Brunel University London organised a National Conference on 14 October 2022 as part of a
Multiplier Event to disseminate and communicate the successful outcome of the DEMO or DIE
project. The National Conference took place at The Bunker in West London, 10 minutes away from
the university campus. This was a historical venue, now a museum that opened in 2018 to
commemorate the use of an important underground operations room at RAF Uxbridge. The topic of
the National Conference was Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which is
relevant to the DEMO or DIE project, allowing attendees to see the technologies being
exhibited at the Museum.
Participants and guest speakers:
The conference attracted a good number of attendees, many of whom travelled from various parts of the country in the morning. They had the opportunity to listen and interact with invited speakers who were STEM experts. Eujin Pei (Associate Dean) from Brunel University as the UK Partner for the project welcomed the attendees and introduced the speakers. He spoke about how the two-year DEMO or DIE project was meaningful in so many ways, for example that project partners had to work closely together, and about the piloting events that have been organised. Tony Ryan (CEO of the Design and Technology Association) shared with us about the current state of Design and Technology (D&T) education in England and the actions that need to be taken to arrest its decline to put D&T back on the curriculum as a vibrant subject. Philip Cotton (Head of Department for Design and Technology) spoke about what are 3D Printers and the rationale behind why students should learn 3D Printing, and shared with the audience about how he started out with 3D Printers in his classroom 10 years ago.
It was fascinating to see the many examples of how students have utilized 3D Printing in their design projects. Pete Lomas (Co-Founder of Raspberry Pi Foundation) delivered a presentation about what Raspberry Pi is and the vision of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He spoke about the formal and extra-curricular engagement activities that have created a positive impact to education and shared case studies such as the use of Raspberry Pi for aeronautical and space missions. Professor Chris McMahon, a retired Professor from the University of Bristol, spoke about the nature of technology and design, how we might think about the role of science and design in the development and application of technologies, and the implications for the teaching of STEM subjects. The Brunel STEM Centre presented the work of the centre with a hands-on and interactive demonstration where they showed up with props and artefacts used to engage with children and learners. It was impressive to see a range of electronic gadgets and the attendees particularly enjoyed having a go at playing with the kits. This event also gave us an opportunity to receive feedback from the audience about the DEMO or DIE project where Dr Suresh Srinivasan provided an overview of the project, funded by the European Commission about the objectives, learning outcomes and key achievements. There was a good discussion about the long-term sustainability of DEMO or DIE when the project is completed in October 2022. After the event, the attendees took the opportunity to view the museum exhibits and made long-lasting friendships.