Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word window for class, goes viral
One Ghana teachers draws Microsoft Word with multicolored chalk on a blackboard to teach his students about computer programs without a computer. Pictures of him in action went viral, initiating a discussion on teachers' dedication and under-funded public schools.
There are many things we take for granted nowadays. Take technology, for example. Smart devices are so widespread that we have to warn parents about their dangers. But when a Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word on the blackboard for his students, it makes you realize that not every child has access to the kind of education that your child experiences.
Richard Appiah Akoto, 33, an information and communication technology (ICT) teacher from Ghana faces this dilemma every time he has class. His students are required to pass a national exam that includes ICT-related topics.
He says the written exam is a requisite for teenagers aged 14-15 in order to progress to high school. Last year, only one of Akoto’s students got an A.
The thing is, their school has not had a single computer since 2011.
Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word on chalkboard
Akoto didn’t have any choice but to use the next visual aid available: a chalkboard and multi-coloured chalk. With dedication, ingenuity, and a good memory, Akoto drew an MS Word window on the board for his class.
He drew it all from memory, from the toolbars to the icons and the functions of each one.
"I wanted them to know or see how the window will appear if they were to be behind a computer," Akoto, who’s been teaching in the school for six years, says. "Always wanted them to have interest in the subject so I always do my possible best for them."
Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word and goes viral
Pictures of Akoto drawing an MS Word window on the board for his pupils went viral after he posted them on his Facebook wall.
Akoto’s dedication to the job received applause and admiration from people around the world.
"Teaching of ICT in Ghana's school is very funny," his caption on his photos says.
Teacher Kwadwo, a popular comedian and teacher from Ghana, shared Akoto's photo on his Facebook page, which was liked by 145,900 fans (and followed by 180,000 people). This was later picked up by international websites and tech enthusiasts in Africa.
Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word, Microsoft responds
One Cameroonian tech entrepreneur who shared Akoto’s post, Rebecca Enonchong, called out Microsoft Africa on Twitter to provide Akoto'school some much-needed equipment.
— Rebecca Enonchong (@africatechie) February 25, 2018
"Surely you can get him some proper resources," she tweeted on Monday (Feb 26).
The following Tuesday (Feb 27), Microsoft Africa replied to Enonchong. They promised Akoto (and by the looks of the tweet, just Akoto) a device and access to additional educational materials and resources.
Supporting teachers to enable digital transformation in education is at the core of what we do. We will equip Owura Kwadwo with a device from one of our partners, and access to our MCE program & free professional development resources on https://t.co/dJ6loRUOdg
— Microsoft Africa (@MicrosoftAfrica) February 27, 2018
Sadly, Akoto says that the school requires around 50 desktop computer units before Microsoft Africa can fulfill their promise.
Akoto says his 100-plus students were happy that he illustrates ICT topics for them in the absence of computers. His illustrations make his teachings and explanations on the various computer tools simpler, he adds.
It appears that this isn’t the first time he as a Ghana teacher draws Microsoft Word and other IT topics on the blackboard.
"I have been doing this every time the lesson I'm teaching demands it," he says. "I've drawn monitors, system units, keyboards, mouse, formatting toolbar, drawing toolbar, save as dialog box and so on."
What makes the problem even difficult is that though he has a laptop of his own, the official syllabus requires a desktop computer.
The syllabus requires him to teach his class the parts of a computer and how to connect and boot them. However, their reference is a desktop computer.
“[So] if you bring a charged laptop to class and just press the power button, then all of a sudden, everything will be on,” and that would not prepare them for the eventuality of using desktop units in the future, he says.
The required written exam is heavily reliant on a student’s ability to remember lessons based on the syllabus. But the syllabus has not been updated since its introduction in the school.
“Definitely those in Accra [Ghana’s capital] will pass the exam because you cannot compare someone who is in front of a computer, who knows what he is doing with the mouse to someone who has not had a feel of a computer mouse before,” says Akoto.
Akoto’s post was a great tribute to the dedication that teachers have for their students. But it’s also a telling reminder of an under-funded public school system in the country, if not the whole developing world.
In many countries in Africa, many poor parents are forced to enroll their children in private schools instead of free public schools. These parents can barely pay for a private school education. But they see it as a lesser evil than the utter lack of resources in government-run schools.
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