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Today, textbooks are the only available tools for students in Ghana to study the human anatomy, time travel to the 20th century for history lessons, visit the Great Wall of China and explore space.
However, textbooks are limited in terms of access and in addition, they limit students’ imagination and make the learning process unengaging.
Through the advent of new technology, tools such as videos, education apps, games and others, educational contents are being digitised to improve teaching and learning methods. However, these tools are available to only students from high and middle-income families in urban areas whose parents can afford them.
To bridge the digital gap and ensure inclusiveness in our education sector, the Ho Node, in partnership with Digital Opportunities Trust, Ghana Think Foundation, and the Global Shapers Ho Hub, implemented A-Day-in-Virtual-Reality project to introduce students in rural communities to the benefits of taking lessons in Virtual Reality (VR).
The project, led by Brian Dzansi and Cherubim Amenyedor, co-founders of Ho Node and other volunteers, was executed on Friday May 12, 2017.
Using a virtual box and a smart phone, 85 junior high school students (45 girls and 40 boys) took biology lessons in VR. They studied the circulatory, skeletal and gastrointestinal system of the human body. The students were drawn from three schools in the Tanyigbe district of the Volta Region: Tanyigbe EP JHS, Tanyigbye AME Zion JHS, and Tanyigbe Dzafe MA Primary School.
The “A Day in Virtual Reality” project offered the students the opportunity to explore and feel the content of their books, a move away from just learning and imagining the human body anatomy system.
The excitement written over the faces of the students and the enthusiasm they showed during the learning process is evidence of the positive outcomes the use of VR can bring to the teaching and learning methods of “boring” and perceived difficult subjects in schools.
After the project, the students expressed renewed interest in science subjects and STEM-related careers, especially nursing. It is Ho Node’s belief that the seeds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sowed will germinate and grow into increased enrolment in STEM-related fields in senior high and tertiary school levels, especially among girls.
The project will be replicated across schools in the Volta Region in the coming months to ensure no student, irrespective of their geographical location, is left behind in the digital revolution. The project is inspired by the World Economic Forum's initiative for shaping the future of education and gender and Ho Node’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education.
ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY:
Virtual Reality is a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. A VR headset fits around your head and over your eyes, and visually separates you from whatever space you're physically occupying.
ABOUT HO NODE
Ho Node is an inclusive innovation hub in Ho, in the capital city of Volta Region, Ghana. Ho Node provides a co-working space for start-ups, key resources & an enabling environment for ideas to be tested, business development support, and digital skills acquisition (www.honode.org)
ABOUT GLOBAL SHAPERS HO COMMUNITY
The Global Shapers Ho Hub is a unique group of highly motivated young people in Ho committed to touching lives and impacting positively through projects. We are part of the Global Shapers community of the World Economic Forum.
ABOUT DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY TRUST
DOT is a youth-led movement of daring social innovators. DOT supports youth to become innovators and leaders, and to create and apply digital solutions that have positive impact in their communities. It is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.
ABOUT GHANA THINK FOUNDATION
Ghana Think is an Africa-focused think tank that seeks to mobilise and deploy talent for the primary benefit of Ghana, and consequently of Africa and the whole world.