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Using innovative subjects such as robotics and coding, world-class South African private school Nova Pioneer is preparing its students for a phrase coined by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum ‘the 4IR’ (Fourth Industrial Revolution), a current buzzword across a host of business sectors

“Our mission is to develop the next generation of innovators and leaders for the African continent,” explains Des Hugo, Head of Academics at Nova Pioneer. “To equip our students to lead and innovate in the future, we need to prepare them to work with future technologies.”

“The World Economic Forum has forecast that the industrial economic model is shifting towards one that is both technology-driven and human-centered, which they have conceived as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR),” Hugo continues. “These 4IR technologies include artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, advanced biotechnology, robotics, the Internet of Things, blockchain, speedy connectivity in the form of 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and 3D printing.”

“Robotics & artificial intelligence are one of the keystone technologies for the future and no child will be equipped for tomorrow’s environment unless they have solid understanding of these concepts,” Hugo explains.

Nova Pioneer brings a rigorous and innovative approach to education that focuses on developing everyone’s full potential.

The school upskills its students with coding and computational thinking, which are the foundation for robotics as well as the subject robotics itself. “Computational thinking enables our students to solve ambiguous and challenging problems – a crucial skill for a 4IR leader and innovator,” Hugo says. “It also helps develop skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.”

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Robotics is being used by Nova Pioneer in during weekly primary school lessons as part of the school’s Hallmark Programming curriculum. This helps in enhancing and deepening students’ understanding of subjects like science, literacy and numeracy.

Senior school students use robotics during Project Time as a prototyping option to make their inventions tangible, as well as in the science laboratory to make scientific measurements using the sensors with the kits.

Students’ skills in robotics are measured with a combination of project rubrics, self/peer assessment, and anecdotal observations.

“A firmly believe that a strong academic programme combined with 21st century skills is required to equip our students for future success. We are delighted with the interest shown so far by our by our students in robotics and coding, which sets the tone for growing their expertise and understanding of these concepts,” Hugo concludes.