We wrote 2 weeks ago about an ICT teacher in Ghana teaching Microsoft Word to his students using a blackboard.
The dedicated teacher, Richard Akoto, who went above and beyond to ensure his students met their ICT exam requirement despite not having computers, then noted that “Teaching of ICT in Ghana’s school is very funny. “I have been doing it anytime I am in the classroom. I love my students so have to do what will make them understand what [I] am teaching.”
Mr Akoto’s school has not had computers since 2011, despite the students needing to pass an ICT exam as part of their course requirement.
Today Microsoft honoured Akoto in front of 400 educators from 91 countries at the Education Exchange (E2) in Singapore.
Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education at Microsoft, praised Richard as one example of the many teachers worldwide who overcome massive obstacles to meet their students’ needs every day.
“Your work has really inspired the world. It really shows the amazing innovation and commitment and passion that teachers have for helping their students get ready for the future,” Anthony said. “At Microsoft, we believe that educators are heroes and are pushing the boundaries of what is possible to transform learning and making a direct impact on the experiences and lifelong skills of their students.”
Akoto, who never travelled out of Ghana before, said he has dedicated himself to teaching vital digital skills to his students, so they would not be left behind in life. “They have some knowledge about computers, but they don’t know how to actually operate one,” he said in an interview. But showing his class how to use a PC posed a fundamental problem as the school’s only computer and his own personal laptop were both broken.
“I wanted to teach them how to launch Microsoft Word. But I had no computer to show them. I had to do my best. So, I decided to draw what the screen looks like on the blackboard with chalk,” he said. “I drew the features and labeled them correctly so that they would know what-was-what. Then I drew what you would see on your computer screen after launching Word.
I have been doing this every time the lesson I’m teaching demands it. I’ve drawn monitors, system units, keyboards, a mouse, a formatting toolbar, a drawing toolbar, and so on. The students were okay with that. They are used to me doing everything on the board for them. When I did this, it was nothing new or strange for them.”
His extraordinary dedication to is students, however, drew attention from around the world, including multiple pledges for assistance.
Microsoft will be working with Richard through a local partner in Ghana to provide device and software support required for his students at the Betenase Municipal Assembly Junior High School in the town of Sekyedomase in rural Ghana. He will also gain access to the Microsoft Certified Educator Program (MCE) for professional development, so he can nurture his passion for teaching and build rich, custom learning experiences for his students.
“Something very positive has come out of this and I am very happy. We are no longer going to use the chalkboard again. We will have computers,” noted Akota.