Columbus , Ohio
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
Main Forum (Podium Presentation)
Background: Developing communities often have insufficient hands-on engineering education due to two main challenges: (1) finding affordable and locally available lab equipment and (2) integrating hands-on activities into pre-existing strict theoretical curricula.
Purpose: We developed and implemented a skills-based engineering enrichment course that is both affordable (<$5000 materials costs) and teachable in a development context.
Design/Method: To test our hands-on engineering enrichment course, we offered two, four-month-long programs in programming, electronics, and scientific communication to 20 high school students in urban Rwanda from January 2016 to July 2016. Throughout the course, we assessed students on 15 competences (skills) in these categories: technical, communication, and professional. For their final assessment, students did self-guided projects, which were evaluated on the following criteria: (1) innovation, (2) feasibility/affordability, (3)relevance the student’s community and (4) relevance to competencies learned in the course.
Results: All student teams met at least 2 of the criteria in their self-guided projects and some students further developed their ideas into business ideas. Two notable examples were: 1. A proof of principle capacitor charging device for mobile phones (innovative and relevant to community) 2. A prototype for a connected series of mechanical noise shakers for scaring pests on rice fields (affordable and relevant to community)
Conclusions: We see this course as being applicable in situations where cost, teacher training, and strict curricula are challenges, including: schools unable to afford a laboratory, refugee camps, or afterschool enrichment programs.
Yu, Q., & Dahl, J., & Habyarimana, A. (2017, June), Kepler Tech Lab: Developing an affordable skills-based engineering lab course in Rwanda Paper presented at 2017 ASEE International Forum, Columbus , Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29290
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