Meet Richard Appiah Akoto, a teacher from Ghana, who gained international attention for teaching his students how to use Microsoft Word without a computer. Photos of him drawing very detailed screenshots of the software’s functionality on a blackboard have gone viral on social media!
It was obviously very tedious, but his innovative approach helped a lot of students and eventually caught the attention of Microsoft and other companies that decided to help provide financial and technical support to the school.
For about 8 years, Akoto has been teaching at Betenase Municipal Assembly Junior High in the small town of Sekyedomase in Ghana. In 2018, he posted some photos on Facebook of his meticulously sketched Microsoft Word window on the blackboard.
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According to Microsoft’s blog, the company was so impressed that they decided to step in to help and even invited Akoto to attend the 2018 Microsoft Educator Exchange in Singapore. It was his first time outside of Ghana and he was able to meet education leaders from around the world and share the issues with the educational system in Ghana.
“I wanted to teach them how to [use] Microsoft Word. But I had no computer to show them. I had to do my best. So, I decided to draw what the screen looks like on the blackboard with chalk,” Akoto said in an interview with Microsoft at the event, citing that he had previously also drawn monitors, system units, keyboard, etc. whenever it is needed in the lessons.
When he came back to Ghana, donations of laptops, textbooks, and software from Microsoft and other organizations for the school came pouring in. In addition, an IT laboratory where the students themselves can operate the computers was also built. More than that, Akoto underwent the Microsoft Certified Educator Programme that helped him further develop his passion for teaching.