The MakersPlace and its ecosystem partners are working to close the digital skills gap among the youth in Ghana. The MakersPlace is an internationally accredited STEAM organization based in Ghana with certified facilitators who train K12 learners and their teachers in Robotics, Coding, CAD/3D printing, Drone Technology, and Mechatronics. Its mission is to increase accessibility to an effective, hands-on, STEAM education by making computing accessible to learners in all communities.
It has organised a physical computing training program using the Micro:bit board and other electronic components to train twenty-five (25) ICT teachers in Ghana as a leading provider of STEAM education solutions. The training course was funded by Nordic Semiconductor and co-sponsored by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation.
With the help of this skills-based continuous professional development (CPD), teachers will be better equipped to implement 21st Century learning strategies in the classroom. Physical computing refers to the application of physical, embedded microcontroller-based interactive systems like the Micro:bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and related electronic components that are configured to sense their environment and operate motors, displays, and lighting. The primary training equipment was the Micro:bit.
The Micro:bit is a portable computer that lets learners use interactive projects to learn about physical computing. It is a simple-to-use tool that aids in the teaching of programming, electronics, and physical computing principles to students.
The learners were divided into groups of 4 each and assigned the goal of creating solutions that address any one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations after teaching them how to code using the MakeCode program and how to construct circuits using the Micro:bit board.
Group 1 developed an Automatic Irrigation System that supports farmers, gardeners, and horticulturists. The system is designed to conserve water by providing the right amount of water to plants at the right time.
Group 2 developed a smart streetlight system that assists motorists, pedestrians, and drivers. Their system is designed to detect the presence of vehicles, pedestrians, and other objects on the road and adjust the brightness of the streetlights accordingly. This system improves road safety and reduces energy consumption.
Group 3 developed an automatic water dispenser that provides clean water to people in rural areas. The system uses a micro:bit and sensors to detect the presence of a water bottle and dispenses water automatically.
Group 4 BETA BREEZE – Smart Fan Project for the home which will turn on only when the temperature reaches a predefined value. This will help to conserve energy hence reducing bills for the householder and reducing our climate change footprint. This project is linked to SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy and SDG 13 Climate Action.
The training program had an impact because it gave teachers the knowledge and abilities they needed to impart physical computing to their students. The facilitators received positive comments from educators and were impressed by the projects’ demonstrations of knowledge and skills.
We are eager to begin the second cohort so that we can train more teachers throughout the nation and improve their capacity to deliver the current curriculum successfully.
Certificates of completion were issued to all the teachers after the training.
The CEO of the Micro:bit Educational Foundation, Mr. Gareth Stockdale, and the entire staff deserve our sincere gratitude, and MakersPlace would like to take this opportunity to say so.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Nordic Semiconductor for supporting this fantastic project.