Electronics and programming are everywhere: communication, transportation, health, energy, security, agriculture, among others.
One of the things developed countries share in common is their strong foundation in science and technology.
Though Africa is striving to reach that height, many factors, including lack of equipment, continue to make it difficult.
Luckily, a device, a brainchild of Ghanaian Engineer, Eric Obeng is making sure Ghanaians ace these fields.
Eric has actively been teaching programming and electronics for about seven years now.
“One of the things I love doing is teaching. I taught in a Junior high school for five years before coming to university. In the university, I taught my friends how to write computer programs, and I have been teaching till now.
“Most people who are attracted to these fields come in with a strong passion. However, many are unsuccessful because of the difficulty in learning both electronics and programming at the same time,” he has observed.
The founder of Erictronics and Tech Foundation Africa has found a strong connection between electronics and programming.
“Unfortunately, today we think of electronics more in terms of data processing than just controlling current. So, there is a strong coupling between electronics and programming such that it is almost impossible to do one without the other.
“Now, these two fields individually take much time to master. Learning the two at the same time is like fighting on two fronts,” he said.
In order to make the teaching and learning experience fun, Eric created Mabel, which stands for ‘Makers’ Beloved.’
Mabel is a teaching and learning platform that helps beginners and professionals learn programming, electronics and microcontrollers.
“With Mabel, even a class-four student can learn how to write computer programs and electronics,” he said.
Mabel comes equipped with some sensors and specially selected experiments that can be used to learn the basic concepts of programming and electronics.
“One of the nice things about Mabel is that it allows you to learn how to program electronic devices without any skill in building electronic systems.
“I have been using Mabel to teach since 2019. It makes the work very easy. The best part of it is, it engages students, and they love it. With Mabel, I get student programming in a matter of a week or two. So, if you have an affinity to learn programming and electronics, then do it the Mabel way. All you need is a computer and your Mabel,” he said.
For instance, there is an experiment that helps in programming a traffic light, generate sound at different frequencies and learn how computers display colors
Mabel can also be used to program a seven-segment display, automate a light bulb to turn on during the night and off during the day among others.
Eric is currently working on how to effectively use Mabel to teach children how to write programs in python and C++ without diluting the process.
“I believe our kids are smart enough. They can learn how to write computer programs and build electronic systems even at their tender age,” he is confident.