Today, if you know how to read and write and don’t master a computer, you are illiterate. We also know that the development of a country is based on ICT (Information Communication Technology). The mastery of technology is very important,” the regional director of UNESCO said in April 2018.
Edify began in 2010 with a primary emphasis on loans, but, in 2011, recognized the need for education technology as a key component of our work. We began by surveying schools in Ghana and other West African countries, and the few private schools that had installed computers were outdated or broken.
Our Edify Ghana staff took on the task of piloting education technology that would be self-sustaining, run on little electricity, and be easily adapted in the Ghanaian context. From outdated computers to modern technology solutions, our programs have grown exponentially over the past six years. Some of our piloted solutions include the Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment, e-readers, Google Chromebooks, and iPads.
Edinam, a 10-year-old girl at Yeriel Bracha School in Accra, Ghana, often struggled with understanding lessons in school, especially science. However, in the fall of 2017, her school was one of three chosen by Edify to pilot a new coding program. The school received iPads equipped with Swift Playgrounds, software that teaches coding. All grades began integrating technology into their classes. Additionally, grades six and seven began to learn how to code, including Edinam’s class.
The iPad project has significantly impacted the students at Yeriel Bracha. They are now able to think critically, creatively and independently, and they are excited to engage in more research. Long-term, it has given students a vision for future career opportunities and the skill sets to be able to obtain them. Edinam now has more confidence in her ability to think creatively after participating in the coding program.
For Edinam, learning how to code has changed her approach to learning. “Attending coding classes has made me realize that every question, whether in English, French, or even math, needs different levels of thinking and analysis…
I’M NOT INTERESTED IN FINISHING MY WORK EARLY, BUT RATHER ANALYZING AND UNDERSTANDING THE QUESTIONS I AM SOLVING. NOW I WANT TO BE A DOCTOR WHO WILL USE PROGRAMMING TO SOLVE EVERYDAY MEDICAL PROBLEMS.”
Education technology is impacting the lives of students born into poverty. They are able to graduate with skills needed to obtain quality jobs that transform their lives, families, and communities. The proprietress at Yeriel Bracha is confident that the iPad program “is the best opportunity we can give to our students.” Education technology, which continues to expand in scale and impact, is another way Edify is going deeper with partner schools to improve their students’ lives for years to come.
Coding the Drone
Edinam’s team was the first team to code their drone using Swift Playgrounds. This video records the first flight at their school.