Fostering experiential and autonomous learning in virtual settings

Dayang Nursyazwa playing games at the E-sports lab.

The three-week long Immersive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) programme held by the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) which started on June 7 saw many students, parents, and tech-enthusiasts alike throng the CENTEXS Digital Academy. 

The three-week long Immersive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) programme held by the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) starting on June 7 saw many students, parents, and tech-enthusiasts alike throng the Digital Academy on its second day of exhibition. 

Besides the main event, which will end on June 20, there are also various one-day events such as the Fibre Optic Splicing Training, Tech Talk with CENTEXS, and Introduction to XR Development, which will be held on June 11, June 14, and June 18, respectively at CENTEXS Digital Academy. 

For individuals in Lawas, Mukah, and Miri, they will also be given the opportunity to learn from the industry players in the Android workshop and the Introduction to Digital Marketing workshop. 

A survey conducted by a New Sarawak Tribune reporter found that visitors for the digital carnival on the second day of the exhibition were mostly made of youngsters, who crowded the e-sports lab to support the programme and cheered for their friends during the carnival. 

The first stop, the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) cluster exhibition, featured state-of-the-art devices in the exhibition room, which creates a learning environment that allows visitors to meet and interact, fosters experiential and autonomous learning in both virtual settings. It also supports collaborative learning through simulation and live interaction. 

The writer, having her first-hand experience of trying on the VR devices itself, found it entertaining to say that the “garage” setting felt somehow real, albeit looking a little funny to other visitors trying to navigate throughout the whole process. Putting that aside, the VR was also very informative by inserting labels on each item in the garage and, true to its nature, provided interactive learning to its user.

Meanwhile, the AR mobile application: colour combination, which is still in its prototype phase and only applicable to Android at the moment, will see AR’s ability to produce different colour combinations through the primary colours by using the said AR application. 

Visitors will also be fascinated by the Hologram Heritage Items, which showcase the heritage items by using hologram technology and provide an alternative way to display the heritage items virtually. This also allows for a quick and easy learning experience in history and culture with stimulating visuals and audio.

Upon entering the e-sports lab, a large number of boys and girls crowded the room, which was filled with youth spirit, trying to win over each other in the games they were competing in. It is safe to say that this lab is the centre of attention of the whole exhibition and catches the interest of the youths. 

Hologram Heritage Items, showcasing the history and culture of Sarawak.

Dayang Nursyazwa Anisah Abang Kamis, 19, a student from Institut Kemahiran Islam Malaysia Sarawak (IKMAS), said that she is satisfied with the facilities provided by CENTEXS, be it the devices such as computers or a conducive environment for them to study and enjoy such activities. 

Nursyazwa admitted that she is very much interested in e-sports because she managed to gain more knowledge and with events like this, she is happy to learn that there are programmes that are aligned to her hobbies and interests. 

“I hope that in the coming years, there will be more digital technology exhibitions like this, especially on e-sports. It is an undeniable fact that the youths of today are all interested and attracted to e-sports and to the world of gaming, not only PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Mobile Legends, just to name a few, but many other parts of e-sports as well.

Hologram Heritage Items, showcasing the history and culture of Sarawak.

“If possible, I hope e-sports too will be in the list of core sports programmes because, rationally speaking, the youth now are more interested in e-sports as compared to other traditional sports. 

“This is because as they were more exposed to this type of games, they have the talents and the ability to think in a creative manner for their game strategy, such as how to defeat and fight against the enemies in a game,” she told the New Sarawak Tribune. 

Meanwhile, siblings Florencia Fyonnia Gaben, 24, and Stephanus Gaben, 18, also showed an enthusiastic response upon visiting the exhibition.

Florencia said the booths she visited at the venue were very interesting, despite being lost and confused at first. 

“Earlier, I was confused at what I am looking at. However, the staff explained everything very well and they were also very friendly. 

“The Immersive Technology, which uses augmented virtual reality (AR), caught my interest the most as it focused on creating digital images from real images, animation, and developing games. 

“The Metaverse Heritage was one of the most interesting features in the Immersive Technology session as we could explore the different heritages in Sarawak virtually. 

“I believe that events like these should regularly be held to encourage more young people to be interested in STEM and to be aware of digital technology that can help our state develop even further,” she added.

Echoing the same sentiment, her brother, Stepahanus, also said that it was an interesting carnival.

“For me personally, the 3D animation is the most interesting as I love that the most. I’m very interested in joining one of the simulator classes and would love to come to the event again should another one be held in the future, “he said. 

Those who are interested in knowing more about CENTEXS Digital Carnival 2022, may visit CENTEXS, CENTEXS Digital Academy, and CENTEXS Commercial on its Facebook page or website at https://www.centex-sarawak.my

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