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Secondary school students learn how to code in Lagos

DSCN0267The working to advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) foundation hosted its first ever workshop of the year, which gave girls the opportunity to experience the field of coding. This 3-day Code Workshop in partnership with Association of professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) and Ford foundation was held at WAAW newly equipped office & training Institute in Isolo, Lagos from April 12-14, 2016. It was facilitated by two WAAW college fellows from Delta state University and University of Benin.

27 students and 7 STEM teachers from Isolo Grammar school, Laureate College, Ajao High school, Mafoluku Grammar school, Isolo Comprehensive high school, Unity senior high school and Ijeshatedo senior high school in Lagos state, Nigeria were immersed into the world of intensive hands-on computer programming for 3 days.

After registration, all the students and teachers gathered in the training room. The workshop started off with icebreakers. Afterwards, WAAW Program director, Tolulope Owajoba gave a brief welcome, and then the girls jumped right into programming basics. They were introduced to computer programming using Arduino-Raspberry Pi and SCRATCH programming. To show just how easy & accessible coding really is, on the first day of the workshop, the girls began programming & writing their own code straight away, using Javascript to learn basic CS concepts in a fun and visual manner.

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On the second day, girls continued to learn fundamental programming concepts as they animate characters, and control robots while still having fun. They were taught Blockly & Turtle graphics. During lunch, the girls were given the opportunity to get to know each other. Girls also had an interactive session about Safety and precautions led by Engineer (Mrs) P.N. Iroaganachi, from the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN).

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Students explored Mobile App development and improved their previous knowledge on Arduino, Blocky, Turtle graphics & SCRATCH programming on the third day. They were able to create programs on SCRATCH platform to tell animated stories and also, they wrote the first letter of their Names using Turtle graphics and converted the program to Javascript code.

The training sessions introduced girls to different areas of computer science, as well as showed the importance of teamwork and collaborative problem solving. Agbo Glory,SS1-Ijeshatedo Senior Grammar school student, and Osadiah Mary, SS2-Isolo Senior High school student, thought Computer science was very difficult. Once they both gave coding a try, they both believed it was fun and easy.

“Ford foundation is proud to sponsor this workshop”, Florence Ogunbor, WAAW Operations Director said, “The girls were giddy with excitement – after the workshop, several of them came up to me and said I now know what I want to do with my life. I think this 3-day workshop made a life changing impact on many of the girls and we are really excited for doing this. They now have their first Computer science knowledge and the drive to study STEM-related disciplines in college.”

Finally, the last day was wrapped up with an inspiring and informative Q&A session with Engr. Hauwa Saddique, the 14th National President of APWEN – Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria. The students each received a Certification of Completion at the end of the workshop and were given a survey.

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Thanks to everyone involved to make this program a success!