But one Ghanaian teacher's innovative method of teaching his students Microsoft Word without having access to computers went viral — and even caught the attention of Microsoft.
It all started when Richard Appiah Akoto, who goes by the nickname Owura Kwadwo Hottish on social media, shared a photo set to Facebook of him teaching his information and communication (ICT) class at Betenase M/A Junior High School in Sekyedomase, Ghana. "Teaching of ICT in Ghana's school is very funny," he wrote. "I love [my] students so have to do [what] will make them understand [what I'm] teaching."
Viewers of the post immediately noticed that Akoto had drawn an intricately detailed diagram of the word processing program's interface on the on the chalkboard. That's because the school has no computers, despite a requirement that students must pass an exam that includes ICT in order to progress to high school. (As Quartz notes, Akota owns a personal laptop, but students are tested on their knowledge of desktops.)
"This is not my first time [of drawing] it. I have been doing it anytime I am in the classroom…I like posting pictures on Facebook so I just felt like [sharing it]. I didn't know it would get the attention of people like that," Akoto told Quartz.
Cameroonian tech entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong saw the post and took action. Seeing his creative way of teaching students Word, she tweeted to Microsoft Africa, writing, "Hey [Microsoft Africa], he's teaching MS Word on a blackboard. Surely you can get him some proper resources." Amazing, the tech giant responded to her request and promised to help Akoto in his endeavors.
"We will equip Owura Kwadwo with a device from one of our partners, and access to our MCE program & free professional development resources on education.microsoft.com," the company replied.
Since the post has gone viral, Akoto has been praised for his efforts in spite of the lack of resources he faces. And while the gesture from Microsoft Africa is a generous one, it's just the beginning of what's needed to aid Akoto, with the teacher telling Quartz that he would need "about 50 computers" for his classes to fulfill their promise.