Homenewsabout usContact UsWebsite
Welcome to the
Pert Industrials Press Office
Your single source for Engineering Training. Since 1967 Pert Industrials has been developing and manufacturing Engineering Training Equipment for Technical Schools, Colleges and Universities worldwide.
Follow us:
Progress in technology has slowed down a lot
The pace of technological change has slowed drastically, sometimes catastrophically, over the last few decades. I am guessing you don’t believe this. I have had this discussion with many different people, and they reference their smartphones, navigation, parking assist etc. usually with a starry-eyed wonder, and insist how amazing and bewildering it all is. 12 Apr 2024 Read more

ChatGPT failed a job interview, but I can still put it to work
One of the most requested activities in FET Science (Physical, Technical and Engineering) is the internal resistance of a battery. 5 Mar 2024 Read more

How do you make something interesting?
282,589,933 - 1. That looks like a big number, but nothing too scary right? Maybe something a fancy calculator could handle, or, at least your computer should get to grips with it. After all, huge numbers are everywhere these days. Elon Musk's worth can easily fluctuate by $82m in a single tweet. 7 Jul 2023 Read more

Business and government - who does it better?
Over in the US and up in Britain, political debates are raging between the Republicans and Democrats and the Conservatives and Labour. Mostly, this consists of vaguely relevant, highly personal slurs. 14 Nov 2022 Read more

The Pert Panama Project and Papers
What do you think of when you think of a big engineering project in Panama? A 50 mile canal, that splits a continent and joins the two largest oceans in the world? What about the Panama Papers? A gargantuan repository of secret documents, implicating leaders and businessman from almost every nation of Earth. Well, sure. 27 Jun 2022 Read more

Teaching humans to outperform horses in the fourth industrial revolution
There is an old joke among economists: if you think it is so easy to transition jobs in a new economy, ask yourself how many horses found employment in the motor industry? It is a bit of a strange joke, and maybe not very funny - economists are not known for their humour! But still, the point holds: there will always be some very tough adjustments as an economy transitions with disruptive technology. President Ramaphosa referenced these challenges, a few weeks ago in parliament, when questioned about South Africa's employment problems, and our movement towards green technology in the fourth industrial revolution. 7 Dec 2021 Read more

How do you know if something is expensive?
Some of our Pert brand of electrical education trainers are expensive. Well, more expensive than the competition. Pert reps often use the old VW versus Mercedes analogy, which is somewhat helpful, but can be rather misleading. Yes, two similarly specified items may differ in performance and durability. But think about it: driving in traffic to work in a Merc or else a VW, your activity, your function, is pretty much the same. (I daresay your experience is pretty much the same, as well, regardless of the marketing!) 29 Jun 2021 Read more

The problem with teaching coding in South African schools
The great thing about robotics and coding is that it is all malleable. The awful thing about teaching robotics and coding is that it is all malleable. To clarify: 25 May 2021 Read more

Science lab activities during a pandemic
How do you do a lab prac if you can't touch the equipment and you have to stay two meters away from your lab partner? In 2020 the answer was: you don't. Education department policy was demonstrations, only by the teachers. 16 Feb 2021 Read more

Just a few weeks left to help these kids
Thanks to marketing departments, motivational speakers, life coaches and team builders, many of us have picked up an annoying habit of reflex positivity. Problems are 'challenges.' Obstacles are 'gifts'. We reflect on the good things which never would have happened without this disaster, etc, etc, etc. Of course, we have to. What else are we going to do, in the end, but get on with it? Still, a few moments of sympathy and commiseration are warranted. Let me just say, then, that 2020 has been rough. In fact, there is a great Afrikaans term, synonymous with human waste, three letters, sharp and palindromic. Got it? That's been 2020 for most people. 27 Oct 2020 Read more

Unusual lockdown lesson
Here's an unusual lockdown lesson: in this time of distance learning, colleges should start investing in large scale, physical, hands-on training equipment. 26 May 2020 Read more

Free-falling at the speed of science
I got the opportunity to present my article "The Educational Power of Being Wrong" at the South African Institute of Physics Conference (SAIP) in Limpopo, last month. But if you have read my article - - you'll know that I do rather ramble through a number of disparate topics (scripture, smarties, mirrors, poetry, moonlight, climate change, even Nemo's lucky fin) so I really battled to get the thing to cohere into a 20-minute PowerPoint with a punchline. The people at TED will tell you that for their slots (18 minutes) you really need to share just the one idea so, finally, I picked what I thought was the main concept, and illustrated it with a live demo of tumbling technology. 20 Aug 2019 Read more

Peter Horszowski
Did you know that all colours of Smarties taste the same? Standard food colourant is flavourless so different colours are indistinguishable. I discovered this quite recently but have been hesitant to share it, because I suspect it's common knowledge. This happens to me periodically. I rush to share something tremendously interesting and most people wonder why I am bothering them with something so obvious. 2 Apr 2019 Read more

One of two possibilities
I am standing in the splendid hall of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. The guide points at the Wright Brothers' Kittyhawk plane hanging from the ceiling. "That is from 1903." He gestures towards the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Module against the opposite wall. "1969," he says. "In less than the lifespan of an average man, we went from a few metres of flight to putting a man on the moon." 20 Nov 2018 Read more

How we fail our learners and what we can do about it
Educational psychologists have identified four instinctive types of learning: 16 Jul 2018 Read more

My big idea for South African science education
When I matriculated nearly 30 years ago there were few matric options in South Africa. Now there are many more. I thought I'd give a brief overview and use it to present an idea for a new science programme. 17 Apr 2018 Read more

Bigger better faster more no more
I firmly believe that you get the most out of a lab prac if you do it yourself. It is more satisfying and meaningful. You almost feel like a pioneer. Science is never perfect so your results are usually distinctive. Mix in some natural egoism, and your experiment becomes extra special and memorable. 12 Dec 2017 Read more

What is practice, really?
Roger Federer said, after his surprise practice session on the public tennis courts in Central Park: if you are not working on something when you practice, you are wasting your time. That struck me. Roger Federer has won 19 Grand Slams. (To put that into perspective: John McEnroe won 7.) He is probably the greatest Tennis player ever. Maybe even the best sportsman in history. Yet when he practices he works on specific things and genuinely tries to improve his game. I suppose that is what practice really is: arduous, focused and deliberate, with a particular goal. Not always fun. If you have ever coached kids, you will know the easiest thing is the so called practice game. The kids enjoy it and it is good for teamwork, fitness and strategy. But it doesn't do very much for their skill level, so it is not really practice, is it? 6 Nov 2017 Read more

When Google already knows the answer you have to change the question
There is a famous image of a disgruntled Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. In the naughty corner he complains: “For some reason they would rather teach us stuff that any fool can look up in a book.” That is from the 90's. B.G. (Before Google.) This problem is now more pressing, literally. In Calvin's day, you'd still have to find the right book and look through it. Today you can press a button in the palm of your hand. Or simply say: “Ok Google”. 12 May 2017 Read more

PERT... for a better way to teach
2017 marks PERT's 50th year in technical education and training. When I was a young teenager, I actually asked my dad: “What is the difference between education and training?” He answered without hesitation: “Put it this way, would you rather have sex education or sex training?” (Of course this explains why we at PERT value practical work so highly!) But jokes aside, I hope that you can see how good this reply is. It immediately and memorably gets a concept across. At the same time, you realise you pretty much understood the thing anyway, and that you just needed a little guidance and prompting. That is good teaching. In fact, it is PERT's byline: For a better way to teach. 23 Feb 2017 Read more

This Christmas we may have to dig a little deeper for something to inspire us
I believe it is a biblical principle that your weakness can become your strength. That is how it is with me and cooking. Because I am not very capable in the kitchen, I am extra careful with any recipe and fastidiously follow all the instructions and measurements. 13 Dec 2016 Read more

Peter Horszowski
"Anyway," John Wilber, founder of Bytronic International told me, "the course material is the most important part." Really?! I was standing in front of a half a million rands' worth of complex process simulation equipment and he expected me to believe that a 50-page pack of experiment worksheets was the most important part? 6 Dec 2016 Read more

Peter Horszowski
PERT has exhibited at several trade shows over the last few years. We often hear the following: "I can't believe that you make this all here in South Africa. It looks imported!" But why should imported stuff be better quality than local material? I know we have our messy diversity down here. But, whatever the results from the Brexit and US Presidential election might suggest, I believe that diversity presents a real advantage. 29 Nov 2016 Read more

Practical work in a virtual world
Is online learning a real solution to the #Feesmustfall crisis? Certainly, it is a step forward from the old "Open University": public TV with mail assignments. E-learning is cheaper, faster and more direct. Plus, it has superior assessment, reporting and tracking features. But what about the practical skills? How do you teach, test and assess those online? New cloud based simulation packages for engineering may help. 9 Nov 2016 Read more

Five reasons why South Africa should not follow the world leaders in renewable energy
Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries are world leaders in the production and implementation of renewable energy systems, so we should try follow their lead, right? Not so fast. Here are five reasons why South African training institutions should be cautious when following the European model. 23 Jun 2016 Read more

South African students can unleash their imaginations with new PASCO scientific wireless sensors from Pert
New wireless sensors, which are the first in science education to be compatible across all operating system platforms, simplify lab setup and expand opportunities for hands-on learning 31 Mar 2016 Read more

A new South African product for a South African educational challenge
"Solving practical problems and learning through your mistakes and repetitive actions is the way to learn electronics and digital concepts," says Mr Jan Randewijk, ex-departmental subject adviser and author of a number of textbooks in Electrical Technology. The trouble is, as Mr Randewijk also observes: "Due to the very limited time in the school sector, learning by doing is not always possible." So what to do? Learning by doing is critical to technical development but schools have limited resources, the scarcest of which may well be time. 23 Feb 2016 Read more