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African Ingenuity

No Computer, No Problem. A Ghanaian Teacher Uses Blackboard And Chalk To Teach Microsoft Windows

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Viral sensation and tech hero. (Courtesy: Richard Appiah Akoto)

Richard Appiah Akoto posted photos of himself drawing the features of a Microsoft Word processing window on a blackboard with multi-colored chalk. The students in his class can also be seen drawing it into their notebooks. Social media exploded in admiration and wonder at his effort to explain how computers work—without computers.

The 33 year old  is the information and communication technology (ICT) teacher at Betenase M/A Junior High School in the town of Sekyedomase, about two and half hours drive north of Ghana’s second city, Kumasi. The school has no computers although its 14 and 15 year old students are expected to write and pass a national tech exam as a requirement for entry into high school.

On Facebook, Akoto goes by the nickname “Owura Kwadwo Hottish” which was the name that went viral on both Facebook and Twitter. His photo was seen as both a bit of ironic fun about life in Africa but also as a source of inspiration particularly for Africans in the tech community like the Cameroonian tech entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong, who tweets as @africatechie.

“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”, says Akoto, who has been a teacher at the school for six years.

The photos gained prominence after a popular Ghanaian comedian (who is also a teacher) shared it with his 140,000 Facebook fans and later picked up by international websites and tech enthusiasts on the continent one of which was Rebecca Enonchong, a Cameroonian tech influencer whose reaction resulted in response from Microsoft

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