Technology will never replace great teachers, but
technology in the hands of great teachers is transformational.
The use of computers has been part of the secondary school curriculum in Zambia for some years now. Like in may countries the emphasis lies on 'computer literacy' and administrative applications like text editing and spreadsheets. Important, but is it enough?
More and more schools answer this question with: no, this is not enough. Also programming computers is important for the future generations. Not because the writing of code itself is so important but because programming develops the ability to analyze complex problems and split them up in components in which standard structures are recognized. Apart from that it is important that students are aware of the role computers play in physical reality. An example: a computer controls the traffic lights at a complex crossing; it needs certain input signals for that task and the software structure is based on a loop structure in which decisions are made based on the inputs. Or, more advanced but becoming more and more common, the control of a robot by a computer.
Within the project 'Computers in Technical Applications' - CiTA - students are given the opportunity to get familiar with technical applications based on computers. The original goal was the introduction of 'playing with technology' in secondary schools. By means of workshops and activities in a club context, equipment and knowledge should come within the reach of students with a technical interest. It succeeded in itself, but continuity was a problem. There are always enthusiastic teachers to find but the course is great. And then suddenly the students are unaccompanied. For these and other reasons, workshops will be held from 2019 at two universities with the aim of structurally including the subject in the curriculum. By means of holiday courses and support from teachers, the knowledge can be built up and maintained in secondary schools. In particular, the variant in which university students propagate knowledge on expenses is considered promising.
Three lab programs have been developed within the CiTA project:
- part 1 – sensors and actuators
- part 2 – Image Processing and Artificial Intelligence
- part 3 – Internet of Things
The labs are based on the Raspberry Pi and focus on the application of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things in the engineering environment. The first lab (Sensors and Actuators) gives an introduction on as well the Raspberry Pi and its programming environment as some of the important interfaces with the physical environment.
The labs are in the process of being implemented in the curricula of three universities.
Handouts are available under ´Documents´. All material that has been developed within the CiTA project can be used free of charge for educational and non-commercial purposes, provided that the source is acknowledged. A reference to the nature of our project and correspondence about the application and evaluation of the results are appreciated.
Donate: Do you still have an old computer?
We are constantly looking for used computers and accessories for our CiTA project. Do you have something usefull that is not used anymore? Or maybe the computers at work are being replaced? We would like to hear about it and welcome a message through our contact page!