#mydigitalmaker movement yields results
By Sharmila Ganapathy September 12, 2018
- Focuses on coding, app development, 3D printing, robotics, embedded programming, data analytics
- Curriculum developed with the aid of Carnegie Mellon and the British Computing Society
PUBLIC, private sector and academia-backed #mydigitalmaker movement, now in its third year, is impacting school-going students and school teachers around the country, according to its custodians the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
For the uninitiated, the #mydigitalmaker movement was established to prepare the future generation for jobs in a digital world and aims to turn Malaysian youth into digital producers, as opposed to mere users of digital technology.
Launched in August 2016, #mydigitalmaker focuses on skills such as coding, app development, 3D printing, robotics, embedded programming and data analytics.
At the recent launch of the #mydigitalmaker Fair 2018, MDEC CEO Yasmin Mahmood noted that as many as 350,000 school-going students nationwide have already been impacted by the #mydigitalmaker movement.
“The movement is happening in schools and continues beyond schools. We want to ensure that strong phasing. It takes a whole nation to prepare or futureproof our kids for the new economy and the future,” she said.
“Working with MOE’s co-curricular department, students can choose any four tracks of co-curricular activities. They can do projects on a weekly basis and there are competitions they can participate in. These are done in schools or hosted by the 48 digitalmaker hubs run by the private sector and universities,” she explained.
The strategy, she said, is to give inclusiveness to all schools by covering them in phases. “The students who are interested and show talent, we nurture and groom them.”
Yasmin said that last year, the movement produced 130 young digital from Forms One to Four innovators from secondary schools all over the country. Through the movement Digital Ninjas initiative, they identify students with the highest potential and engage with them during school holidays. “This year we have 100 students from all over the country who will be mentored.”
Under the Digital Ninjas initiative, students in Forms One to Four are placed in an accelerator lab, whereas post-SPM students are allowed to participate in bootcamps and holiday internships such as with Digi, Fusionex and Media Prima Digital.
According to Yasmin, there are more than 60 private sector companies involved in the #mydigitalmaker movement. Industry partners include ADV Fusionex Sdn Bhd, Digi, Microsoft Malaysia, Shell Malaysia and Yayasan Sime Darby.
“#mydigitalmaker started two years ago and we have got the structure tested and the support from stakeholders,” Yasmin said, naming Carnegie Mellon and the British Computing Society as organisations MDEC has worked with to develop the curriculum for the movement.
MOE deputy director-general of education policy and development Sulaiman Wak noted that the Ministry was aware that digital technology is reinventing how we live, work and learn.
He added that the Ministry was currently overseeing the second wave of the national education blueprint, which seeks to improve student outcomes in digital competencies.
“Key initiatives include integrating computational thinking and computer science integrated into the primary school syllabus since 2017. Computer science is offered as a compulsory-elective in more than 50% of secondary schools, with more than 100,000 students impacted.”
He said that the MOE was also preparing educators and has to date had 800 master teachers certified by MOE, MDEC and partner universities.
A total of 70,000 school teachers have been trained to date via on-the-job training, he said. Teachers also have the opportunity to upskill themselves via the continuous professional development centres in 12 local universities across the country, including East Malaysia.
The MOE is also equipping pre-service teachers with the necessary digital skills and aims to train 3,200 of them by end 2018, he said.