Located in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana, Savannah International Academy is a private co-educational secondary school offering IGCSE and A-level international curriculum. A member of the Education Collaborative network since 2018, SIA has engaged Ashesi University through the Education Collaborative on several projects and is one of two pilot high schools under the Ashesi-before-Ashesi High School Mentorship program set to roll out in October 2019.

Using Design Thinking Approach for Education

David Hutchful, a technologist, educator, and an adjunct lecturer at Ashesi University, led a session on applying design thinking tools for lesson planning and delivery. Using engaging activities, interactive exercises, and real-life examples, the tutors present discovered how to incorporate design thinking tools in lesson planning and delivering. The session covered the history of innovation and problem solving, delved into why design thinking is important, and the mindset behind using the approach.

“When you think about your classroom, understanding why the students are there becomes a very critical point for understanding how you teach them, and good leverage for how you approach that teaching.” Said David Hutchful. “Asking why, and not only at the beginning but at different stages in teaching is the beginning of the design thinking mindset.”

By the end of the session, the tutors came to understand the core aspects of Design Thinking and acquired skills and practices for applying Design Thinking in the classroom.

“It brings me much excitement and appreciation to see how far design
thinking has evolved and how it’s not just an out of the pocket topic or course but a necessity that brings humanity into academia.” – Nana Yaw Aboagye, Physics and Math’s teacher, Design thinking Coordinator at SIA.

Using Cognitive Load Theory for Student Engagement

Diane Davis, Director of Counseling and Coaching at Ashesi University and
David Sampah, lecturer, Computer Science, at Ashesi University led a session on Cognitive Load Theory at the SIA training seminar. Cognitive load theory focuses on the brain and how it learns, captures, and retains information.

By engaging in practical tests to discover their learning patterns and the most dominant side of the brain, the tutors were given insights on how to discover the learning patterns of their students and teach based on their learning needs.

The tutors present learned how lessons can be designed to be more memorable for the learner and how facilitators can capture the attention of students during a class.

“The session on cognitive load theory was pretty enlightening. The facilitators were affable and the presentation was easy to follow. I recommend this for everyone because its implications are myriad and varied.” – Kofi Larbi Play-Based Learning Coordinator at SIA.

“The training equipped us with positive and practical ideas that can be used in lesson delivery and also on how to use the creativity of our learners to challenge them in product design. Very relevant training in contemporary education.” – Gracious Ampofo, Lead Teacher at SIA.