Creating Coding Champions with RoboSTEAM Train

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Published on:
July 5, 2024

Founding Story 

After tutoring high school mathematics and science, Tshegofatso Dludla noticed that students were disinterested and didn’t understand the importance of these subjects. This realisation catalysed her goal to make learning fun and engaging, with the additional benefit of addressing the high mathematics failure rates in rural and township areas.

In 2018, Tshegofatso founded the Tshala Foundation, an NPO using coding and robotics to enhance children’s learning. The Foundation led to the birth of RoboSTEAM Train in 2020, which provides primary school learners and teachers with the coding and robotics skills needed to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) curriculum. Guided by the belief that no child or educator should be left behind, RoboSTEAM Train empowers communities with practical skills to merge technology with their teaching processes to improve educational outcomes.

The STEAM Approach 

The “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) in RoboSTEAM Train represents an interdisciplinary approach to education that encourages young children to develop cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning. RoboSTEAM Train integrates these STEAM principles with coding and robotics products to create engaging learning environments that help children think creatively and innovatively.

Incorporating tech into lessons and developing child-friendly educational games helps children acquire the necessary skills to navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape. The RoboSTEAM Train team also offers training sessions for educators to blend coding and robotics with STEAM education, ensuring more holistic learning experiences.

RoboSTEAM Train's Work and Impact

RoboSTEAM Train offers various services to improve children's education through technology and innovative teaching methods. Their Robotics Club is a 24-week course integrating robotics and coding into daily learning. The Train the Trainer programme is a week-long course for educators to incorporate coding and robotics into foundational subjects. RoboSTEAM Train creates screenless board games for children aged five and up, promoting the ability to learn without electricity. They also collaborate with private and public schools to offer customised extracurricular activities.

RoboSTEAM Train's programmes primarily aim to nurture a curiosity for technology in young learners and introduce fundamental technology principles early. By doing so, they bridge educational gaps and inspire confident, enthusiastic learning. These initiatives ensure students have the skills and knowledge to succeed in a tech-savvy world.

Looking Ahead

RoboSTEAM Train envisions a future where tech-based learning is accessible to all learners, aiming to impact over 10,000 children by 2030. This organisation is working towards this tangible goal, having laid a solid foundation by teaching early childhood and Foundation Phase learners and forming partnerships with schools across South Africa. RoboSTEAM Train’s audacious goal is to create locally made coding and robotics products to reduce their reliance on imported items. This forward-thinking vision inspires optimism and excitement about the potential impact of their efforts to make technology-enhanced education readily available to every child.

RoboSTEAM Train is part of the 2024 Injini Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Program.