Digital design and creative coding are redefining programming. In many ways, artists have been at the center of challenging commonly held beliefs and using entirely new mediums to express hypothetical ideas. While never the first thing to come to mind when discussing art, creative coding is revolutionizing what art is and can be. As we enter a more digital world, creative coding maybe the present art movement we need to communicate major societal challenges we are facing as technology advances. For such reason, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH), a capacity-building organization, together with two organizations from Germany, Code it!, and TinkerToys are coming up with a digital design and creative coding Hub in Accra. The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office of the Creative Resources Program.
IIPGH aims at equipping the public, professionals, and students with skills in emerging technologies needed for entrepreneurship and employment in today’s fast-moving technological world. In addition, use the expertise at its disposal to advise government and other stakeholders on best practices and public policies that would enable the use of ICT in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ICT is an essential life skill. We focus on improving the quality of training through extending the range of teaching and learning strategies, meeting individual needs while using participative methods, and motivating the learner. Thus, the hub shall offer the chance to improve the design and creative skills and work towards globally recognized functional skills in ICT, with a focus on early start (from 8 years old).
The Hub is designed as an open space for all interested people, in which artistic and creative expression can be learned, tested, and taught using digital tools. As there are a great need and interest in digital tools and new technologies in Ghana, both for art production and for education, as well as for the development of new business models and the opening of new markets, the hub as a showroom, aims to encourage artists, educators, and multipliers to use innovative digital technologies for creative processes and to demonstrate possibilities for their use in education. In a first step, the digital creative tools of the German project partners Code it! and TinkerToys will be made available at the hub and can be used by all interested people for their own artistic productions and for use in education. The range of tools in the hub will be continuously expanded by finding new partners.
Code it! is a learning platform where beginners and children can learn programming easily and playfully. Code it! teaches basic programming concepts through online courses, live web seminars, and other child-friendly formats. Code it! is designed for independent learning at home, as well as for use at school.
TinkerToys focuses on teaching children and young people how to construct in 3D. With the help of its 3D construction program, children as young as age eight (8) can learn how to construct in 3D. During the covid 19 pandemic, experienced coaches of TinkerToys have trained kids through webinars in designing great creations despite the restricted situation.
How does the 3D construction program work?
Our 3D construction program is an object-based design program that allows children and young people to operate with a wide variety of geometric bodies or prefabricated objects. With plug-in connections, (fantasy) figures and models can be created. Due to its ease of use, the program does not require much preparation to implement in the classroom. After a short introduction, the children can achieve their first results. The software can be used for theme-specific projects (Minecraft, Marvel, Lego, …) as well as for curriculum-related content. Kids can build freely or use building instructions.
What learning objectives can be achieved with the 3D construction program?
By using the 3D construction program in the classroom, a wide range of learning objectives from the curricula in various subjects can be achieved. As the program is based on analysis of educational content and competencies, we are convinced that the 3D construction program can support both: the creative and the mathematical/informatics learning process. The following learning objectives can be achieved:
- Geometry in three-dimensional space
- Geometric figures: sphere, cube, cuboid, pyramid, cone, cylinder
- Spatial imagination/mental orientation in space
- Symmetry, mirroring
- Sizes and measurement
- Representation of more complicated bodies and in illustration
- Building and constructing
- Computer-aided construction of technical objects
- Manufacturing of technical objects
- Design of subject-specific projects (examples: buoyancy models, sundial, planet model, labyrinths, and more)
What can kids learn with TinkerToys in the Coding Hub?
In the Coding Hub, participants including children and young ones can work with the software to create their own utility objects. Not only do children gain competencies in creativity, independence, and critical thinking, but also learn about 3D technology and printing. By combining learning and creating, projects become playful, while still fulfilling curriculum requirements. The best part: the children can print out and marvel at their constructions on site! We are excited that the Coding Hub shall offer participants a great addition to their daily school and professional lives.
This project is set to kick off in March 2021 and a grand opening of the hub in April 2021. The target groups for this hub are artists and creative people, pedagogues, educational and cultural policymakers, local cultural industry enterprises from Ghana, and around the world, as well as German cultural workers and developers of digital creative tools.
Interested persons and anyone who develops exciting approaches or tools in the field of digital education who would like to present their materials at the hub or contribute, can reach out to the contacts below. For further details and progress of the project follow our website and social media channels.
Richard Kafui Amanfu – (Director of Operations, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)
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