JKUAT Society of Engineering Students (SES) strives to provide a holistic learning experience not only to its member but also to the other students in the local community.
We recognize that young students interact with technology in varied ways, depending on their age and experience.
We therefore find it of utmost importance to nurture creativity and innovation in them through various platforms, one of them being scratch.
Seeing as this month of May is scratch month (pause for applause). We want to take the time to appreciate various platforms that encourage technological innovation in children as well as appreciate the hardworking members of our society who have given their time and energy to diligently mentor these young minds.
What is Scratch?
Scratch, a programming language developed at the MIT media lab in the United States, has expanded the horizon for young learners and researchers.
Scratch is but a program which is very powerful but also child friendly. The Scratch language shares similarities to children’s building-brick toys, for it uses a simple structure of graphical bricks of computer codes to control both images and sound.
Scratch brings up a fun way of learning which is cherished by learners globally.
This platform utilizes one’s artistic imagination and creativity through the construction of attention grabbing animations as well as empowering the children with educational benefits such as; literacy, numeracy and others.
In training sessions, the children work together to develop projects on a digital platform. They learn to plan, design and sharing of tasks. They are then encouraged to explain their works to fellow participants who in turn closely analyze their work.
Criticism and compliments from fellow classmates is an integral part of learning and communication.
This digital platform highlights many of the junior curriculum such as art, languages and numerical manipulations.
Scratch foundation also holds annual conference at different locations of the world and Scratch 2019 conference was done right here in our own backyard, Nairobi.
The Society of Engineering Students (SES) was privileged to participate in this amazing program. Students volunteered to take part in mentoring kids and sparking their interest in the tech-world.
The conference is a platform for members of Scratch community to interact and share ideas with people from different educational backgrounds worldwide.
They also discuss how they can support children and enable them to interact with one another using Scratch.
Here is what some of the volunteers had to say about the conference..
“I had the honour of being part of the organizing team for the first ever Scratch conference in Nairobi last year. It took me out of my comfort zone, to plan the details of the conference, for months, and to have my fingers crossed, hoping everything goes well on the D-day. I had the opportunity to meet and interact with other educators all over the world who use Scratch to teach creative coding, and to share ideas on how to better and expand our work.
Over the years, JKUAT Society of Engineering Students has seen a lot of students volunteer their time and efforts to activities aimed at teaching creative coding to primary and secondary students in the community. It really warms my heart to see such initiative being shown by campus students. I look forward to seeing more and more of such activities, and evaluating the impact they have on our communities.” ~ Sackey Freshia President – JKUAT Society of Engineering Students
“Scratch Conference was an amazing opportunity for me. Seeing what MIT came up with to entice and draw kids and newbies into tech was inspiring. I got to see the way companies like Africa’s Talking have added to its code. A fascinating project I came across was how sowing machines are using patterns generated by Scratch. But the overall best was witnessing the awe in kids’ faces as they activated and programmed devices using the same. If you have a little someone in your life, from as young as 5 years old, this is a great way to get them interested in programming!” ~ Mercy Jebet (Former SES Editorial Chair)
“The Scratch Africa Conference was an eye-opener for me as to how much you can do as an individual for the benefit of a whole community from the people that I interacted with during that 3 day period – Which sometimes all it takes is for one to step up, rise and you can change the world. It was very motivating to see all these different organizations volunteering to teach children how to program all in a fun and interesting way. Seeing the children innovating and creating was the heart of the conference and it showed how much we can progress as a country and continent as a whole? All in all, it was a great experience!” ~ Timothy Ndichu (SES Editorial Vice Chair)
“My experience at the scratch conference which happened at Brookhouse academy was great. Being a volunteer enabled me interact with various people from different countries. This helped me create connections with them & able to learn one or two from them. Also, it helped me appreciate the coding languages and how they can be used to change things. Through the interaction, I was able to know the importance of realizing one’s purpose much earlier in life & how to improve each day. Lastly, most people were using etiquette & that made me love the conference even more. It was a great experience” ~ SES Member – Ian Wekesa
Scratch is just but one of the Mentorship Programs that SES has taken part in.
We believe in contributing towards an ever growing community of mentors and mentees.
The JKUAT society of engineering students (SES) have had a significant impact on the First LEGO League (FLL), East African chapter through:
Officiating the First LEGO league East Africa
- Organizing the First LEGO league East Africa
Training students on robotic in readiness for the FLL
We partnered with FIRST and LEGO to provide a suitable learning experience to young students between the age of 6 to 18 through the First LEGO league held yearly.
The society members have organized the First LEGO League (East Africa) since 2017.
The members organize the tournament activities such as preparation of LEGO sets, ushering and directing guests during the tournament, and maintaining student organization during the tournament.
A few members also go through intensive training, after which they help with judging the students’ presentation.
Furthermore, most of the members participate in training the students in preparation for the yearly tournament.
Some of the schools that have benefited from the training sessions and the tournament include Taji School, Brook House School, China Culture Center, Premier School, Green Garden School, Alliance High School, among others. SES hopes to improve its cooperation with the tournament organizers to widen the reach by increasing the number of schools that benefit from the tournament and training sessions.
Other mentorship endeavors include a successful Outreach Program: Engineering Sensitization in 2018 where we reached out to high school students who are at the prime of deciding what they want to venture into in the university.
The program targeted schools in Kibera as from 22nd May to 25th May 2018. Volunteers visited the schools during the afternoon hours covering at least two schools per day.
The aim was to inform students about available engineering courses and information regarding each course, the job market in engineering field and areas they can specialize in through presentations by volunteers.
They also managed to intrigue students by showcasing some of the projects they had. Students enjoyed participation and asked questions in areas they were curious on. The project was a success and interested was inspired.