Teaching Computing… Without A Computer

A teacher in Ghana helps students prepare for a computer studies exam – despite the school having no computers. Richard Appiah Akoto demonstrates the features using a blackboard.

Ghanaian students in the year they turn 15 must pass an exam to move on to the next level of education (high school) and the exam includes written questions on information and communication technology. As the school where Akoto teaches has no computers, he uses chalk drawings to help prepare them, spending around 30 minutes before a class starts to prepare the picture.

After posting a photo of his demonstration of Microsoft Word, Akoto attracted worldwide attention where a Ghanaian comedian saw and shared the picture.

Akoto does have a laptop but says he can’t rely on that for teaching ICT. That’s partly because the battery is unreliable, but also because the Ghanian syllabus and potential exam equestions explicitly refer to a desktop computer with separate monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Microsoft responded to Akoto’s moment in the spotlight by offering to donate a device for the classroom. Akoto took the offer graciously, but noted he’d really need 50 computers to be able to teach the subject adequately. He also noted that his technique is not unusual for ICT teaching in rural areas of the country.

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