Robotech Workshop 2018: Nurturing programming, electronics and problem solving in technical schools

Posted on Posted in Events, Robotics

Tech Era organized its first Robotech Workshop early this year from 11th January to 13th January 2018 as its first project for the year.  This year, with the aim of extending our robotics and electronics module to technical tertiary institutions, we organized a 3-day workshop to expose students [from schools with Tech-Era’s robotics and electronics clubs] to the unbound world of technology and electronics.

The team put structures in place to ensure that the selected students that were trained were able to transfer the knowledge they acquired to their colleagues in their schools during club meetings. Robotech tutors also visit these schools twice a month to facilitate training sessions.

On the first day of the session, Tech Era hosted 20 students from Accra Technical Training Center and 30 students from Presbyterian Senior High School, Aburi – both of which are institutions with Tech-Era’s robotics and electronics club. On the first day, the students explored basic robot functionalities like movement and sensing in teams.

On the second day, the students were introduced to the Arduino software, LED and breadboards. The students were working with such programs and devices for the first time but they soared through lessons and marked the successes of their efforts with many programs – including a design that simulated a traffic light.

On the third day, the final robotics challenge was held. This challenge tasked the students to build a program which allowed the robot to follow a line to its destination – a task more technically known as “line-following”. In teams of no more than 5, the students embraced the challenge with real enthusiasm and worked well at the task. At the end of the day (and the Robotech Workshop), individual students and teams were awarded. Both schools were given 2 complete robotics kits each for the robotics clubs in their schools. Some of the teachers and students shared their thoughts and what they learned from the workshop.

Engelbert Nana Yaw Mawudu teaches Elective Information Communication Technology at the Presbyterian Senior Technical High School in Aburi and joined his students for the workshop; He stated that the program had been an “eye opener” for him. He added that it made him appreciate teamwork more because he realized that grouping the students gave them a new learning experience. He noted that this, coupled with the change of environment, created an excitement and enthusiasm that made the environment conducive to the work they were doing. “I hope this Robotech Workshop lasts a lifetime because, in just 3 days, I have been totally amazed at what the students have done” Engelbert added.

Prince Tetteh, a student of Accra Technical Training Center, studying Auto Mechanics also shared what he learned from the 3-day workshop. According to him, the workshop taught him how to pass instructions to the robots – especially in relation to movement. He intends on applying the knowledge he has acquired in his Auto Mechanics course.

The Robotech module which started in 2017, trains senior high school students – especially in technical schools in Ghana, to develop problem-solving, critical thinking and programming skills to complement the work they do in school. This would drive innovations and equip them to solve real and extensive problems in Africa by developing their interest in STEM subjects.

At Tech-Era, we seek to build an awareness about programming in senior high schools so that the students are filled with the desire to acquire the needed skills in the field – one that would be to the benefit of their future and that of the country. Kojo Anyinyam Boateng, the project lead assures that: ”  tutors will go to these schools periodically to facilitate sessions and also use technological tools to reach the students and expose them to more fields”.

“Tech Era believes the world has changed and will continue to change because of the rapid growth in technology”,  said Derick Omari the founder of Tech Era. “Unfortunately, the team has observed that what technical school students learn in their schools are rarely updated to match the changes in technology.”

This project will bridge that gap by exposing the students to technological tools and skills that will help them partake fully in the ever-advancing field of technology and in their future careers. Exposing them to Robotics and Electronics will give the students the drive and ability to apply helpful technologies to their projects and this could heighten the impact of what they intend to do for the development of the continent.”

“The Robotech Workshop was our first and the team hopes to organize 2 more and establish 4 more clubs before the end of the calendar year”, Derick stated.

The Tech Era team appreciates the Office of Students of Ashesi University College and all individuals who donated for sponsoring the workshop.  Tech Era is also grateful to all the departments and stakeholders who contributed in any way to make this workshop a success.

 

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