University of Pretoria Pre-University Academy collaborates with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to let Mamelodi kids fly drones

Posted on January 30, 2023

University of Pretoria Pre-University Academy collaborates with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to let Mamelodi kids fly drones

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Pre-University Academy (PUA) collaborated with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to give learners from Mamelodi an opportunity to learn how to code drones.

44 Learners from the University of Pretoria Pre-University Academy were part of a project initiated in collaboration with the Department of Service Learning at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 40 Hong Kong Polytechnic University students taught secondary school learners through Zoom how to code a drone. University of Pretoria students Bryce van de Kraats, Albert Jere, Henry Mbewe, Jonathan Tribelhorn, Kagiso Seroto and Sean Spijkers, that volunteered, assisted the learners more hands-on.

Dr Martina Jordaan, Head of Community Engagement Research and Postgraduate Studies at UP’s Mamelodi Campus, said the project was initiated by the Polytechnic University but is a part of an ongoing collaboration between the institution and UP.

The project ran over five days, during which the learners were introduced to various aspects of artificial intelligence. The learners learned how to code the drone using the Mind + Software. On the last day, the learners had to fly their drones on a prescribed route and present on Artificial Intelligence.

Feedback from the learners and the engineering students showcased just how much of an impact the project had on them.

Bryce van de Kaats- (Final year electronic engineering student) that has been involved with similar projects with Hong Kong Polytechnical University, indicated that the project is an excellent opportunity for the learners and an enriching experience for himself. Tshepang Moja (Grade 9) from Ribane Laka Secondary School indicated, “I learned how AI helped in society. The project was fun and exciting.” Temosho Maoko (Grade 9) from Mamelodi High School said that it was an interesting project and that she learned more about artificial intelligence. Sicelo Sithole (Grade 9) from Nellmapius Secondary School, who what to become a motor engineer, indicated, “ It was fun because we never had the opportunity to learn how to code a drone before. It was mindblowing.” Matlale Ratau (Grade 9) from Phateng Comprehensive Secondary School) wants to become a civil engineer and reflected that he gained new knowledge and it was enjoyable and fun. Mimi Maswanganye (Grade 9) from – Tsako Thabo Secondary School, that wants to become an IT specialist, reflected on the experience, “finish something you have started and never let your dreams go – all of us can learn new skills.

Dr Jordaan said the projects had created additional opportunities to grow and develop the relationship between the University of Pretoria Pre-University Academy, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, UP and other higher education institutions. More E-community projects developed with other Higher Education institutions, and she is busy discussing new projects. She is excited to see what the future holds.

- Author Martina Jordaan

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