Teaching Technical Creativity Through Robotics: A Case Study in Ghana
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2007, 00:00 by G. Ayorkor Mills-Tettey, M. Bernardine Dias, Brett Browning, Nathan Amanquah
Creating technology that is relevant and accessible to developing communities is an emerging area of scholarly and practical importance. Diversity in both the creators and consumers of advanced technology is required to develop sustained and useful applications of robotics, AI, and other technical fields in developing regions. Increased diversity will result in a wider array of technological innovations that are of benefit to both developed and developing regions. However, due to restricted access to technical resources, infrastructure, and expertise, technology education in developing communities is non-trivial. Thus, international partnerships and creative course designs are required. In response to this need, we developed a partnership between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA and Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana to design and implement an undergraduate introductory Robotics course targeted towards the Ghanaian context. This hands-on course, which to our knowledge is the first of its kind in Ghana, introduced students to the fields of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and guided them to develop technical creativity by designing, building, and programming small robotic systems. This paper presents an overview of the course, its outcomes, lessons learned through its implementation, plans for its sustainability, and projected future directions.