Educating on Solar Power, Reusing and Art (II)

Intro: Shams Generation is a pioneering CSR initiative established by Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) as a learning program that combines art, science, reusing and solar energy. On its second edition, Shams Generation reached 20 schools and 3,000 students and an additional 2,000 students and families through major public events across Qatar. QSTec supplies solar learning kits to educational institutions based on 3 levels of learning for students aged 6 through to university level. Qatar Solar Technologies was awarded the Best CSR Integrated Business Award for its Shams Generation solar education initiative at the Ta’atheer Awards in Dubai in May 2016. See website: www.shamsgeneration.com

The results of the implementation of Level 2 within student community have been just impressive. At this frame of ages is when you can really understand the impact of an activity like this, based on imagination and solution-based strategy. It is quite interesting to identify the differences between students regarding the way they approach the project: the artist, the engineer, the scientist… you can test how some students have a defined tendency to a certain field of knowledge. The value of the work grows exponentially when the project is built by a group, especially when the teacher distributes different roles to students. Then each of them will do their most in their respective specialty. Anthony Castronovo is an American artist and educator specialized on Art & Technology from the viewpoint of contemporary sculpture and public art as well as interdisciplinary curriculum that bridges art and engineering studies. Anthony has a key role within Shams Generation initiative as our Education Consultant. Regarding the results of the implementation of the activity with students, Anthony states that: “The impact of the student involvement with Shams Generation is a unique aspect of this project that will not only bear fruit immediately through the projects that students make, but will continue to resonate for years to come. Working with students of various ages ensures that we will see this immediate impact at all levels. While some students may be entering the job market in the near future and will put this unique experience to use in the field, younger students will benefit from the excitement that this project instills in them and hopefully will continue these interests. For me, one of the most powerful aspects of this project is that students are being exposed at a young age to the very important discussion about solar power and energy use as well as material waste and creative reusing.” The main theme of the project, Solar Art, has proven effectiveness to catch the immediate attention from students. In this sense, Anthony reflects about the benefits of combining Art, Science and Sustainability: “Solar Art has become a rich and diverse field of contemporary art which encompasses various disciplines such as fine art, architecture, and design. Solar Art can be considered one small and very specific aspect of a larger trend within contemporary art towards community engagement, environmental awareness, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Creative Reusing can also be framed within this larger context and is another way that artists and designers are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with these materials. Creative Reusing adds value since these materials serve a practical purpose while also igniting inspiration and creative potential in the viewer. In many ways, both Solar Art and Creative Reusing have benefited from the continuous refinement that has grown out of artists and designers seeing other creative work and becoming inspired to do something that pushes the envelope even further.” Qatar Solar Technologies is currently running the third edition of Shams Generation, this time in collaboration with Qatar Museums. Level 2 kits have been upgraded to provide students with even more creative possibilities, always maintaining the grade of challenge and technical requirements.

(Special Thanks to Qatar Academy Senior, Shantelle, Roger and Jonas, for the pictures provided)

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(*) Level 2: This kit brings together separated components such as small solar PV power panels, LED lights, a gear motor, batteries and other necessary electronics to build a circuit. Each student will be given one kit to build a solar kinetic and lighting design project. This program is recommended for Middle School and High School.