Engineers at Leonardo have used their time in self-isolation to develop Techtopia World, a new website which gives children instant online access to the world of STEM.
Packed with details of fascinating engineering feats, legends in the world of technology and trailblazing inventions, Sarah Cooper, a hardware Engineer and software Engineer Amy Edwards initially created the Techtopia World website as a competition entry for an engineering award. However, the engineers at the aerospace, defence and security company revisited the idea when they found themselves based from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Leonardo, the Techtopia World website aims to demystify the world of STEM, removing barriers which can stop young people from feeling they belong in the world of engineering. The hub can also give vital information to teachers and parents who want to learn more about future engineering careers.
According to the 2019 Engineering UK report, only 23.6 per cent of 11-14 year olds and 25.5 per cent of 14-16 year olds understand the role of an engineer. As a result, every year there are up to 59,000 engineering roles unfilled in the UK.
STEM hub innovator Amy said: “Understanding of the role of STEM professionals in our society must be improved at an early age, because we want them to feel they could step into engineering roles in the future which could allow them to create positive change. Not only is there a shortage of engineers within the field, there is also a large disproportion in diversity. For example, only 12 per cent of workers in Engineering are female.”
The engineers are tackling this challenge head-on by offering direct support to teachers, parents and other influencers who could benefit from learning how to discuss STEM effectively in a child-friendly manner.
By providing interactive examples of STEM, with accompanying activities, they will be able to give children a rapid ‘ladder of learning’ which is completely free and helps children build confidence in engineering. This is coupled with easy access information on real life STEM professionals and role models with varied interests and backgrounds.
Activities on the Techtopia World website include instant access to learning modules on Gravity, the Laws of Motion and a fun biological explanation of what makes yeast work so quickly. In the coming weeks the learning hub will be extended with activities covering maths, technology and engineering.
A ‘STEM heroes’ section invites the children to get to know the people who discovered the world around them. The hall of fame includes Isaac Newton, Mary Jackson, Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace.
Fellow founder Sarah added: “We just wanted to fast track children’s understanding of the transformative power of engineering by helping them get to know some remarkable people. For example, Mary Jackson was the first ever African-American female engineer to work for NASA, as well as a major influencer in promoting women in STEM careers while Grace Hopper was the ‘mother of computing’. That’s just scratching the surface of engineering legends and there will be many more we can’t wait to share with our web visitors in the months to come.”