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A  team of UFH Scientists and Technologist at the Forté School of Science and Technology (FOSST) Discovery Centre has been working around the clock to ensure physics experiments are accessible online for learners and university students during the lockdown period.

This will be achieved through the use of the Remote and Virtual Education Laboratory (ReVEL) Technology, a first of its kind virtual lab in South Africa. The technology is attached to the university’s Physics Department in Alice and was launched last year.  Using coding and robotics, it allows users to interact with peers on experimentations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field.

For more information on the ReVEL Technology please click here: https://www.ufh.ac.za/news/News/UFHLaunchesfirstitskindOnlineInstrumentationTechnology

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa, schools and Higher Education institutions have been closed for almost two months. The pandemic has required educators, lecturers and researchers to devise alternative methods, such as e-Learning and online approaches, to continue research and teaching.

Mr Phumezo Kwinana, FOSST Director and founder of the UFH ReVEL, said while e-learning pedagogies like asynchronous (pre-recorded videos, etc) can be exploited by many disciplines, practical courses like science and engineering require real laboratories for learning and experimentation. “Also, research in these disciplines requires interactive equipment to enable sampling and manipulation,” he said.

So far, the ReVEL team has managed to transform more than 50% of experiments to online platforms. The remote laboratories can be accessed by using the UFH ReVEL web browser: https://ufh.labsland.com/  that enables experimenting and manipulation of laboratories remotely (licensing and other conditions apply).

While the team is committed to finalizing the project, Mr Kwinana said financial support is needed to complete it.  “The availability of online syllabus-based experiments for all South African high schools is a huge investment for our country, hence it is imperative for this project to be completed,” he said. The ReVEL team has also developed virtual instrumentation to assist students and learners to comprehend operations of real online experiments.

The ReVEL Technology will not only enable sharing of this advanced equipment nationally, but will also afford users an opportunity to manipulate advanced research equipment that is remotely located internationally. “We hope industries and Government will support this important venture to assist our students and learners to continue learning during this lockdown period and beyond,” said Kwinana.