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 China wall 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 digitized 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) world. 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 the biology lessons in VR. They studied the circulatory, skeletal and gastrointestinal system of the human body. The students were drawn from three (3) schools in the Tanyigbe district in the Ho Municipal Assembly of the Volta Region: Tanyigbe EP JHS, Tanyigbye AME Zion JHS and Tanyigbe Dzafe MA Primary School.
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 an 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 believe 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 the girls.
The day-in-VR project will be replicated across other 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.