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Texas A&M at Qatar partners with QCRI and QNRF to offer programming workshop for school students
Wael Khedr
/ Categories: In the Media

Texas A&M at Qatar partners with QCRI and QNRF to offer programming workshop for school students

Twenty-one students in grades 7, 8, 9 and 10 from schools around Qatar designed their own Android mobile app

Twenty-one students in grades 7, 8, 9 and 10 from schools around Qatar designed their own Android mobile app game as part of a recent two-day workshop on mobile app development.

The workshop was organized and offered by Dr. Eman A. Fituri from the Qatar Computing Research Institute in Texas A&M University at Qatar’s STEM Hub, a joint initiative of Texas A&M at Qatar and the QNRF that aims to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in students across Qatar.

Four teachers also attended the workshop, during which participants learned the basics of mobile app development, including how to design an interface, how to place a button and how to play with images. After mastering the basics, the students designed and developed their own games in which they try to shoot a dragon with arrows as the dragon moves across the screen. At the end of the workshop, students demonstrated their apps and shared their inventions with family and friends.

“There are so many elements the students incorporated into their games,” said Fituri, who is the director of educational initiatives at QCRI. “They kept track of the score and some of them even implemented different levels of difficulty. It was exciting to work with the students to see the different ways they approached the problem.”

Fituri continued, “We want to kind of change the mindset of children. They use technology all the time but we want to teach them how to create technology, not just consume it.”

The STEM Hub innovation laboratory aims to promote creative applications of engineering and science toward innovative thinking and original design in Qatar’s young students. The STEM Hub contains equipment and teaching tools for K-12 students to enrich their learning by integrating science, mathematics and technology toward real-world problems. The facility has cutting-edge technologies that enable students to imagine, invent and innovate solutions to Qatar’s grand challenges through hands-on learning.

The facility is a central part of Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM outreach programs, which are designed to spark interest in science and engineering in students to motivate them to choose educational pathways for careers in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is a crucial link for building human capital and capacity for the technical workforce needed to achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, said QNRF’s Dr. Aisha A. Al-Obaidly.

“Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) organized this workshop for school students,” Al-Obaidly said. “In fact, this workshop is considered an important initiative that will support us to develop the capabilities of Qatar’s people, which is one of the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals. We aim to create a platform for young researchers and scientists who will be our future science ambassadors in international events such as Intel ISEF and FameLab finalist. The workshop will enable them to present science-related projects.”

Al-Obaidly continued, “Furthermore, such initiatives will make science more relevant to young people and will raise their interest to develop their skills. Workshops dedicated to young learners are important in order to ensure the commitment and success of Qatar’s next generation of leading scientists.”

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