Acer CloudProfessor to promote digital education solutions

The Internet of Things [IoT] being as steadfast as it is, poses this question – How do we get the youth, a generation raised on smart devices, to not only effectively engage with IoT but also understand how it works to better prepare them for the imminent succession of technology? Acer Africa is committed to making future technology available to everyone hence it’s introduced the BYOC CloudProfessor – Learn to Code. Code to Create.

Shaping The Future of Coding

The Acer CloudProfessor is the culmination of 40 years of effort to bring together hardware, software, and service into one transportable device. CloudProfessor is aimed at making technology accessible to everyone and moreover educating the current generation on how to code and use sensors and motors to build a digital solution for everyday problems.

More and more countries are adopting computer programming as part of its school curricula as an increasing number of jobs in the future will require a basic skill level in ICT.  “With CloudProfessor, we are able to give everyone the opportunity to see how easy it can be to design the next great innovation by combining actual sensors and motors and then choosing between a variety of programming languages, including JavaScript, as well as Blockly, to get their innovation programmed and working. This provides younger learners with the building and visual interface they need to start innovating in the new Internet of Things era,” says Glenn du Toit, Acer BYOC Digital Business Development.

The solution is made for implementation in the education system to encourage and allow both learners and teachers to create solutions for next generation. “In the new economic environment, computer science isn’t an optional skill but rather a basic skill,” as said by Barak Obama. “The CloudProfessor is targeted towards the education sector under the Acer umbrella to equip learners of all ages to become digital citizens and not just consumers of digital content but creators of digital solutions. It will help students become contributors to the digital society and not just consumers of a digital society,” adds du Toit.

For example, using the CloudProfessor an individual can develop an application that turns lights on at home when they are not in, which allows for convenience and safety. Moreover, the device can build a full industrial irrigation system to be used on a farm. It’s a tool that allows hands-on experience, which promotes diverse experiences and encourages professional multi-industry integration through all the generations.”

Acer, in conjunction with CloudClub.Africa are using the CloudProfessor with the University of Johannesburg on a project to teach non-technical and non-engineering students how the digital world will integrate into their chosen field. This is where the CloudProfessor really comes into its own in making IoT easy for non-technical students.  

Importance of Coding Vs Digital Disruption

Coding skills are in demand across a broad range of careers, not just for programmers. The ability not only to use but also to program software is often required from business people who work with data, from designers and marketers who create websites, from engineers who build products and technologies, and from scientists who conduct research.

According to a Burning Glass Report, an analytics software company, seven million job openings in 2015 were in occupations that required coding skills, and programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average.

However, du Toit says the introduction of CloudProfessor is not digital disruption, it’s about digital education. CloudProfessor is a second-generation educational tool which is a practical and a necessary addition to education in South Africa and globally. “CloudProfessor is a step further than simple coding and robotics. There is 40 hours of robotics lessons in both Javascript and Blockley catering to a range of age groups, by including industrial sensors and motors into the expanded lessons. However, in the process the focus shifts from simply following instructions to building a robot, to identifying a problem, then building a solution”.

This is not disruption, this is progress. This is the advancement of education into a digital era. Resulting in learners being able to provide digital solutions in the most practical way possible.

How does it work?

1.     Build and connect all the elements received in the box.

2.     Download the CloudProfessor app which is customised for mobile [Andriod and iOS], tablets and the Acer Chromebook. Scan the QR code to get started.

3.     Once you have done this – login into your CloudProfessor app and enable your Bluetooth to pair with your CloudProfessor device.

4.     Download the LED 101 app to access lessons and modules on how to code and develop, the first step in your cloud and IoT education.

5.     Watch the video here

“It’s a cross-platform tool which will work in any school. All that is needed is a tablet or a smartphone or even a Chromebook. The lessons are directly linked to STEAM education methodology and covers topics addressed in subjects such as Economic Management Sciences [EMS], Science and Technology, Mathematics. Added to this, coding and problem solving that is inherent in the CloudProfessor lessons that follow a logical process and requires learners to follow through a chronological organisation of tasks which helps kids better understand the processes of Maths, Science and even general life skills.,” add du Toit.

Another great feature of the CloudProfessor as an education tool is the fact that it is mobile and can literally be used to teach learners to build solutions and code from anywhere. “As its usable from a mobile device, all that is needed is a power bank. It’s not technology that requires masses and masses of infrastructure such as screens, PC’s, or even a notebook. Connect your CloudProfessor to almost any mobile device and you can code from under a tree in rural Africa!”

What’s next?

The most important next step is providing more schools on the continent access to CloudProfessor. Key to the development of this software was to build a stronger digital foundation for the youth of today in order to secure a better future.

“Acer has and will continue to provide cloud and IoT support to further education in this area. Chromebooks have been sponsored to several schools and we are working on making the CloudProfessor device affordable and accessible to all schools around the continent,” says du Toit.

 “It’s a huge step for Acer business in making a difference as a brand but also under our education and BYOC – Build Your Own Cloud umbrellas. CloudProfessor is a higher key product which very importantly is an education solution more over than just a device,” concludes du Toit.

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