Academics from the CLEVER project delivered a day of STEM workshops in March 2016, designed to consider the environmental and social challenges of electronic products in today’s ‘throw-away’ society.
A group of 30 key stage three students – all girls – from the Madani School, Evington, Leicester took part in the event.
Throughout the day the students and academics worked together in a range of innovative workshops focused on e-waste reduction and mobile phones. Sessions included designing mobile phone skins, investigating economically recyclable components for mobile phones and discussing the value of discarded mobile phone items. The students were also challenged to consider how people might be encouraged to keep hold of devices via the use of new materials which age, in much the same way as leather.
Dr Debra Lilley from Loughborough University said: “The day was fantastic and it was great to involve the students in the challenge of designing more sustainable products and services. We hope that these projects will ignite the interest of young people in studying STEM subjects in the future.”
The day was part of a series of outreach events designed to engage interest, especially of girls, in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. It was delivered by the CLEVER team, a group of academics from Loughborough University and the Universities of Bath, Newcastle, Surrey, Oxford and Cardiff whose research activity is focused on what to do with electronic waste as smart phones and tablets become ever more popular. The work of the CLEVER team has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Dr Garrath Wilson, also from Loughborough University added: “I think I can safely say on behalf of all those that took part that it far exceeded our expectations. Both the staff and students were amazingly welcoming and genuinely interested in all the workshops and the CLEVER concept. The highlight for me though was when a group of students wrote and sang us a song about mobile phones and resource efficiency !”