Software Firm, Microsoft Move to Bridge Gap in Digital Learning in Nigeria

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By Sunday Okobi
A software company which specialises in educational  application technology, Dynamiss, and Microsoft have called on the Nigerian government, schools, parents and students to take advantage of the current globalisation and spread of technology  to develop the Nigerian educational system and connect it to the global digital education system.
To back up the call for digitalisation of the learning process, the company, in partnership with tech giant, Microsoft, has also unveiled the latest digital learning project known as the LP365 application for Nigerian schools to put them on the same educational platform with their counterparts  around the world, as well as serves as a dashboard for students curricula activities.
At the launch of the digital application in Lagos last week, the Country Director for Dynamiss, Mr. Lolu Elegbe, decried the little on non-availability of digital educational process in Nigeria, adding that the most disturbing situation in the Nigerian education sector is that the educational community comprising the students, teachers, schools and parents, is still far behind in terms of technology and digital knowledge.
According to him, part of the problems in promoting the educational system in Nigeria is the lack of digital learning materials, support and knowhow, “and we are still far behind other countries in terms of technology and digital knowledge; so today, all we are trying to do is to bridge that gap between where we are and where we need to be as a country from a digital point of view.
“What this application does is that it starts to teach students from a young age to university level. So, we are also making sure that the ones in the university that are about to enter the job market have that digital skill sets they need. We are also making sure that the younger ones who are digital natives, grow up seamlessly with it. We trying to make sure that they have the skill set from an early age which would see them all the way through.
Elegbe stated that as a software company, working in partnership with Microsoft to drive digital education in Nigeria, “we are selling to schools in Nigeria at a discounted rate with Microsoft support because the application is built on a Microsoft platform which transforms Word, Excel, Power Point, One Note and every other package we use in our day-to-day activities into our school virtual classroom. What Microsoft is also doing is that it is adding its imagined academy to become part of our offerings. So anybody who uses this application gets free access to the imagined academy which is Microsoft repository of all their training certification, therefore, any school, teacher, student or user that uses the application would have that access, and can take any Microsoft certification for free.”
While advising the government, teachers and parents on the project, the Dynamiss director said some people have expressed fear over the effect of children being too exposed to different content on internet at that age; however, “while I understand that that is a valid fear, I think the bigger fear is them not being exposed to the internet because the issue is that the world is moving at a very rapid pace, and a lot of these technology-driven projects are hinged on the internet.
“For example, you can’t run a successful business today without the internet presence, so you would be doing your child a disservice by not wanting them exposed to the internet. Agreed there are a lot of things cynical about the internet, but holding them back would prevent them from a lot of things they can achieve. So my advice to parents is for them not to divorce their parental responsibility from the fact that the project is technological. This should not deprive them from doing their bit to provide that guidance and protection for their children but don’t deprive them from acquiring this digital knowledge.”
On her part, the Head of Sale, Angela Oyekanmi, the LP365 which is an interactive virtual learning portal, is strongly supported by Microsoft through its partnership. “The portal is built on Microsoft,” she noted. Oyekanmi stated that Dynamiss objective is to drive digital education in Nigeria, and that Microsoft has a mandate to carry out such project. “The tech giant is supporting this project led by Dynamiss because we have the same goal to inculcate digital literacy in all the education community. We want our children to be able to compete effectively with their counterparts globally. Also, because of the negative side of the foreign exchange, we have been able to get children to a state where they can get digital learning in Nigeria, not overseas, and this is our primary goal,” she noted.
Also, Microsoft Head in Nigeria, Miss Jordan Belmounte, told journalists at the launch that the official launching of the initiative, LP365 application, into the market through the partnership with Dynamiss would help Nigerian schools understand how to get access to financing to afford the solution digitally; how to get access to affordable devices, hardware, and use then as solution to educational puzzles. “Also, as we launch this, we are helping the audience understand how this can be impactful in their environment,” she said.
While explaining how it works, Belmounte said the application is like an online dashboard for every class subjects-Mathematics, History, Government among others, where a teacher can upload series of documents including videos and audios. So instead of opening a handout or notebook, you just simply open you class dashboard which contains all the documents related to the subjects you offer. “So they can upload in real time the most current information about that subject area. It is like outdating textbook because it lacks current information on the subject area…it is a scientific class but  they can still upload materials like educative digital and video games, and make the experience very interesting  for students. The application also helps kill boredom and makes education interesting and engaging for students,” Belmounte explained.