All over the world, there is an increasing attention on the role technology plays in preparing students for the 21st century.
Unlike the traditional method of learning which is more about the paper and pencil teacher centered approach, technology-induced learning not only motivates learning in students, but it also offers them the 21st century skills needed to remain competitive in a highly technological knowledge-based economy.
However, most teachers in this current dispensation have little or no knowledge about technology and so come across as averse to this new method of infusing technology into education, explaining why in many schools, the use of mobile devices which could help improve learning process is prohibited.
Although, there have been several interventions from both the Federal and State governments, particular in the use of technology, tablets, desktops and laptops among students, but these interventions cannot work effectively as long as attention is on just the students and not the teachers.
To this end, future teachers, and educators, in general, need professional development, not only in technological skills and applications but also in new academic methods of incorporating technology into the classroom.
At the forefront of promoting technology skills in the classroom is Intel Corporation. The blue chip company recently partnered with the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) on a 4-day training exercise tagged, “Intel Teacher Professional Development Training.”
The training exercise is part of Intel’s global Teach Program to improve effectiveness among teachers through professional development, by helping them integrate technology into their teaching, while promoting among the students, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills.
Speaking on the training, Global Education Specialist, Intel, Shelly Shott, who facilitated the training sessions, emphasized the need for a student-centered environment which according to her is a perfect environment to introduce technology. Shott said that, “Intel believes that we have to educate our students for the 21st century. The old format of teaching does not necessarily support technology in the classroom, which is why we are advocating for a student-centered approach to learning.”
Being the first University of Education, the partnership with TASUED, will provide Intel with the opportunity to have a system in place whereby teachers year in year out are given technology skills before they graduate. Moreso, Intel through the program, has provided the school with its curriculum for teachers training which they can apply to both Pre-service and In-service teachers.
Speaking on the initiative, the Corporate Affairs Group Manager, Intel, Babatunde Akinola said, “The course we are running is Intel Teaching Portfolio of Courses and we have been training teachers around the world for the past 10 years. The company has invested over 1 billion in education and we still continue to do that. We see TASEUD as a strategic partner because their mandate is Education.”
Akinola added that, “Being a state government University and the first University of education in Nigeria with a mandate to train teachers for the economy, the training will definitely filter down.”
Noting that without the right skill set, the Nigerian child faces a global dis-enfranchisement, he explained that, “The world is getting more global and if you do not fit in, you face being dis-enfranchised. That is not what we want for our children, unfortunately we do not have the teachers with the right skills set to help them stay competitive.
“Yes, they might have the right content, but in terms of delivery, things have changed. Attention span for children has changed, reading method and culture have also changed. We have to meet the kids at their needs. What are the things they relate to? They relate to devices. So, we need to know how to use these devices both to teach and to promote learning.”
Commending Intel for the initiative, Director Academic Planning, Quality Assured and Research, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASEUD) Dr. Niran Adetoro said the training could not have come at a better time, given that the school is looking for exciting and innovative ways to help teachers and by extension the children learn better.
On the mode of implementation, Dr. Adetoro added noted that, “We will do a report to the University management and thereafter, we will want to step it down to teachers within the University that technology can be very useful in facilitating learning.
We intend to pass on the knowledge to teachers in the Secondary school and we are also going to do Pilot. We hope to do a lot of studies from this and ask for some funding from government and TETFUND. We will be doing this first and foremost with the Secondary schools and the schools around for the piloting.”
While noting that the management of the school is very committed to the program and would do everything within its power to pass on the knowledge learned from the exercise, he stressed that, “The level of commitment from the management team is very high, especially from the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, who herself is a thoroughbred teacher that believes in innovative ways of impacting the profession.”
On his part, Dr. Yomi Okunowo, Fellow, African Humanity Programme (AHP) and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) noted that a lot of advocacy will be carried out to project the usefulness and possibilities that are open to employ technology into teaching and learning.
Dr. Okunowo stated that, “For us, we have been discussing how to go about making people to join the bandwagon from what we have gained from here. And we believe, beyond the university authority, there should be a survey of the technology we have in schools and conduct a survey of the professionals in the school.
The survey would address questions like, what do they know? What is it that they do not know? What are the facilities on ground? From what we see on ground, how then can we intervene and help to project the knowledge we have learnt from here?”
Describing the training as an eye opener, another participant, Dr. Kemi Banjoko, a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry remarked that, “The one that intrigued me more, had to do with the use of mobile phone and tablets in teaching.
Though, we use them majorly for social networking, the training has opened up a world of new possibilities for me in using them to enhance learning and teaching. I learnt that you could even create a group for your students using mobile devices, where you discuss topics, post information, where you even post questions and get instant feedback.”
Aside training the teachers, there was also a 2-day workshop for Intel business partners. According to Intel, the training for business partners was strategic since they also fit into the chain of learning and teaching.
Akinola said that, “Because they are the ones that go out to deploy the feature solutions, we wanted them to understand that it is not just enough to deploy feature solutions, but they need to also focus on teachers and provide the right content for teachers for them to be comfortable.”
With more than 200,000 teachers trained in the last 10 years, Intel Teaching program in Nigeria has become the most successful of its kind and stakeholders within the industry express optimism that, Intel’s partnership with TASEUD would yield more results in the coming years.