It is recognised that in the UK, the shortage of adults with adequate STEM skills has led to vocational skills gaps in many industrial sectors. A recent report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) estimates the cost to the UK economy as £1.5 billion per year. In parallel, one of the UK’s traditional agricultural industries is seeking to transform it’s training practices for beekeeping and apiary management. This innovative project aims to use bee keeping as a learning environment to help address the challenges presented by STEM shortages.
Huduma will develop training materials and toolkits, based on “Digital Twin” beehives, that will provide a learning environment for the development of STEM skills. One twin will be a real-world beekeeping environment, while the other twin will be an identical, highly accurate and responsive online model reacting to the activities taking place in its real-world twin, and the data provided by it. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors will provide a wide range of data for the online digital twin, so that the latter is realistic in its behaviour. Learners will develop STEM skills by carrying out a range of experiments, exercises and reflections within the digital environment. These will cover applied science, technology implementation and analysis, engineering and maths. Supporting the twins will be a number of blended activities to facilitate collaborative learning, exploratory learning through field studies, personal reflection on experiences and data, and problem solving.