There’s one important reason for education, that’s to build individuals for tomorrow. This in turn improves the social, economic and political of a Nation. However, the current state of Nigerian education is not effectively producing “built” individuals. As President Muhammadu Buhari stated,
“With an estimated 13.2 million children out of school, high illiteracy level, infrastructural deficit and decay, unqualified teachers, and inadequate instructional materials, to mention some of the challenges, we can clearly see the effect of decades of neglect that the education sector has suffered”.
How Ed-tech Helps: Education technology (or edtech) is any technology that supports education. This ranges from learning tools and devices used in the classroom, to apps and software used by teachers and even schools - think school management systems, computer based tests, online learning management systems and so on and so forth.
In developing countries, technology can help to improve the quality and access to education in several ways.Edtech does not replace the work of passionate teachers but can be used as a powerful tool to complement traditional teaching and administrative methods - creating better processes and outcomes for everyone involved.For example, Tech companies like FlexiSAF are creating online learning environments with academic content for all classes based on the Nigerian curriculum. This is effective because students learn better using engaging teaching resources as opposed to boring/outdated classroom materials. Additionally, all students assimilate differently and it is beneficial to have access to learning materials in text, audio and video format which suit all different learning styles.Nigerian teachers now understand the use of mobile devices to gather more knowledge to support classroom teaching and learning is made more effective by introducing students to mobile classroom devices. With internet access and close supervision, they can be taught smart ways to search online for academic videos, articles and publications to augment what they are being taught in class. Since students are wittingly dedicated to using mobile devices, this is a great way to harness their interests.Another reason why edtech is important in Nigeria is that students more than ever need to be equipped with appropriate technology and STEM skills. Teaching kids practical ways to use technology is essentially building up their creative thinking and problem solving skills for the modern world. Creating unconventional video assignments, exploring space or history using virtual reality as provided by Google Expedition and the use of mobile games and apps to help solve math problems or learn a new language are all forms of edtech that contribute to unlocking kids’/students’ potential and creativity. This is crucial in raising the standard of education in Nigeria.Besides classroom technology, Edtech in Nigeria is being used in other pertinent ways - such as data and records management. Equipping educators with better tools to manage data is empowering not only for effective organisation but for informed and capable decision making as well. Not to mention the savings in resources and time that comes with using information management systems like SAFSMS - improving the jobs of teachers and educators and frees time for them to actually focus on their work in the classroom and career improvement.Education technology has other benefits as well - Computer based tests have been demonstrated to curb exam malpractice and prove to have long term financial benefits - which is great for cost saving initiatives. Online result checkers are now being used more widely to check results of major examinations and most schools have introduced portals for parents as a great way to keep them involved in their children's education.Although it may be expensive to set up initially and require some infrastructure and training to operate, the benefits of education technology far outweigh the associated costs and could very well be the answer to Nigeria's educational needs.What else do you think could be the role of education technology in Nigeria? Comments are welcome!