Future engineers hone skills at Al Jalila centre

[Students at the opening of Future Engineer Program at Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children. – KT photo by Leslie Pableo]

The children are learning to build robotos and create mobile applications.

It’s often said that “age is just a number” and a group of kids at a Dubai community centre is proving just that with their ambition of becoming engineers.

About 40 children took part in the Future Engineers programme at the Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children (AJCCC) on Monday, where they learned how to build robots and create mobile applications.

The project is being carried out by the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (Dewa) with hopes that the programme will inspire the youth to pursue engineering in the future.

Khaleej Times spoke to some of the kids who took part, most of whom said they want to be engineers when they grow up.

Adam Bilal, for example, is just 11-years-old, however, he is certain that he wants to have a profession in robotics engineering.

“When I grow up, I want to do robotics. I have already built robots with Legos and they can actually move. At this programme, my team and I are building another kind of robot that will be able to change colours every five minutes,” Bilal said. “I really like building robots and I think I am very good at it. In the future, I can see myself doing this more often. I think this programme will be helpful for me and other students that are interested in doing robotics.”

The children were building robots using Junkbot, which is a DIY (Do It Yourself) educational robotic kit for kids and adults, where they can build working robots from junk. However, the kit comes with the necessary wiring and other tools to built the robot.

Some of the children were also creating their own mobile applications as part of the programme. Salasabeel Elwan, 14, was designing a music application along with one of her friends.

“I’m making a music application that will allow people to listen to any kind of music they want. They will be able to pause, rewind and forward the songs in the application,” Elwan, who wants to be an electrical engineer in the future, said.

Another pair of friends, Ghalia Jaber, 14, and Meera Al Falaso, 15, were also creating a music application called Musicals.

“It’s music that anyone will be able to download and listen to all the time,” Jaber said.

A representative of the AJCCC, Moza Al Raqbabi said the Future Engineers programme will help the children combine creativity and technology together. The AJCCC is mainly an arts centre, with programmes such as music, theatre arts and pottery. However, Dewa introduced the Future Engineers programme recently.

“This programme helps the creative side and technological merge together and helps the students come up with new kinds of technologies,” Al Raqbabi said. “With the mobile app and robotics, the children have to integrate their creative side within that. At Jalila, we are providing them with artistic courses to expand their creativity and vision and then they can implement it within their technologies.

“If they’re just focused on building the technologies, they will forget where they come from. But here, they are also focusing on art and that will make them more creative when they’re building the technologies.”

Source: Khaleej Times