A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft has revealed technology as an essential enabler for today’s students to acquire problem solving, communication, and knowledge construction skills which are vital 21st century skills, and future job market requirements.
The survey of educators in the Middle East and Africa conducted by YouGov, a market research firm, which was shared at the annual British Education and Training Technology (BETT) Middle East 2017 event held in Abu Dhabi, revealed that
64 percent of Nigerian teachers surveyed believed that the most essential skills needed for the future workforce are problem solving skills, 60 percent believed in skilled communication and 56 percent thought it necessary for students to have knowledge construction ,digital media literacy, data analytics and visualization skills. While 89 percent of the educators surveyed in the Middle East have a clear vision for technology implementation in the classroom.
The growing awareness of the fact that technology is the main driver of improvement and development in major industries globally and that digital and mobile technology is delivering far-reaching social and economic benefits at both global and national levels made it necessary for Microsoft to conduct such a survey on the educational sector.
In an interview with BusinessDay, Anthony Saltico, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corporation said that the world is being digitally transformed and so it has become important to prepare students for the future.
“It has become necessary to train teachers and preparing school leavers across Africa and globally. There is innovation happening in many of the countries in Africa and students need to be prepared for the wholistic transformation and to drive change with the use of technology.”
According to the survey, educators in Nigeria see themselves as highly tech-proficient and believe they should lead the transformation in the classroom. They are most interested in apps that help coordinate teaching materials. Findings revealed that 90 percent said they believe their school leaders have a clear vision of how to use technology for the classroom experience.
Over half of the educators surveyed reported that technology was used in one way or the other in their institution; and a 64 percent majority agreed that problem-solving was a key skill required by students. When addressing the absence of technology as it impacted the student body, 46 percent believed students will be disadvantaged in terms of entrepreneurship opportunities.
However, there was a concern as 54 percent educators surveyed lacked proper understanding of technology implementation and integration into the way they teach.
The study revealed that the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – in particular, knowing how to make the most of available resources and tools.
“Over several decades, Microsoft has worked with institutions and educators around the world, and gained a deep understanding of how technology in schools can transform the learning experience,” Saltico said.
“We need students and teachers to value these trainings and continue to improve with the changing world so that they can become global citizens, limited by nothing in the future. We recommend that education leaders take a curriculum-focused approach to technology adoption, keeping in mind their educational goals, and then integrate those technologies that facilitate tangible benefits for students and teachers”, he added.
According to Jordan Belmonte, Education Programs Manager, Microsoft Nigeria; “Lack of digital proficiency is the biggest challenge facing the youth, especially in the Middle East and Africa. It is crucial to take the steps for equipping educators with the right tools and provide them with trainings that will help address the technological challenges in the classroom; empowering students with 21st-cntury skills to deliver immense change.”
Obviously we can’t undermine the place of technology in education, either through learning management system or a school management system that will help improve our educational system.