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article imageMicrosoft to provide PCs to teacher who taught IT on a blackboard

By James Walker     Mar 15, 2018 in Technology
Microsoft has confirmed it will provide computers to a school in Ghana that lacks functioning IT equipment. 33-year-old teacher Richard Appiah Akoto went viral online last month after teaching students using blackboard mock-ups of Microsoft Word.
In a Facebook post in February, Akoto published photos that showed him drawing detailed images of the Microsoft Word interface to educate students on the software. The school has no computers but still attempts to provide students with ICT education. Akoto's post became an Internet sensation and was shared thousands of times on social media and in news articles.
In a post to its own newsroom today, Microsoft confirmed it has since made contact with Akoto and agreed to provide devices to the school. In his first trip out of Ghana, Akoto attended Microsoft's Education Exchange conference in Singapore where he was given "a star treatment." After appearing on stage, the assembled audience gave him a long ovation for his commitment to ICT education.
Akoto explained that students at the school do understand computing fundamentals but have no way of actually using a device. He provides ICT education so students will be prepared once they're able to access technology.
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Akoto said he teaches vital digital skills so that children are not "left behind in life" in the digital age. Ghana requires school students to pass an ICT exam, even if their school has no computing facilities.
Microsoft has now committed to working with Akoto through a local partner in Ghana. It will be providing device and software support to enable him to introduce his students to functioning computers. Akoto will also be provided with access to the Microsoft Certified Educator Program (MCE), where he'll able to develop his skills and learn more about Microsoft products.
"I wanted to teach them 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," Akoto said of his teaching. "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."
Akoto – who posts on Facebook under the pseudonym of Owura Kwadwo Hottish – used to have to redraw different interfaces for each lesson. Over the course of his teaching, he's created representations of various software screens and hardware devices. The images that went viral online show him teaching students the "features of a word processing window," using a drawing that includes all the core components of the Word interface.
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