The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) in partnership with Code it! from Germany is going to set up the “Digital Design and Creative Coding Hub”.
IIPGH together with its partners, Code it! and Tinker Toys from Leipzig, Germany, are setting up a Digital Design and Creative Coding Hub in Ghana’s capital Accra. The Hub is meant to be a showroom for tools and concepts for digital learning and creative work. The tools and concepts will be accessible to everybody who is interested and will be taught through training and other events. The project is supported by the “Creative Resources” program of the German Federal Foreign Office. The idea for the hub emerged from a meeting and conversations between Code it! and IIPGH. Both initiatives are united by the goal of inspiring children and young people for computer science and programming. To achieve this goal, the Hub will be used to conduct workshops on programming on a regular basis and train educators and multipliers.
Why learn about coding and design?
Coding is today much more than just a vocation. In our digitized world coding becomes an integral part of literacy. To be able to understand and to change this world of algorithms one needs at least basic coding skills. Learning to program is no longer just for computer specialists and software developers. People from many different backgrounds now want to understand the basics of programming, because it is an ever more valuable skill, and it is also fun.
How to learn coding?
When learning a new language, we learn how to communicate with others using a new language but also how to express ourselves differently. Learning to code is traditionally focused on writing software for businesses – writing programs to speed up processes or creating business applications. Those approaches do not work well with kids and younger adults. Today there are new approaches to teach programming with an emphasis on how to express oneself and to create art with a computer. This is called Creative Coding.
What is Creative Coding?
Creative coding is the artisan side of programming. In creative coding computer programming is used to create something expressive instead of something functional. With a strong focus on creating interactive experiences, in Creative Coding, the program moves past the sequential problem solving found in typical beginner programming and coding courses. In this field of coding artists, designers and creatives apply programming concepts to work in a variety of media, such as 2D/3D graphics, animation, image, sound, and video processing.
The idea of the Hub is to present and teach those new approaches to learn to code and for digital design. So, whether you are a graphic designer, UX/UI (user experience/ user interface) designer, web designer, etc., this program will equip you with fundamental coding skills as a method of expression.
For this reason, an artist, designer, architect, or musician who is interested in how to expand creative skills, or even a computer programmer looking to work in creative applications, will find this program extremely useful.
Why digital design?
In our world of digital applications, design is now more relevant than ever before. Design is central to make a website or app stand out and to make it accessible and enjoyable. Without a good design, the best software is not likely to be used. Any kind of design that appears in a digital format (on an app or website), rather than in print (on a physical page), is considered digital design. It is a type of visual communication that presents information or a product or service through a digital interface. Just as graphic design, this encompasses more than simply viewing graphic design on a screen.
To make coding and digital design available to everybody we need new approaches to teaching and learning. Although the situation regarding digital education is similar in both Germany and Ghana, Ghana has a higher need to develop in that area. In Ghana, the digitization of education is still in its early stages. There is a lack of technical infrastructure – Internet access and hardware, effective pedagogical concepts, and qualified teachers. With the hub, we will create a showroom in which all who are interested can get to know and try out digital tools (hardware and software) and learn how to use them in schools and other institutions.
In addition to setting up the hub with basic technical equipment – notebooks, smartboards, and 3D printers – the project will include a teacher training course lasting several weeks. In this workshop, the learning platform of Code it! and the “Digital Construction Kit” of TinkerToys will be presented, among others. The goal is to enable and motivate the participants to use the tools in their classroom or in extracurricular workshops. The experiences gained in these workshops will be used to further develop these solutions. In the future, IIPGH trainers will regularly conduct these and other training courses at the hub.
The hub shall be established as an integral part of the local educational and creative landscape. To accomplish this, in addition to operating the showroom as a focal point for all interested parties, regular training courses and other events such as lectures and discussions on various topics will be organized. In those events, approaches, and tools from the fields of education, coding, and design will be presented. At the same time, the hub is intended to initiate and promote the national and international exchange of knowledge and experience between educators and creative professionals. New partners and sponsors from Ghana, Europe, and other parts of the world are to be won for the long-term operation of the hub, who will support the hub financially or materially, e.g., by providing the hub with their own tools and materials.
The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office in the Creative Resources Program. Interested persons and anyone who develops exciting approaches or tools in the field of digital education and who would like to present their materials at the hub, 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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