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Digital education

Experts say its best option for Nigeria’s growth

Jet Stanley Madu

Recently, the increase of student-teacher interaction with digital technology in the classroom has been recognized. Everyday, new technological advances are introduced into the education sector that makes it plausible for more technology to be deployed to the classroom.

As a result of the foregoing, Mr. Christian Anozie, an information and digital technology expert said he believes that today; there is need for education to change to account for the ways in which advent of digital technology affects young people.

He enumerated the immense gains in deploying digital technology in classroom environment. “Digital technology is everywhere now. It has become entwined in almost every sphere of human life”, he said. “It affects how we live, how we work and play, and most importantly, how we learn. With diverse mobile and other wireless devices becoming an increasing requirement across every industry today, it only makes sense that schools in this clime deploy mobile technology in the classrooms.”

He re-emphasized the need for education modal to change, insisting that digital technology has become an embodiment of Nigeria’s education system, students would be encouraged to think-out-side of the box. He added that it will also create more imaginative students who will be able to use technologies to multitask.

Also, commenting on why schools must embrace digital technology, a doctoral student at the University of Port Harcourt, Mrs. Pauline Iheagwam, declared that in today’s world, any school still debating how technology can benefit its students, teachers and administrators is missing unquantifiable opportunities.

She stated that computer knowledge helps students to be more responsible. She spoke on why every student should own a personal device. She indicated that schools ought to avail pupils with devices.

According to her, “this gives students the opportunity be creative, be masters of their own art and improve their decision making skills. This needs to be complemented by proper digital citizenship training in order to achieve the best results,” she added.

A school proprietress, Mrs. Ngozi Azubogu stated that digital technology has transformed the whole world of learning experience. She was of the view that as early as in primary school, pupils should be introduced to computer basics. She maintained that introducing pupils and students early to digital technology would help make them masters in computer skills when they most need it.

Through the aid of technology, she said, students now have access to an incredible amount of new opportunities: “From learning how to cope to better collaboration across teams and instructors.” She noted that technology empowers students to be more creative and be more connected, adding that, “new tech has super-charged how we learn today.”

Iheagwam did not differ on early introduction of students to digital technology. Giving insight on how instructors, educators can help students derive maximal benefits of integrating computer knowledge into their studies, she recommends online tutors to work with students one-on-one via audio chat and a shared computer screen. It implies that students can interject questions to request clarification, or ask for more in-depth coverage of most of all relevant topics.

The doctoral student who is also a teacher in River State said teachers and instructors must prepare students for a future in which technology is a major part of their lives.

“I recommend providing multiple means of engagement to tap into their interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation.”

But, on his part, Anozie’s view on early introduction of students to digital technology is divergent. He holds that children should be introduced to computer-based education from the age of 10 or 11 years. That is, upon admission into post primary school. “In post primary, the basics to computer would be established in education. This will build confidence to be able to explore.”

He explained that “the ages of 10 or 11 are about the time a child’s centres and formative ability is developed and can explore and show their intuitive and creative part. The computer will always help create in them, that intuitive part. In the 80s, from JSS 1 was when they were introduced to introductory technology. Now, at that same point, that is, JSS 1, we have to jettison that and introduce them to computer studies.”

Anozie who is an ICT (Information, Communication and Telecommunication) expert and online instructor gave reason why he does not support introduction of computer studies at primary level of education. “I think it will be too much over laboring or overburdening pupils that early. That’s why I say, the basics about primary education should be about values, curriculum, understanding, morals and ethics of life. You can then implant what you want to implant at the post primary era and inculcate more values of life.”

Anozie who runs Employ Me Learning Centre where he introduces people, especially, students to ICT disclosed that there still abounds, persons even as old as 40 years of age that in their whole life, have not had initial contact with a computer.

The IT expert revealed that his outfit targets to equip and empower more than 2,000,000 Nigerians with e-based education before the year 2022. He said his organization has been achieving this objective by offering candidates lessons in basic computer studies, digital marketing, web design, graphics design, adobe reader and data analysis, as well as on computer-based examinations.

“These are key learning technologies that come handy in the present world of ours. At Employ Me Learning Centre, we empower people with computer-based education and information. In that way, enable them to achieve much more than they desire or think they can achieve,” he stated.

He indicated that the introduction of computer-based examinations by an exam body like the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) speaks volume on the need for students to embrace digital technology. However, he maintained that now, the focus is on facing headlong, the challenges of computer-based examinations in a non-computer literate society.

He commented on the challenges and on JAMB’s introduction of computer-based exams, pointing out that the examination body initiated and established its computer-based exams in isolation of other stakeholders. “And that is why it’s affecting their standard. And they will keep lowering; that’s the truth. Now, what JAMB has done is to lower standards, then, shift admission standards back to individual universities.

“With regard to JAMB’s 120 minimum benchmark, some schools went as high as 180. There has been huge outcry from stakeholders that it was too low a standard. Most of the students that participated in last year’s UTME never had the opportunity to learn CBT-based education.

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