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Many TechSpot readers are experts in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and its many subdivisions. Some may even be educators in computer science. But I wonder, how many of us (myself included) could teach computer courses to a classroom full of middle school students without having access to a PC?
That is exactly what 33-year-old ICT teacher Owura Kwadwo Hottish has been doing at M/A Junior High School in Kumasi, Ghana, for the last six years. He does not just instruct the students about computers (what they are, how they work, etc.), he shows and teaches them how to use a PC without having one himself.
Instead, Hottish's low-tech (no-tech) approach involves a blackboard and some colored chalk. Every day, he makes painstakingly accurate drawings of desktops, windows and icons to illustrate how to use various computer programs like Microsoft Word (pictured below).
Hottish’s efforts were thrust into the spotlight when one of his Facebook posts featuring pictures of the drawings went viral a couple weeks ago. People were amazed at his attention to detail. “How many days did it take you to draw that?” one person asked in the comments.
Hottish uses different colored chalk to depict tabs and icons as well as descriptions of various components of a software window. One would think the illustrations take days to put up on the board but Hottish says he only spends about 30 minutes before each class drawing them. In fact, the young teacher sees it as “no big deal.”
“Every subject is taught on the blackboard here,” he told NPR in an interview. “I studied art and graphic design in secondary school [so it's not that hard].”
He relates that his students can apply what he teaches when faced with an actual computer but not without some difficulty.
“They sometimes fumble behind the real computers,” he said. That area of Ghana is poor and rural which makes access to an actual computer virtually non-existent.
You would think that his dedication to his students would have generated some offers from philanthropists willing to provide the school with computers. Thus far, however, nobody has offered to help.
“We are praying that they [meaning any generous sponsor] are able to organize themselves and present us with computers,” Hottish said.
Surely it would be little more than a trifle for someone like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook or Elon Musk to pull some strings and get a whole fleet of computers to the school. Perhaps a little more public exposure (and pressure) can spur one of our wealthiest to step up to the plate and give a deserving teacher and his students something they could really use.