My Experience with the TechPower ProjectBy Ojonoka Braimah, Program Officer & Research Assistant
TechPower was conceived to bridge the gap in the digital sphere by incorporating STEM focused activities for girls in secondary school. Danne Institute partnered with Ixzdore Laboratories to deliver the project.
I joined Danne Institute of Research as an Intern while waiting for NYSC. This was not just an opportunity for me to learn and gain experience, rather it has taken on the form of a more holistic endeavour.
Watching the girls faces light up and just the sheer enthusiasm in response to the learning material is intrinsically very rewarding. The classroom has taken on a more alive form as we’ve become more familiar with each other and each of the girls’ unique personalities have come out.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned so far is to recognise the influence I have on the girls in the sense that I am the closest member of the project to them in age and experience. My assignment consists of active observation and written documentation, rollcall, photography, editing, research design and preparation, data collection and so on. However, even though the nature of my job requires minimal social interaction, it has challenged my people skills in times where interaction is required particularly when relaying messages between instructors, explaining concepts to the students and several others.
Following the three-year journey of these 28 students from JS1 to SS1 with the aid of the research techniques including interviews, questionnaires, and action research will enable us to observe how an educational experience consisting of the familiarisation of STEM activities could influence them to choose related fields of study or even career paths.
Though I have witnessed many hurdles being overcome, one concrete limitation has persisted throughout the course of this project. The capacity of the classroom is only 28 students. There are currently only 14 laptops and 2 girls share a laptop. As a result of this, most of the students who are interested in joining the class are unfortunately not able to participate.
In conclusion, the project has shown great promise and endless potential. The motivation for me to persevere despite the challenges presented (including the horrendous traffic jams to Lakowe) lies in the genuine enthusiasm of the girls to learn about STEM in a fun way.
Several students that weren’t chosen for the class have waited outside the classrooms to ask to be admitted to the class. Some students eagerly wait up to an hour before the class to ask if the class is starting yet. The girls have also made great strides with the learning outcomes and each week are getting more confident in their computer literacy abilities which on its own justifies the effort put into this endeavour.