IDA’s Mobile Tech Lab hits the road with New Buses to make Learning Tech Fun and Accessible to Students and the Community

7 May 2016 - As part of the continuing effort to nurture young talents, the IDA Lab on Wheels programme will be extended with the addition of three new buses. One bus will supplement the current Primary school programme, while two will be specially designed with activities to meet the learning needs of Secondary school students.

Singapore, 7 May | For Immediate Release

New buses equipped with fabrication labs for secondary school students from May 2016
Over 25,000 students attended tech workshops onboard the IDA Lab on Wheels bus programme since launch.

As part of the continuing effort to nurture young talents, the IDA Lab on Wheels programme will be extended with the addition of three new buses. One bus will supplement the current Primary school programme, while two will be specially designed with activities to meet the learning needs of Secondary school students. Together, the buses will bring access to potentially another 20,000 students to tinker with tech. The new buses will be travelling to schools this month. 

The Lab on Wheels programme first started with a single bus in November 2014. It has since received an overwhelming response from the participating schools, visiting 85 primary schools and conducting workshops for over 25,000 students. Lab on Wheels aims to ignite the young’s passion for tech via engaging and experiential activities such as coding games, robotics, 3D technologies, electronics, programming of drones and experimenting with wearables. 

In addition to schools, the IDA Lab on Wheels bus had appeared at more than 30 public events in the past year as part of its community outreach efforts to make technology accessible to everyone through collaborations with industry partners and organisations. For example, students from Nanyang Polytechnic used the bus and the equipment onboard as a mobile venue to teach computer literacy to dialysis patients from the National Kidney Foundation. 

“The IDA Lab on Wheels programme supports the government’s vision to nurture a culture of experimentation and innovation through encouraging our young to explore and tinker with technology. By encouraging a maker mindset, we can empower our young generations to solve real world problems with technology, and contribute meaningful projects that will improve our lives and benefit our communities.  

“In addition, we want to foster computational thinking in children so that they will grow into adults who can approach challenges with sound reasoning and an analytical mind. The skills that students pick up from the Lab on Wheels programme will go far in preparing them to be future ready for the many demands that our Smart Nation journey will require from our people.” said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information when he announced the extension of the programme at the Tech Saturday Pop-Up at Velocity@Thomson today. 

Mobile Fabrication Lab on Wheels for Secondary School Students

Expanding the programme’s scope, the new Secondary School Lab on Wheels buses have been outfitted as fabrication labs, featuring 3D printers and scanners and laser cutters. With help from industry partners, the new labs feature cutting edge technologies such as advanced robotics, data analytics tools and Internet of Things sensors and solutions, virtual reality gadgets etc. Through these, students are given access to the development of advanced technical skills needed for the Smart Nation journey.

Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA said, “A key focus of IDA’s work is to encourage and enable young people with some of the skills for needed for the future. As almost everything now is built with – runs on- technology, we want to play our part in making this knowledge easy for young people to gain. From pre-schoolers with Playmaker, students and adults with IDA Labs and Lab on Wheels, to seniors with our IDA Lab @ National Library, our goal is to make it fun and easy for people of all ages to be Builders.”

More than 30 secondary schools have already expressed interest in hosting IDA Lab on Wheels, including Bishan Park Secondary, Bukit View Secondary, Singapore Chinese Girls School, Spectra Secondary. Age appropriate hardware and software such as Project Spark by Microsoft, Makey Makey as well as Sphero robotics will be introduced to Secondary school students.

“Riding on the success of Lab on Wheels for primary schools, MOE supports IDA’s initiative to extend the programme to our secondary school students.  It will complement our other efforts to expose our students to computational thinking, as part of the overall effort towards building Singapore as a Smart Nation.” Said Mr Sng Chern Wei, Divisional Director, Curriculum Planning and Development, Ministry of Education. 

To ensure greater inclusiveness, one of the Secondary School buses has also been designed to cater for the special needs community. It is wheelchair accessible and outfitted with assistive tech gadgets and can provide workshop contents relevant for individuals with special needs.   

With four buses in the fleet, IDA Lab on Wheels will now have a larger presence in schools and more frequent engagements with the public.  To date, 19 industry partners have come forward to show their support to nurture and cultivate tech talent by contributing resources and expertise in every way for the development of the buses. The programme will be continued by the new IMDA as part of its outreach efforts to work with industry and community to use technology to benefit Singapore’s economy and society.

The new buses would also be showcased at Tech Saturday, to be held on 21 May 2016 for members of the public to experience the latest technology offerings onboard the buses. Tech Saturday is an event organised by IDA to show how technology can make a huge impact on everyday lives through an interactive environment of play and experimentation. 

For more information, please visit www.ida.gov.sg


ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE


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About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg. Follow IDA on Facebook IDA.Singapore and Twitter @IDAsg.

For media clarifications, please contact:

Lin Mei Jun (Ms)
Assistant Director, Corporate Marketing & Communications Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
DID: (65) 6211 3817
Email: Lin_mei_jun@imda.gov.sg

Christopher Koh (Mr)
Senior Manager, Corporate Marketing & Communications Division
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
DID: (65) 6211 1709
Email: Christopher_koh@imda.gov.sg

LAST UPDATED: 19 OCT 2023