Girls in ICT Zonal Training : Dodoma

With the northern zone training in Arusha ticked off as a success, the SCC staff packed their bags and headed to Dodoma for the central zone training. The aim in mind was to learn from the training in Arusha and do even better in Dodoma. This time the training happened from 9th March to 11th March 2017 maintaining the same objective of training 32 form three students of the female gender, to be able to use technology (mobile technology in particular) to solve their own existing problems. The students who participated in the program came from different schools and districts among four regions in the central zone with each region bringing 8 students. These regions were Tabora, Singida, Dodoma and Kigoma. The students were accompanied by their teachers hence making 32 students and 4 teachers. The training was facilitated by She Codes for Change trainers, Mr. Grayson Julius and Ms. Suzana Ng’umbi and was scheduled to start at 0800 hours and end at 1645 hours every day for three days.

In day one the students kicked the day off with learning computer basics. The introduction session covered topics like computer definition, computer organization, peripheral devices, hardware and software. They also got to learn classification of software in details, that is system software and application software. The session was followed with the demonstration of the hardware parts of a computer for the student to see and understand the function of each. Just after tea break, the students were introduced to different types of computers available today, they also had a chance to learn how to switch on/off the laptops in which they had to share between four girls. Programs like ‘paint’ and ‘ms word’ were used to demonstrate basic functions like creating folders and saving files. Exercises were given to students in order to introduce the concept of team work and at the same time the teachers were introduced to the MIT app inventor tool so as to help assisting the students later on. The concept of the internet was introduced after lunch and the students had a chance to ask questions and participate. The students were also divided in groups, the criteria was clear that each group should not have any more than one member from the same region.

Day two started with the students being taught in details the concepts of application and the internet. The trainer demonstrated how the internet has been used to simplify problems that excited before it. Each team which now had team names (Generous Girls, Precious Ladies, Conscious Girls, Smart Girls, ICT Queens, Shine Group and Blue Birds) were supposed to create Gmail emails with a common password. MIT app inventor tool was introduced to the students, with one simple application being created for demo purposes. The students were then supposed to work in their respective teams and create apps similar to those demonstrated by the trainer. After several practices other applications were also developed and the students had an assignment of customizing their apps to suite their preferences.

After practicing with the tool, it was time for the teams to be introduced to problem solving using technology and pitching ideas. Each team was given sticky notes to help them in brainstorming and refining their ideas and at the end of the day each team pitched their ideas and were given feedback to work on.

Day three started with a brief pitching session, in which all the 8 groups had a chance to pitch the problem that they are trying to solve and their suggested solution. After each pitch the trainers advised the groups on how the pitch could be made better. The common comments given to each team were, “Personalize the problem”, “Balance the time while presenting”, ”practice” and “be confident”. The following session was demonstration of other features that can be found on the MIT app inventor, simple applications that involve the use of elements like “TextToSpeech” and “Logic” were developed as assignments given to students. This gave room for students to stretch their imaginations and sharpen their app making skills. Each team also had a chance to design the User Interface for their application. The design for each screen were drafted in a big paper for visualization and taped in a wall. After each team presented the UI designs to the trainers they were then allowed to make the application using the MIT app inventor tool and during the final presentation the teams presented the problem they are solving, the solution and how their now developed application will help them accomplish their goals. Despite all teams being extremely great and having had grown so much in the three day of training, a team of four girls called “the Blue Birds” was chosen to represent the central zone in Dar es Salaam.