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Simple coding using phone won varsity don top award

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Dr Chao Mbogo might have had many things to remember about February, but one enduring memory will be her travel to Seattle, United States, to receive an award that celebrates women scientists from the developing world.

The computer scientist was one of the five women who won this year’s OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards, and the only one from Africa.

Dr Chao, the dean of Kenya Methodist University’s School of Science and Technology, came back with a trophy, a $5,000 (Sh522,700) cheque

and one more item on the list of awards she has won in her illustrious career in research and technology. They are now nine in her resumé, and they include Google Anita Award (2014), Quartz Africa Innovator (2017), and Zuri Award (2018).

The award Dr Chao received in February is given by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), headquartered in Italy, in collaboration with the Elsevier Foundation that is based in The Netherlands.

The award has been running since 2013.

Between February 12 and 16, she was in the US interacting with the other winners — who came from Bangladesh, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, and Yemen.

She was also attending talks by the award organisers and listening to a number of speakers who included software billionaire Bill Gates.

An idea she conceptualised a decade ago earned her the recognition. She was then working as a lecturer at Kenya Methodist University (Kemu), the university from where she got her first degree (mathematics and computer science) in 2003. She returned there as a lecturer after completing her master’s in computer science from Oxford University, from where she graduated in 2007.

As a Kemu lecturer, she realised that most computer science students had great potential but were drawn back by lack of resources, among them computers. It then hit her that if there was a way to write computer code using mobile phones, many more people would have the much-required headstart in joining the field of software creation.

It is a concept she took into her PhD project at the University of Cape Town. Her PhD thesis was titled Scaffolding Java Programming on a Mobile Phone for Novice Learners.

In 2013, in a conference paper building on that thesis, she outlined the tricks that can be used to make a mobile phone application that can assist greenhorns in the world of creating computer programmes to navigate their way around the often-complicated art.

“(It makes work easy by) providing instructions, steps, default code to be edited, hints, and error prompts where appropriate,”

Dr Chao wrote in the paper.

She added that it also enables the construction of one part at a time, which makes it possible to work with the small screens of mobile devices.

Dr Chao’s efforts are likely to see a generation of Kenyans who have an easy introduction into the world of coding — which basically is the creation of software that enables machines to interact with humans and with other machines.

“Coding is impactful and useful when it is both enjoyed and used to solve some of our most pressing socio-economic challenges. Some of the applications we utilise heavily today are coded,” she said, giving examples of banking apps, taxi hailing apps, social networking apps, among others.

“We live in a society where we have very many interesting problems that can be solved using technology,” she noted.

In an interview with the Sunday Nation on Friday, we asked Dr Mbogo what she plans to do with the prize money she won.

“Part of the funds will be used to support further research of my work and I have also put part of it to KamiLimu, the mentorship program that I run,” she said.

A mathematics enthusiast, she got a calling letter to study nutrition and diet in university after sitting her KCSE. She firmly turned down the invitation and instead enrolled for mathematics and computer science at Kemu. That would be the start of the journey into a demanding field.

“To be a computer scientist, you simply need two traits: Be curious and remain teachable,” she told the Sunday Nation.

“With curiosity, comes the willingness to discover. With the willingness to discover comes the ability to innovate.

To innovate well, you must continuously learn and thus, you have to remain teachable,” added Dr Chao.

Her mobile-adaptable system is currently being refined and may soon be available to the public, she said.

“I am currently working on a new prototype of the technology,” she said.

Afterwards, she will take it to her programming students to test it in all aspects.

“After that iteration, the application will be available to use for anyone who is learning Java computer programming and can be downloaded online,” she noted.

By Daily Nation

 

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VIDEO: A TRUE PLACE OF PEACE for the young ones too!

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Amani Ridge the Place of Peace is the place to be for those who seek to settle in a peaceful domicile.

Families are coming here not only to survey the place where they will soon establish their dream homes, but listen this…to enjoy the quietude and take photos too! They come here to take a walk and enjoy the amazing views.

Others just come to appreciate and walk along the walls of Peace, Happiness, Knowledge and Wisdom.

Others still come here to confirm the value additions that are being placed here courtesy of Optiven. Watch this video expounding on this gated community’s architectural projections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os3nubny8Vg&t=1s

For the young ones who make their way here, they have a chance to breathe the fresh air, to enjoy the serenity of the open and refreshing skies of these cool Kiambu environs. The young girl captured here can attest to this.

You are free to visit the project and enjoy the Peace as you enjoy the magnificent developments happening at Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

Do you want to be part of Amani Ridge the Place of Peace great experience? Get in touch with Optiven Today:

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ

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Intelligent Water Fountain Takes shape at Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

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As you drive into Amani Ridge the Place of Peace, you will be welcomed by a spectacular solar powered water fountain that is currently in the process of being installed.

This water feature will be an excellent landmark to look at as it greets you after a long tiring day. It is set to be decorated with live flowers and the water below will have live fish.

What’s more, the fountain will be lit at night to give it a splendid scenery for night lovers. This new feature which is being installed adjacent to the Wall of Wisdom is also surrounded by amazing landscaping and beautifully done flowers, pebbles and exotic trees. Watch this video expounding on this gated community’s architectural projections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os3nubny8Vg&t=1s

This water feature will truly be an attraction to all the Amani Ridge the Place of Peace residents and guests alike.

Visit Amani Ridge the Place of Peace and witness and enjoy the upcoming splendid feature.

We thank one of our customer, Eng. Gabriel Ndungu, CEO Noble Parks & Pools, who has taken this assignment with so much professionalism and passion. Watch video here for more information about this mesmerizing gated community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoGdZijAbf4&feature=youtu.be

Gabriel is amongst other professionals who are at the frontline, to make Amani Ridge the Place of Peace, one of the best gated high end estate in East & Central Africa.

Want to be part of Amani Ridge the Place of Peace great experience? Get in touch with Optiven Today:

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke

George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ

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Foreign students rethink US business schools

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This summer, dozens of incoming students at New York’s Columbia Business School had planned to sail around the coast of Croatia for a week to get to know each other.

Instead, they are chatting online and playing icebreaker games on Zoom. With the coronavirus still spreading, social gatherings like the sailing trip organised by students are on hold, and there is a good chance that when school starts in September, many classes and events will be held online.

Columbia and other elite US business schools like Harvard Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania have said they will likely move to a “hybrid” model of virtual and in-person learning. It is a far cry from the typical MBA experience which features close contact with fellow students, in-person networking events, trips overseas and lunch sessions with CEOs.

The changes have some students reconsidering the value of a degree that can cost upwards of $100,000 (Sh10 million) a year in tuition, housing and other fees.

International students, who make up roughly 35 per cent of the student body at most elite US business schools, are particularly unsure about the decision.

“The virtual environment might take away a chunk of the MBA experience,” said a 27-year-old student from China who was admitted to Wharton and is considering whether to defer for a year.

“That’s what a lot of people including myself are thinking through now,” said the student, who declined to be identified because of concerns about his visa status and employment prospects

. Education upended

The United States has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths.

Higher education has been upended with most schools sending students home in the spring and moving classes online. The US hosts over a million international students at its higher education institutions, according to the State Department data.

International candidates account for 36 per cent of people who enroll in full-time US MBA programmes, according to Graduate Management Admission Council, an association of business schools.

If institutions do not resume in-person learning, enrollment, particularly among international students, is likely to take a hit, according to a GMAC survey. Only 43 per cent of the international MBA candidates surveyed said they planned to enroll if programmes begin online. Forty-eight per cent of them indicated they would defer in that scenario.

By Standard Business

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