By Emek Aginam
By the time the just concluded Microsoft Innovative Educators national forum was drawing to a close, there were positive signals that the paradigm shift from traditional to virtual classroom has started in Nigeria.
At the event that participants from the Nigerian educational sector stressed the need for an educational revolution, no fewer than 50 educators from both public and private institutions in various states in Nigeria were trained on how best to use the latest educational technology to teach students in their various schools.
Accordingly the participants were collectively challenged by Microsoft to directly train 20,000 educators across their geo-political zones by 2017, using the Nigeria-specific content developed during the forum.
Organized to inspire and empower members of the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) community, and elevate their ability to effectively teach with technology, the participants are in turn expected to use the knowledge acquired to affect changes in their various geo-political zones.
Speaking to the participants via a Skype call, the Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft Incorporation, Anthony Salcito; expressed his utmost gratitude to the educators who had volunteered to implement change in their society.
“Thank you for being part of the Microsoft Education community, you have taken a bold step. This is not only to help your students but to challenge the status quo, to be courageous enough to apply new technologies that will amplify all of your teaching techniques. We are training a wonderful community around the world with the help of passionate educators. Your efforts combined with the support of technology will help transform the way students learn enabling them to help build the skills needed for a 21st century workplace.”, Salcito said.
Earlier in her remarks, the event host, Microsoft Nigeria’s Education Programs Manager, Jordan Belmonte said that “a teacher doesn’t need a roomful of fancy gadgets to make an impact, even simple changes like re-arranging the way a classroom is setup, to encourage collaboration, can promote the adoption of 21st century skills.”
Belmonte added that, “When we do think about how to best use technology, a lot of the foreign curriculum which we are imbibing in Nigeria is not well-localized. Through this forum, we will work on making all our content relevant to the realities of Nigerian classrooms and ensure it’s easier for Nigerian’s to teach and learn with technology.”
The forum impressed on educators, the need to start teaching in a way that captivates children, offering learning experiences that keep them interest and engaged.
Commenting on the forum, Chief Education Officer, Secondary Education Board, Abuja; Veranique Obiakor expressed her excitement towards imparting all she learnt in her region.
In her words, “I really appreciate this forum as it has brought about educators from the different hierarchy in one room to make the change in the Nigerian education system. I have learnt a lot from this forum, and I cannot wait to continue my insightful evangelism in my region to make more innovative educators thereby reshaping the classroom for the next generation.”
This two-day event broke the mold of many corporate events as the informal proceedings promoted continuous collaboration and input from all event attendees.
Educators previously frustrated with a broken bureaucratic system, a lack of infrastructure and apathetic colleagues were re-energized.
Attendees left with the confidence that despite all obstacles and impossibilities they had the power within themselves to liberate the genius in every student and to foster a generation of youth that have the potential to bring Nigeria into a new era of prosperity.