By Tare Youdeowei
CLIFFORD Ifebuene, Director, Fliplearn; Jordan Belmonty, Education Programmes Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, as well as 150 educators in the public and private sector, have unanimously agreed that lack of technology adaptation is the bane of education in Nigeria.
They made this known at the recently concluded annual Fliplearn Conference, organized in partnership with Microsoft Nigeria, with the aim at internalising learning for children, as well as bringing the best in technology development to the classroom, thereby making learning more engaging for the 21st century learner.
Speaking on the need for a restructuring of the curriculum to reflect technology enhancement, Clifford Ifebuene said; “I think one of the major problems we have is technology adaptation, how to implement technology in the classroom and see how effective it is. What we intend to do is introduce educators to these technologies, know the key measurable and create a platform where they can measure if it is making an impact in the classrooms and schools.
“The curriculum, as we have it, needs work, I wouldn’t say it is perfect but it needs work. As a result we looked at our surrounding and the way learning is conducted right now and we decided to bring the best in technology development to the classroom and make it more engaging for the 21st century learner, which is what children of these days actually are. They are digital natives. So Fliplearn is basically about bringing digital concepts into the classroom and internalising learning for the learner.”
Harping on the theme Creativity in Learning, as she insisted that not all students learn the same way, Jordan Belmonte, Education Programmes Manager, Microsoft Nigeria enthused; “We at Microsoft are firm believers that not all students learn the same way. Some students are virtual learners; some learn better through hearing things, some learn better through handling and doing things, some through kinestenics.
“In a normal classroom environment technology is not easily embraced or adapted into different learning cells, but through technology the promise of an adaptable, diverse class of experience can be realised.
“We are really looking into education transformation. How we can go from the old way of doing things; where students were just taking in, regurgitating and flushing the knowledge away, to a world where they are collaborating and communicating, where they have strong critical thinking and creativity skills, which are what is going to be needed when they enter the workforce.”
On the success of collaborating to achieve technology adaptation in schools across Nigeria, Ifebuene said; “It is not easy and I have to commend our educators. The schools are all getting involved. Right now, we cannot run away from technology any more, it is all encompassing, it is everywhere and schools are really coming together to adopt technology. Presently we have close to 250 teacher-participants from different schools.”
Just as Belmonte disclosed; “We have some success stories. In Anambra state they adopted our Imagine Academy programme, which is a digital training platform for students and teachers across 450 secondary schools in the state. They were specifically aiming at training teachers and upping their skills based on the UNESCO specification with technology framework. As a result of that Anambra state has much higher WAEC and JAMB scores than other states.”
The commissioner of education there also won The Commissioner of Education of the Year Award last year because of her effort.”
Lecturing teachers on technology adaptation and upgrading their knowledge base to keep up with the 21st century learner, Prof. Pai Obanya, while handlingn the topic; Teaching for Learning in the context of the 21st century, said; “Education starts at birth and regarding education a schooling is a reductionist idea. Education needs to be tilted towards the world of work as opposed to labour market, hence we need to educate people to be employable. ICT versertality is key.
Teaching needs not just be about being qualified, competent, efficient and effective. You have to be all encompassing. You have to be creative in class, don’t just be qualified. Teaching is no longer about subjects and methods, it should be about life long learning, broad general knowledge, broad field knowledge, education principles in knowledge and a pedagogic application of skills.
Do not feed knowledge, guide stuents to search for knowledge, hence experiential learning is key. Teachers need to evolve from being dictational, didactic, demonstrative, interactive, to being creative.
Teaching is only considered successful only if the learner has learnt. Hence, it becomes rewarding only when we aim at mastery. Learning is best carried out when it is events are more closely linked to life situations. Things are not taught but caught, as such everyone is teachable if you meet them at their level.”