Marwa is an engineer, entrepreneur, and a mother to a nine-year-old girl, but that’s not all. She’s also a consultant of tinkering, complexity and planning, a STEM capacity building manager, and a co-founder of Ideasgym.
Ideasgym is a leader in the educational technology space that teaches students STEM principles using online/mobile learning, as well as face-to-face sessions. She co-founded the business in 2011 with her husband, Yasser Tawfik, who had been introducing robotics education, open innovation, and entrepreneurship to Egypt since 2002. Since both of them are engineers, robotics education eventually became an important part of their growing business!
Ideasgym has already seen great amounts of success. Their course “LEGO Robots Online Training Using VRT” won second place in the DigiEduHackEspoo challenge led by United Nations Innovation Labs in Espoo, Finland.
Marwa has a B.Sc. in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, as well as a M.Sc. in High Power Lasers and Meta-material devices from Alexandria University. She has also earned a M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Tartu.
Marwa is an accomplished woman with many accolades to her name. She won first place in the MSMEs category for her Ideasgym work in the Women in ICT Awards, hosted by UNDP and MCIT, was a finalist in Miss Digital Africa 2019, and was selected as a Tony Elemelu Foundation Entrepreneur in 2018. Further, she has beeen a World Robot Olympiad National Organizer, and is a former speaker at the 2012 Global Education Forum in Dubai.
Among all of these accomplishments, Marwa is also a co-founder of the IEEE Egypt Women in Engineering affinity group, a former IEEE RAS Juniors chair, and was a DigiGirlz robotics workshops leader for Microsoft Egypt from 2014 to 2019.
Q: How did you first hear about the Virtual Robotics Toolkit?
I heard about the Virtual Robotics Toolkit through the World Robot Olympiad (WRO).
Q: What inspired you to get involved as a partner?
It was always a challenge to purchase robotics kits and make them available to schools. Part of my work involved training disadvantaged groups, and I saw that the high cost of the kits was a challenge.
The exporting and purchasing of robotics kits have been a great burden in Egypt since 2016, and from an engineering perspective, the use of a simulator is one of the essential engineering skills that we are thrilled to teach our students.
Last but not least, the Virtual Robot Toolkit fit perfectly within our pedagogy for the Ideasgym online platform we started.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge as an educator?
Linking the virtual environment to the real environment when using online technologies is a challenge that our team is working on every day. As our online teaching strategy is different than other MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), we are constantly researching to analyze and test our methods. Despite this, our greatest reward is the positive feedback we receive from our students, teachers and educators across the globe.
Q: What advice do you have for anyone considering the Virtual Robotics Toolkit as an educational tool?
VRT is a very good tool – it allows anyone to build a well structured curriculum around it. Prior experience with LEGO robots can be a great asset as it helps you use VRT efficiently.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
We are currently working to test and spread our pedagogy in different countries.