Excitement was visibly written on the faces of some primary school teachers in Kaduna State on Monday as they touched and operated the computer for the first time ever.
The 25 teachers had undergone a five-day digital literacy training programme organised for primary school teachers in Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
The training was organised by Emerald-Isle Foundation (EIF) under its “Train-the-Tutor’’ project, designed to improve the capacity of teachers.
It was organised in partnership with the Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism, IHIFIX Foundation, Queen Amina College, and Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, a youth-focused leadership development non-profit organisation.
The Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development is another partner in the training programme
One of the teachers, Ms Kasham Tanko, who teaches a Primary Four class at Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Sabon Tasha, said the training was a game changer for her.
The visibly-excited Tanko said: “Oh! Wow! Oh! Wow! To God be the glory. I participated in the training that has completely transformed me from a digital novice to a digital savvy teacher.
“Whenever I see a laptop computer, I used to ask myself, what is this? Not that I haven’t seen it before, but I had wondering how people operated it.
“To God be the glory, I have participated in the training and I am now able to do so many things on the computer.
“It is a rare privilege for me because I have never undergone any computer training before,’’ she said.
Tanko added that the training had improved her capacity to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint applications to prepare lesson plans, notes and prepare presentations.
She commended EIF for the opportunity, which had enabled her to know how to source materials online to prepare rich lesson plans and notes using different online platforms.
Other participants told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they had also seen computers in the past, but it was their first time of operating one.
Head Teacher of UBE Primary School Sabon Gida, Udawa, Mrs Debora Solomon, said her experience was “beyond description’’ having had the opportunity to operate a computer for the first time.
“This is my first time touching a computer since joining the teaching profession in 2007. Now I have learned how to use different tools and applications, including Google tools and other e-learning platforms.
“I have also learned how to use Google tools to interact with my teachers and hold online classes.
“The experience is so amazing, and thanks to Emerald-Isle Foundation; now I can do all these things on a computer,’’ she said.
Mrs Dorcas Dare, primary one teacher at LGEA Primary School, Nasarawa I, Kaduna
The experience was not different for Mrs Dorcas Dare, a Primary One teacher at Local Government Education Authority Primary School, Nasarawa I, who described the training as an “eye opener’’.
Dare said that the last time she touched a computer was after her secondary school when she enrolled for introduction to computer class where she learned a little about the computer.
She added that the digital literacy training had opened her eyes to so many possibilities in the digital space that would make teaching delivery easy and in the long run, improve learning outcomes.
“Besides learning some of the basics of computers, I also learned how I can source materials by logging to Ignite, the inspired e-platform and Nigerian Learning Passport.
“These are websites with rich education resources that can be downloaded and used to prepare rich lesson notes that will improve learners’ knowledge on any topic or subject.
“I never knew how possible it was to teach pupils using online platforms and applications, but now I know how, and I am looking forward to exploring them in the future,’’ she said.
One of the instructors, Mr Isaac Sunday, a digital expert with Ihifix Technology ltd., Kaduna, said the training was hectic because he had to take participants through the very basics of computer appreciation.
He added that because most of the teachers were operating a computer for the very first time, he had to take them through how to use the mouse, and how to switch a computer on and off.
“I also taught them how to use the keyboard; how to create a folder and how to use Google collaborative tools so that they can learn how to interact with themselves and with their pupils,’’ he said.
The digital expert described the non-availability of computers in most public primary schools in Kaduna State as a “serious challenge’’ that would affect the ability of the teachers to put the digital skills to use.
He said pupils also needed to have access to computers to be on the same page with their teachers for improved learning experiences and outcomes.
EIF Chief Executive Officer, Ms Evelyn Ode, said the training packages included computer appreciation, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Google Collaborative Tools, and e-learning platforms.
Ode stressed that the goal was to improve teaching and learning outcomes in public and private schools in Kaduna State to be in tune with the current digital age.
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