Three MIT students set up a startup to provide training in robotics and STEM education
Cloof Siu Chun-ping teaches a group of secondary school students the basic theory behind assembling a robot.
Chan Ming-kit teaches a group of primary students how to assemble different simple circuits into a circuit maze, as part of a training course in STEM education.
Cloof Siu Chun-ping, Chan Ming-kit and Ng Chun-kit participate in the Robocon Hong Kong 2022 Contest held last year.
From left to right: Chan Ming-kit (fourth-year), Cloof Siu Chun-ping Cloof (second-year) and Ng Chun-kit (second-year). All three of them are students of BEd(S)-ICT programme.
At FLASS, we encourage our students to make connections between what they have learnt in the classroom and real-life situations. Three students of the Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Secondary) - Information and Communication Technology programme [BEd(S)-ICT] from the Department of Mathematics and Information Technology (MIT) have responded to this call in earnest by forming a startup that provides courses in robotics and STEM education for primary and secondary school students.
MIT students Cloof Siu Chun-ping, Chan Ming-kit and Ng Chun-kit are big fans of robotics and AI technology. They are active members the EdUHK robotic team. “We have represented EdUHK in the Robocon Hong Kong Contest held for students of higher institutions in Hong Kong for two years, where we have accumulated valuable experience. We have decided to apply the knowledge we have learnt at the competition to set up a company. The company will provide courses for local schools to teach their students the basic knowledge and skills required for making robots. We also offer courses on STEM education for primary and secondary school students,” said Cloof, a second-year student of BEd(S)-ICT programme.
Cloof has always been interested in using technology to solve problems, ever since he was still a secondary school student. “I had plenty of time at home back then, for I didn’t need to attend face-to-face school classes during the pandemic. I thought constantly about how to make use of simple technology to solve everyday problems. I made a few products through a 3D printer at home, and successfully sold them online. This was my first taste of running my own business. This experience helped me to set up the startup Makerholic (創機源) in January, with two other students from BEd(S)-ICT,” Cloof said.
“The Hong Kong government is very supportive of nurturing local students’ interest in STEM. Many primary and secondary schools have received funding from the government to strengthen their STEM education. We see that there is a promising market for us to explore,” Cloof explained. In recent years, the government has put in considerable resources to support innovative IT education in local schools. The “IT Innovation Lab in Secondary Schools” programme launched in 2020 for secondary school students and the “Knowing More About IT” programme introduced in 2021 for primary school students raised students’ interest and basic knowledge in IT through extracurricular activities. These programmes also sparked students’ enthusiasm in studying STEM subjects, preparing them for an increasingly digital society.
Since it began operations several months ago, Makerholic has already received several business opportunities. “In one collaboration, we taught a group of secondary school students how to design and make VEX robots, and led them to participate in the Hong Kong Tech Challenge Game 2023 organised by the Asian Robotics League Fund in February. In another collaboration, we provided a training course in STEM education for a primary school,” Cloof said. He said Makerholic is developing its own teaching materials in robotics and STEM, and is going to build a company website. “We are also considering adding generative AI elements to our course content to meet market expectations,” Cloof said.
Dr Henry So Chi-fuk, Senior Lecturer II from MIT, advised the three MIT students when they set up their new company. Dr So said, “We are so glad that Cloof and his team are using their knowledge and experiences acquired at the University to open their own company. Through this small venture, they can learn how to apply their IT knowledge, run a business, enhance their teaching skills, and give back to society as well.”
MIT offers several courses that teach AI and robotics technology. Apart from BEd(S)-ICT, the Bachelor of Science with (Honours) in Artificial Intelligence and Educational Technology [BSc(AI&EdTech)] programme is also designed to equip students with the most cutting-edge AI and educational technology knowledge.