MoHT), Ministry of Education (MoE) and Children’s Museum to support this initiative. The partnership signifies an innovative strategy aimed towards inspiring young Omanis to enter STEAM fields and set them on the pathway from an early age.
The online learning platform (www.stemazoneoman.om) will enable students to learn, attend innovative online STEAM workshops and access live webinars. Students will have to register themselves to check course structure or to book a slot at webinars.
E-stemazone will offer workshops in three categories including Coding for Kids where they learn to create fun applications by using simple coding. In STEAM workshops participants will learn about technology and build new skills with the guidance of our experienced stemazone instructors. Project of the day (POD) will include interesting experiments based on the engineering design process, using simple tools that one can find in their homes. E-stemazone will also help develop students’ technological skills by having them interact with content online. Most importantly its library of free courses can be accessed by students anytime and from anywhere. This virtual interface will enable online STEAM workshops to continue with virtual instruction.
The stemazone LMS will have new content added each week apart from the existing ones. The teaching sessions will be conducted through a mix of live and pre-recorded workshops and standalone projects conducted in both English and Arabic, by experienced Omani STEAM instructors. The platform has been designed to allow for easy navigation for students, parents and teachers alike. Schools can book private live workshops through the LMS. E-stemazone will give an opportunity to students outside Muscat to participate in the Stemazone activities.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are the online platforms on which e-Learning takes place delivering digital science and technology workshops through a customised platform. It uses engagement mechanisms such as gamification to keep students actively learning on the platform. It is responsive and adaptable to any device including mobile phones and tablets.
With an intention to encourage opportunities for students in STEAM fields, Eshraqa will execute the online initiative with guidance provided by DAI Global. The decision to launch e-stemazone has come as a response to the COVID-19 crisis as the pandemic has disrupted learning in schools, museums, after-school programmes and makerspaces. Although the Children’s Museum and many other organisations are still closed, makerspaces, schools, museums are all making efforts to continue learning through virtual means.
Nailesh Khimji, Director, Khimji Ramdas, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to social isolation; however, with the help of technology, education can continue through this tough time. We are delighted to launch the ‘e-stemazone’ online learning platform through LMS, a cloud-based EdTech tool that assists educators to teach. As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, governments around the world have issued public policies that include social distancing, isolation and self-quarantine. Amidst all this, teaching through online method is the best way forward. We are happy to make the e-stemazone platform available for students in Oman. We are sure they will benefit by attending virtual workshops or webinars held at the Children’s Museum.”
The Children’s Museum, which is the anchor location for stemazone, will also open following the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Recently, Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Education (MoE) has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Eshraqa, to support the stemazone initiative. The signing came under the guidance and vision of the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik in building more scientific capabilities for Omani youth.
Eshraqa works towards the nation building at the grassroots and aspires to significantly contribute towards the education sector by building infrastructure that will lead to enhancing knowledge, skills and capabilities.