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Stakeholders underscore need for technology in education

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Some education and technology stakeholders have underscored the need for integration of technology in education for effective performance and development.

This was the focus of the Edu-Tech Fire Side Chat Series organised by Smart Kids Zone, an NGO in partnership with Global Innovation Learning Lab and AI6 in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme had the theme “Emerging Technologies and The Future of Education.’’

Mrs Olusola Bankole, President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, FCT Chapter, said technology helped children learn faster and more effectively.

Bankole said from experience, technology made learning more engaging and improved the performance of children.

“When children see this devices and applications, like the Google Classroom, 3D printer, they get excited and want to learn more. I have not met any child who does not like using technology to learn.

“Some of these technology makes for more time management, children can read ahead and come to class to discuss, it makes for more engagement and interaction.”

She added that children with special needs also found it easier learning with technology than writing with pen and paper.

She said many schools found it expensive to deploy technology in teaching, but advised that schools should start gradually and eventually build on it.

Dr Collins Agu, Director, Cooperate Planning and Strategy, National Information Technology Development Agency, called for more deployment of technology to schools at the grassroots.

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Agu said projects should be introduced to integrate technology in the grassroots through digital learning process, which he said the agency was doing.

“We need to go to the rural areas and identify their challenges from primary school level.

“The books given to them by UBEC should be digitised and put in some new emerging tools like SCRATCH programming at an early age, so they can easily migrate to mainframe computers as they grow up.

SCRATCH is a visual programming language and online community targeted primarily at children, by coding with ‘blocks’ in the editor.

“For that to happen energy is needed and it is a challenge because energy is a key driver of all these technologies.

“Government and stakeholders can come in and adopt these approaches because digital literacy is key. We have to go to the grassroots to give them this tools that do not cost much and are durable.”

He added that the youth must also be fully integrated into this system to maximise the benefit for the country.

“This is where you drive the knowledge economy because you are shifting from resources to knowledge.‘’

He however said that these technologies should be adapted to suit local contents for sustainability.

Mr Agwu Amogu, CEO, Global Innovation Learning Lab, said that in order to compete with the rest of the world, Nigeria must catch up in adopting emerging technologies.

He said the teachers needed to be up to date on emerging technologies for effective delivery.

“We can have all the learning applications but if the teacher is not on that brain wave nothing happens.

“We want to see how we can create specific training programmes based on 21st century teaching.

“There is a need to have one teacher training institution where any teacher in the country must pass through to learn all these skills.’’

He added that technology should be used to positively engage youths as a way of moving the economy to a knowledge based economy.

According to him, all stakeholders must start this conversation in their little way until it becomes a priority that bring about change in the education sector.

Mr Attah Igoche, CEO, Aiivon Innovation Hub, an organisation that trains students on ICT, said the biggest challenge was scaling down the emerging technologies to schools in the rural areas.

Igoche, however, said the challenge should not prevent the starting of these technologies in schools that are ready.

“We need to make sure that our children are able to compete with children in developed nations especially in the 21st century, because the traditional method of teaching is fast fading away.

“Also whatever programmes being develop must be useful to the children, so when these technologies are introduced to them, they would not find it difficult to use.’’

Mrs Chinenye Udeh, Programme Manager, Smart Kids Zone, said the chat series was an initiative to bring together school owners, parents, government policy makers and tech community to encourage conversation for action.

Udeh said the programme was aimed at bridging the gap between the skills needed in the emerging technology sector and the practical knowledge of future technology professionals in schools across Nigeria.

“These new technologies are shaking up the roles of educators, creating philosophical shift in approaches to teaching and remodelling the classrooms as well as equipping students with 21st century tech skills needed in today’s workforce.”

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