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How do we get learning PCs or Tablets into low income households?

We closed the Hub on the 16th of March 2020 due to COVID-19, our new classes were just about to begin for new and old students that week. We printed a one page sheet mentioning why we were closing and how to stay safe for the teenagers to give to their parents at home.

To be honest I had thought the whole virus would be contained in a month back then, right now, I am not sure anymore when it will be contained and how that would happen as it has been tough for people to not open their business or go to work. One thing that scares me is the thought of our wards, majority of who have no access to computers or tablets in their homes, at most maybe a low memory smartphone belonging to a parent or other family member.

How do we stay connected to our wards? Majority of them go to government public schools where they do not own a whiteboard. In these times, some schools in Lagos and maybe other cities in Nigeria are already integrating the virtual learning process for their students, how would the schools in rural towns and villages like us adapt? Schools where a printed paper or phone call is our means of connecting or communicating with parents, not emailing or any other form of school portal.

I read a post on the 5 Big Questions about the Digital Era by Joshua Freedman, the CEO of Six Seconds, and I can’t help but also ask myself everyday;

How are we going to use #technology to connect with our wards? Even if we had a solid e-learning portal, how do we get tablets at the very least into these households? Click To Tweet

For clarity, Joshua’s questions are all valid and were:

  1. How do we take back control and make technology serve us rather than vice versa?
  2. As we apply new tech to ourselves & our lives, do we enhance our humanity or destroy it?
  3. How do we equip our children to navigate this “brave new world” of intense complexity?
  4. What does it take to shift our culture and business and technology to work together?
  5. Can we make the future better by applying indigenous wisdom and the sacred technologies of the past?

Translated to Hausa:

  1. Ta yaya za mu dawo da ikon da muke da sannan  mu saka fasaha ta yi mana bauta maimakon mu bauta mata?
  2. Yayinda muke amfani da sabbin fasaha ga kawunanmu da rayukanmu, shin muna inganta dan adam ko lalata shi?
  3. Ta yaya za mu ba wa yaranmu damar kewaya wannan “sabuwar duniya” mai rikitarwa?
  4. Me ake bukata don canza al’adun mu da kasuwancin mu da fasaha don aiki tare?
  5. Shin za mu iya kyautata rayuwa ta gaba ta hanyar amfani da hikimar asali da abubuwan fasaha masu kyau na zamanin baya?

These are questions we should ask ourselves everyday as Parents, Teachers, Brothers, Sisters, and Students. The world has been changing for a long while, it just took this Pandemic for us to experience not being able to go to a traditional office or school.

Your thoughts are welcomed please…🤔😕

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Updates

Yaay, we are taking part in the Equals commitment

We recently got nominated for the Equals Digital Skills Fund in the first quarter of year 2019. To say we were excited and grateful to whoever nominated us for this grant would be an understatement. Not forgetting to be thankful to the Web Foundation team for selecting us to be part of this program. Needless to say, only 10 Non-Profits were selected and we are part of them.

This program is managed by the World Wide Web Foundation and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the EQUALS Digital Skills Fund will support a range of capacity-building trainings to advance women’s digital skills, active citizenship, and civic participation through technology.

We are committing to running workshops, outreaches and presentations for the next 9 months. Our target audience are girls in secondary schools, women in the educational sector and girls/women who are not in school and have no hope of advancing further in their academic lives. At the end of this program, we plan to have impacted on a significant number of girls and women. We will be publishing updates regularly and sharing information on impact made.

We thank the Web Foundation. We thank the German Development Foundation too.

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Updates

The future of Edtech in Africa – What I See It Become

Recently i sat an a EdTech panel at the African Women in Technology 2019 conference, and i was amazed to see participants come from all over the country, as well as far Katsina. It felt liberating being given the opportunity to share, learn and make an impact. Before the conference, i was asked some questions about EdTech in Africa and i would love to share my answers with you as well.

Interviewer: As a professional who teaches digital skills, what does technology represent to you?

Me: Technology represents to me three things; Freedom, Empowerment and Actionable Resource.

Interviewer: Why did you choose this career path?

Me: It chose me. Just like philosophy is known to be the foundation of all disciplines. Educational Technology to me is the bedrock of how we will possess knowledge in the future.

Interviewer: As an EdTech professional, how receptive have the African women population been to Educational Technology?

Me: On a scale of 1 – 100, 100 being the highest, based off my experience and attendance seen at women dedicated conferences, such as the AWIT2018 and the Summit for Women and Girls organised by the Web Foundation last year. I would score women’s’ participation in Edtech, 15 (I earlier said 50, i may have been too excited). The focus though is more on securing jobs in STEM and embracing it, rather than adoption of tech in what we do everyday and teaching the next generation how to be ready and equipped for the future.

Interviewer: As an African woman in tech, what is the most significant challenge you have faced professionally?

Me: That would be working remotely in the sense of not having a brick and mortar shop. The work we do is one we can carry out from anywhere, so long as there is electricity and reliable internet connectivity. This also means that we do not need to operate a physical office. The implication of this is that clients who prefer to walk-in to request for our services are not able to do so. Even though we are able to manage our remote processes efficiently, some clients would still insist on physical contact when it is clearly not needed.

Interviewer: Where do you place the value of EdTech in the next few years in Africa?

Me: I see it saving the current degenerating educational system we have in Nigeria. I see it opening new frontiers in personalised learning especially in areas lacking access to internet and its technologies. I see it becoming a norm, and a strong tool for the economic liberation of most African countries, especially our dear country, Nigeria.

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Updates

What does it mean to be digitally skilled?

You have probably heard a lot about digital skills – seems everyone is talking about it these days. It has become something every individual is expected to possess. While different academicians and professionals have given different meanings of what they believe it means to be digitally skilled, our best definition of what this means is simple and thus:

To Leverage information, communication and technology for personal and professional development.

You are probably thinking, so what is ICT (The acronym for Information, Communication, and Technology). That, we will break down in another post.

It’s actually really simple? Think of it as personalizing your use of technology to achieve your goals in life. There is an overlap between our personal and professional lives. For instance, what used to be our personal news now seems like public news.

Ask yourself, how do I need to use technology?

When you can answer that question, then you have discovered what digital skills you need to possess to achieve your goals.

The point is, ICT has cut across all spheres of our lives today so it is important that we leverage upon it to improve ourselves and our way of living, not just personally but professionally. This is why we take on that simple explanation of what it means to be digitally skilled. It’s also where the future of EdTech gets interesting, because we may be in the same classroom but what I need to succeed may not be the same as what you need. However, there are some skills everyone, regardless of background, field, gender, or any other reason should possess.

At the end of the day, we should all strive to be good humans. Technology is a tool we can use to get us to where we need to be!

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Digital Skills Workshops

Why you cant be a digital illiterate

We already talked about what it means to be digitally skilled. So how do you know if you are digitally skilled already? It’s simple. If you possess ‘the ability to find, evaluate, utilise, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet, you are halfway there.

Why halfway there though and not a 100%? I will tell you why!

I am sure you have heard it said somewhere before that we live in an information age and there is information overload. Well, to a higher extent, this certainly holds through, the information overload that is. So how do you get close to being a 100%? Again, the answer to that is very simple.

You have to be a master at retrieving useful, accurate and actionable information, otherwise you are going to waste a lot of time roaming the world wide web for answers. This is what the How Do You Tech organisation seeks to address. To prevent every individual from going deep down into a rabbit hole every time they seek knowledge.

Here are two reasons why you cannot afford to be a digital illiterate.

  • Organisations are evolving digitally – Some years ago, after we graduate from high school, our parents typically send us to a secretarial school where we learn how to type on a typewriter. Today, chances are high that you end up in a computer school. Also every job description today will read, ‘must be computer literate’, so really no one can afford to remain an illiterate digital wise.
  • Starting a business/career/side-hustle – Whether you will work in an organisation or run your own business, or build a career, you need to be digital illiterate. Today, your employers will ask to see your portfolio online. Your customers will ask to see samples or pictures of your work. To let people know about that your side hustle, you need to broadcast it online, you get more reach by so doing.

Featured Image Source, click here.