Basil Okpara Jr. is a young Nigerian tech prodigy who gained recognition for his exceptional skills in the field of software development and artificial intelligence (AI). At a remarkably young age, he demonstrated an innate talent for coding and problem-solving, which led him to create innovative applications and programmes. One of Basil’s notable achievements was developing an AI-driven video game which gained widespread attention for its advanced capabilities. He created the game at the age of just 9 years old and showcased his potential as a future leader in the tech industry.
Arfa began using computers at the age of 5 years and quickly showed exceptional talent in programming. By the time she was 9 years old, she had mastered several programming languages, including C++, and became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world. Arfa’s achievements gained international recognition, and she became an inspiration to many young minds. Microsoft’s co-founder, Bill Gates, personally invited her to the company’s headquarters and recognised her exceptional abilities. Throughout her brief but remarkable life, Arfa continued to excel in the field of technology, delivering lectures and advocating for digital literacy.
Samaira Mehta, a young girl from California, USA, at the tender age of 6 years, began learning coding and programming through online resources and coding camps. Her parents recognised her interest and supported her by providing exposure to digital skills at an early age. With time and practice, Samaira developed her coding skills and created a board game that teaches the principles of coding to other kids in a fun and engaging way. Samaira’s early exposure to digital skills did not only nurture her passion for technology, but also empowered her to become a young entrepreneur. She has since been recognised for her achievements and has inspired many other children to explore the world of coding and technology at a young age.
The stories of these remarkable individuals highlight the importance of early age exposure to digital skills and the incredible potential that lies within young minds. They exemplify how this exposure can empower young individuals, regardless of their background, to achieve extraordinary feats in the world of technology. It sparks creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, while also preparing children for the digital world they will be a part of in the future.
Prampram experiences the Coding Caravan
IIPGH continued its digital skills workshop at Ningo-Prampram District. On 19th July, 2023, the team from the Institute and the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications arrived at the Dawhenya Methodist Basic School, which served as the venue for the workshop. A total of 200 students and 67 teachers from Nyigbenya, Ayetepa, Ningo, Dawhenya, Afienya and Prampram were involved in this workshop. The team was particularly excited with the high turnout this time as it was revealed that contrary to the norm, more than 1 teacher was selected from each school that represented. The guest team was warmly received by the District Director of Education – Mad. Sarah Adibrosu Apreko, the District ICT Coordinator – Samuel Amey, and the PRO – Noah Agbeko.
At the opening ceremony, the purpose of the workshop was unveiled. Dr. Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey had an interactive session of questions and answers, basically aimed at encouraging the students to develop a problem-solving mindset and using various ICT tools in achieving that. The students showed so much understanding in the way they answered questions they were asked by responding with explanations.
Like other workshops organised in other communities, the participants were introduced to Scratch Programming and 3D Design. However, different projects were tackled. One project involved creating an animation that depicted patriotism for one’s country. The students rose to sing the national anthem while they each recorded within the Scratch application. The result was an animation where a lot of voices were heard singing. That was a true spectacle to behold as this was a typical situation of learning while having fun, which is one of the reasons Scratch Programming is used in introducing children to coding. Some of the programming concepts explored here included ‘sprites, conditions and event handling.’
As the caravan team recently started including teachers in its workshops, the teachers in the Ningo-Prampram District were no exception. Our professional trainers engaged them in a similar session of learning Scratch and 3D Design. Their training was delivered in a way that would help them gain a basic understanding of most of the Scratch features to enable them to continue personal learning after the workshop. In that way, the team was assured that students will have the right help needed from these teachers in their various schools. The fascination with the concept of printing designs in 3D was not lost here. This workshop was educationally revealing as it was meant to be. The teachers displayed so much interest through their many questions and interactions. They promised to ensure the Scratch application was installed on the school computers and included in ICT lessons as well. It was another promising solution to the problem of most basic schools not implementing Scratch in the lessons even though it was included in the syllabus.
Early childhood ICT education
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana plays a crucial role in promoting early childhood ICT education across the country. As a leading professional organisation in the field of ICT, the institute recognises the importance of introducing technology to young learners at an early age. Through various initiatives and programmes, it aims to create awareness among educators and parents about the benefits of integrating ICT into early childhood education.
The institute actively advocates for the use of age-appropriate and interactive ICT tools and resources tailored to the needs of young children. By providing training and support to educators, they empower them to effectively use technology in the classroom to enhance learning experiences. Additionally, the institute is open to collaborating with policy-makers and stakeholders to shape policies that encourage the integration of ICT into early childhood education, fostering a generation of digitally literate and well-prepared young minds for the future of work. Through its dedicated efforts, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana significantly contributes to the advancement of early childhood ICT education in the nation.
The institute earnestly appeals to private and public organisations, relevant stakeholders, and local and international donors to support its transformative agenda. This valuable assistance will play a pivotal role in empowering the institute to achieve its mission successfully.
The author is the Digital Skills Training Supervisor, IIPGH
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