No more computer lessons on a blackboard: Happy students now learn in a computer lab

Teacher Richard Appiah Akoto became a global social media sensation after posting pictures of himself giving computer lessons with a blackboard and chalk because his school in rural Ghana had no working computers. Now, his biggest wish has come true: His students are happily learning digital skills in a brand new computer lab,

Microsoft has donated 27 new laptops to Betenase Junior High Schoolalong with new uniforms, classroom furniture and mathematical sets. The school has also received device security storage units, one year of free 3G connectivity, a projector and screen, along with an uninterrupted power system (UPS) and routers. All devices will also be provided with Office Professional Plus software. 

Teacher Richard Appiah Akoto (left) receives a laptop from and Anthony Nyutu, Microsoft Devices Lead for Sub Sahara Africa (right)

“As a technology brand that is on a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – Microsoft believes that enablement must start at grassroots level by way of education,” says Warren La Fleur, Education Lead for West East and Central Africa at Microsoft. “It is the teachers and the work they do through their lessons, that allow for this to happen effectively.”

Teachers, not only in Bentenase Junior High School, but also across Ghana, will gain access to the Microsoft Certified Educator Program (MCE) for professional development, so that they can nurture their passion for teaching and build rich, custom learning experiences for students. Training such as this is vital in ensuring that educators have the global educator technology literacy competencies. Working with Microsoft to help transform education in Ghana’s education is local partner, eSolutions Consulting.

ALSO READ: Teachers as heroes: changing the narrative at E2 in Singapore

Richard shot to fame after social media images of him went viral. In the photos he is seen painstakingly sketching out a mock-up of a Microsoft Word screen in colored chalk on his classroom blackboard so his students could learn digital skills even without devices.

His celebrity grew further last month when he was given star treatment at the worldwide Education Exchange (E2)  conference in Singapore. Microsoft had been so impressed by Richard’s dedication and innovation that it flew him halfway around the world to Asia. It was the first time he had left Ghana and it was time he had flown in a plane.

At the gathering of more than 400 educators, Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education at Microsoft, praised Richard as an example of the many teachers around the world who overcome massive obstacles to meet their students’ needs every day.

Lilian Nganda, Microsoft Communications Lead for Sub Sahara Africa, gives a student some quick tips on how to use a new Windows 10 laptop at the Betenase Junior High School

Microsoft has also invested in developing over 300 hours’ worth of free courses, where educators are able to participate in training and receive certification. The duration of each course is between 1 and 3 hours. Focuses vary from how to use tools like OneNote, Sway, and Skype, while others are more instruction based, designed to assist them to integrate technology in their course work. This ties together through assessments and a points-based system and teachers in Ghana and worldwide have access to all these learning tools.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is in advanced discussions with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Ghana to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on more collaborative ways of transforming education in Ghana. A key objective of this Memorandum of Understand will be to provide support on teacher development and advancing digital literacy in secondary and post-secondary education. The agreement establishes a framework for cooperation. It is intended to spur successful collaboration to create sustainable, scalable projects and initiatives which will leverage the usage of Microsoft technologies and expertise to facilitate improvements in Quality, Relevance and Access to education in Ghana. 

 ALSO READ: Celebrating educators globally at Microsoft Education Exchange 2018



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