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It is fair to say we have been technologically challenged or perhaps technology unlucky in Ghana. As a group we have collectively:

Broken and repaired: 1 camera

Broken: 1 camera charger and an ipod

Lost:  1 USB Key

Viruses: 1 computer and 2 USB keys

We have also been challenged to find places to charge our devices, often we end up with this situation:

But aside from our personal mishaps with technology, adjusting to the technology/ resources differences in the classroom has played a large role in my time so far in Ghana.

We are now in our final week in Takoradi and wrapping up our work at the YMCA Girls School and the Opportunity Industrialization Centre. After three weeks of workshop planning and presenting I have really begun to notice the relationship I have /had with technology.

My last year of school had a heavy emphasis on presenting and presentation skills. Research for presentations was a breeze, with internet almost always at my fingertips finding the necessary information was only seconds away.  Like most students, I favoured flashy PowerPoint Presentations with Youtube videos and interesting photos to support my presentations.  Presenting to a large group with no aids was often never considered. It seemed much simpler to use a computer to explain my points.

After becoming acquainted with our new work environment in Takoradi it was no surprise that my preferred presentation style would need to be adapted. One of the most challenging aspecst of our presentations thus far has been taking a complex concept or topic and making it presentable with limited resources . Where previously I would have used PowerPoint slides supplemented with pictures and charts, I now have just a marker and flip chart paper. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the importance of being resourceful and creative. With very basic tools to present ideas, student participation in workshops is essential! I have learned that it is most effective when the students are directly involved in the learning process. It is easier to monitor their level of understanding and can then the lesson can be adapted accordingly.

Not having a PowerPoint has been a freeing experience! It allows more flexibility and interaction with the students, and challenges me personally to put the most I can into presentations. And while the classrooms don’t have a lot of resources, over the past three weeks I have learned that all you really need is knowledge and creativity. You don’t need a video or slide show for the students to take interest. Using what we have and involving the students goes a long way.

Students working during a Millennium Development Goal Workshop

- Stephanie Bray, YCI Ambassador, Ghana 2010. Stephanie is currently in Ghana on 10 week project completing her international placement for Humber College’s International Development Program

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