Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation just concluded its first STEM teacher’s training in Abuja, Nigeria from August 6th to 9th, 2016. Participants were Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teachers from Government/Public secondary schools across Nigeria. The training workshop was designed to introduce local STEM teachers to STEM contents, as well as research and best practices in STEM teaching and learning, with an emphasis on inquiry-based and problem-centered approaches.
Our aim is to emphasize hands-on learning away from the blackboard, and Africa-focused integrated curriculum that help teachers break down the rote memorization methodologies which are prevalent in the African educational system and which stifles creativity. “We train teachers to develop cutting edge STEM curriculum for their classrooms using affordable locally available resources, train in digital literacy and employ technology and free online resources to enhance learning and engagement in their classrooms.” said, Dr. Unoma Okorafor, WAAW founder and president.
The teachers training workshop, sponsored by SASOL, provided groundbreaking hands-on STEM and Computer science lessons, focused on using simple, locally available resources. Majority of the teachers experienced their first in-depth training on Wind Energy Basics, and Computer programming using the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Blockly (maze & turle) tools and editors, they built websites and mobile applications. Relevant local contents were emphasized to help the teachers make connections between STEM concepts and their everyday lives, focusing on how technologies can solve current problems in Africa.
The training workshop also created opportunity for sharing of best teaching practices, engagement and resources as means to promote STEM and CS Education for African students. Through daily activities, team-building games, videos etc, teachers learnt new ways of increasing students’ engagement in STEM and Computer science.
At the end of the training program, we provided resources for continued learning for the STEM teachers and facilitate communities and networks for peer support, mentoring and continued engagement. Certificates were presented to the teachers.
The teachers were motivated to go back to their schools to implement the fun and exciting STEM & CS lessons that will engage their students and transform their classrooms into a collaboration space where content comes to life.
WAAW broader vision is that teachers will form STEM clubs in schools, and students can become skilled enough to compete in international STEM competitions.