Ghanaian ‘blackboard ICT teacher’ gets standing ovation in Singapore

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33-year-old Richard Appiah Akoto, an ICT pupil teacher at Betenase M/A Junior High School at Sekyedomase in the Ashanti Region, who went viral on social media last month after he posted photos of himself improvising by drawing the entire Microsoft Word window on a blackboard to enable his pupils understand how the software functions, received a standing ovation when he appeared on stage at the Education Exchange conference in Singapore.

Richard Akoto, was in Singapore on the ticket of Microsoft as part of the global technology giant’s support for him after he went viral earlier this year.

The event brought together over 400 educators and school leaders from 91 countries to discuss the role of technology in education.

The Vice President for Worldwide Education at Microsoft, Anthony Salcito, praised Richard Akoto for overcoming major obstacles to help his students.

“Your work has really inspired the world. It really shows the amazing innovation and commitment and passion that teachers have for helping their students get ready for the future,” he said.

Richard Akoto said he was excited about the support being provided by Microsoft, adding that it was refreshing he was no longer going to the blackboard to teach ICT in his school.

“I wanted to teach them [the pupils] how to launch Microsoft Word. But I had no computer to show them. I had to do my best. So, I decided to draw what the screen looks like on the blackboard with chalk,” he said.

“I drew the features and labeled them correctly so that they would know what-was-what. Then I drew what you would see on your computer screen after launching Word.

“I have been doing this every time the lesson I’m teaching demands it. I’ve drawn monitors, system units, keyboards, a mouse, a formatting toolbar, a drawing toolbar, and so on. The students were okay with that. They are used to me doing everything on the board for them. When I did this, it was nothing new or strange for them,” he said.

ricahard-and-anthony-face-to-face“Something very positive has come out of this and I am very happy. We are no longer going to use the chalkboard again. We will have computers,” he added.

Microsoft will be working with Richard through a local partner in Ghana to provide device and software support required for his students at the Betenase Municipal Assembly Junior High School in the town of Sekyedomase in rural Ghana.

He will also gain access to the Microsoft Certified Educator Program (MCE) for professional development, so he can nurture his passion for teaching and build rich, custom learning experiences for his students.

Meanwhile, Richard Akoto’s viral story has gotten a benefactor at UK’s University of Leeds to donate a brand new laptop to this school.

Bluecrest College, an IT training school, formerly known as NIIT, has also donated five (5) desktop computers to the school and one laptop to Mr. Akoto for his personal use.

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