Leaders and advocates of STEM education are making efforts to take learning simply beyond the academics offered in the classroom. The Pre-University Workshop and Competition on Embedded Systems 2021 offered the opportunity for students to learn in new hands-on ways. 

The program was organized by the IoT-Edge Computing Research group of the Department of Software Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri in collaboration with the IEEE Computer Society Nigeria Section Chapter. This program offered a platform through which students and teachers from nine pre-university schools could engage in hands-on projects and teamwork to learn about embedded systems. The event consisted of a two-day workshop held in October 2021. It included participation of 42 students (ages 11-18), 16 teachers, and 16 volunteers. The program included a contest to build a simple traffic light. Teams were judged on how well their system worked, timing, and teamwork. The top two teams were awarded with embedded systems kids for their respective schools.

For many students, this was their first time learning about embedded systems, as this curriculum is not part of the syllabus at local pre-university schools. They were taught about hardware connections and software programming based off of the Arduino platform. Students were introduced to resources on embedded systems and other areas of STEM learning available at tryengineering.org. They were also given valuable opportunities to learn in ways beyond academics including project-based work and collaboration. Notably, all participants took part in IEEE Day which fell during the time of this event.

Pre-University Student Workshop and Competition on Embedded Systems 2021 (EMBED’21) was funded by the IEEE Pre-University STEM Portal Grant Program in 2021.