One of the biggest challenge faced by many computer science students in many parts of Africa is a lack of access to computers. The course in itself is a very hands-on course, and the students need to do a lot of practice. One can only perfect their skills, knowledge, and experience by doing a lot of programming practices.
Although most universities in Africa do have computer laboratories, more often than not, they are also used to teach other classes. That limits computer science students’ access to the labs. To a computer science student, access to a desktop or laptop computer is critical. The fact most learning institutions have too few and shared computers does not do justice to students taking computer science course.
The situation gets worse by the fact that across many homes in Africa, personal PCs are not a common thing. The numbers of homes with a desktop or laptop computer are just too few. However, the same cannot be said about mobile phones. If anything, mobile phones are in plenty across homes in Africa. Even the students themselves own mobile phones; it is rare to find one without a phone.
An innovative idea sprung up, called scaffolding, where students could practice coding on their smartphones. Scaffolding (or supporting) is a custom-made program that can be used to code programs on smartphones using the Java language. The results of scaffolding have been impressive as witnessed on this site.
Challenges of Coding on a Smartphone
The first clear problem is the small size of the mobile phone screen. Secondly, the keyboard is just not are rewarding as a full keyboard desktop on a computer. However, as some level of practicing coding on your smartphone beats not having or less frequently having to code programs practically. For more information on scaffolding, follow this link.