It's hard enough to teach kids how to use a computer because they are kids, but just try to do it without a computer. That was the task undertaken by Richard Appiah Akoto in Ghana, and his innovative (and labor-intensive) solution was to draw the computer or the application on the blackboard with a lot of details. His hard work has become viral and now Microsoft stepped in to help .
Akoto teaches at the Betenase High School of the Municipal Assembly in the small town of Sekyedomase. He had posted photos of his magnum opus, a superb rendition of a full window Microsoft Word, on Facebook. "I love students, so I have to do what will make them understand that I'm a teacher," he writes. He looks harassed in the last frame of the sequence.
The message exploded (9.3K reactions at this point), and Microsoft, which for years was rather quietly promoting early access to computer and engineering education , took note. He was right before the company 's Education Exchange in Singapore, and they took him by plane.
This was the first time that Akoto was outside of Ghana, and at the conference, a gathering of education leaders from around the world, he described his dilemma Too common: The only computers available – one owned by the school and Akoto laptop staff – were broken.
"I wanted to teach them how to run Microsoft Word, but I did not have a computer to show them," he said in an interview with Microsoft at the time. "I had to do my best. So I decided to draw what the screen looks like on the board with chalk. "
"I have done it every time the lesson that I teach requires," he continued. "I drew monitors, system units, keyboards, a mouse, a formatting toolbar, a drawing toolbar, etc. The students were instructed to do the following: agree with that, they are used to doing everything on the board for them. "
Pursuing a method so difficult instead of giving up in such circumstances is more than admirable, and children are certainly better off having a teacher dedicated to his class and his subject. A little bit of computer can make all the difference.
"They have knowledge of computers, but they do not know how to make them work," Akoto said. Microsoft has therefore offered to provide "hardware and software support" to the school (I asked for details, although they may depend on the school's needs), and Akoto will have the opportunity to go through the Microsoft Educator Certification Program benefits).
Obviously, if this school has this problem, others are too, and could use similar support. And as Akoto himself pointed out eloquently to NPR when his post became viral, "they lack more than equipment."
But at least in this case, there are a few hundred students who are going to have an opportunity that they did not have before. It's a start.