My Quest To Teach

October 6, 2017

Writing and Storytelling for Africans

Africa

Writing and Storytelling for Africans
by William Jackson, M.Ed. @wmjackson Twitter
Speaker at WordCamp DC, WordCamp Jacksonville,
WordCamp Wilmington N.C.

“Writers have to recognize the works of the artist and
those of the activist. Creating content is more than just
throwing words, video, pictures on a digital sheet of
paper. There is serious intellectual thought during the
writing process. Sometimes writing will be in a zone of
creativity and innovation to create new content that has
an intended outcome, but sometimes the outcomes are
unknown.” William Jackson
Professor Soyinka “Just sit down and write….” as he has
stated to the growing African writers across the continent.
The ability of a blogger / writer to write also means that
they have a responsibility to tell the story of those that
cannot write, those that are silent and have no voice.
Digital content is powerful and enabling to bring recog-
nition, attention and urgency to civic issues that need
to be addressed.
The growth of the blogger / writer is composed of periods
of growth, reconciliation, enlightenment and a civic
responsibility to write / blog not just for oneself, but for
those that do not have a voice and will not be heard.
The ability to share a story comes from the ability to listen
and apply knowledge from a person’s experiences,
interactions, goals for growth and even how mistakes are
made and learned from.
The diversity of culture influences a writer’s ability to
“touch” the people they are writing to or writing for.
When past writers applied their skills they shared stories
that could be connected to real life, to the experiences
that many knew they could connect to.
The diversity of African bloggers represents the diversity of
a continent that influences not just the global weather, but
has digital extensions that influence business, commerce,
entrepreneurial spirits of the dreamers, creators and
innovators that have ideas to change the world around them.
Africa is in a constant state of flux economically, educationally,
culturally and the future is unknown, but it is becoming
brighter and brighter a business and entrepreneurial
opportunities become available.
Writers like author and Professor Wole Soyinka who are
involved in civic issues, governmental policies and the
educational growth of youth, teens and adults. He
is of the past, but there are modern writers waiting
to be read.
The African continent has birthed intellectual and
intelligent writers that have embraced and applied
digital platforms to awaken and encourage others in
the African diaspora to spread their digital wings and
write. The storytellers of the past have grown and adapted
to the Bloggers, Vbloggers, Podcasters, Facebook Live
and Instagram Live visionaries building, creating, designing
and posting content that influences thought not just
emotions.
Stated by Soyinka, “when Africans learn the power they
have in their hands in writing, they can influence their
communities and make important and needed changes
because they will have a voice that others can hear and
follow.”
Writing is a grassroots process that builds knowledge in
Africans of all ages and can influence generations. The
educational process is key because as can be seen in Africa
it is dangerous to allow your colonizers to educate your
children. Their goals are not the goals of those being
oppressed. The goal of the oppressor is the keep the
oppressed ignorant. So that their resources can be drained
dry before the oppressed realize what is happening
to their lands, to their people and their very existence.
Stated by Prof. William Jackson of My Quest to Teach
“If we (Blacks) are not speaking for ourselves or writing
for ourselves, someone else is going to describe who we
are, where we came from and ultimately where we are going.”
This creates identity problems because those that are doing
the writing are not looking through the eyes of those being
written about. The people are not seen as people they are
seen as little things with no value, as Chinua Achebe states,
“as funny things.”
Too many stories are wrong in their direction to offer solutions
to issues that Africans are experiencing. Africans must be able
to tell their own stories because there is a story to tell…..
“Your pen has to be on fire.” Chinua Achebe
Resources:
How many people use social media in Africa?
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/13/africa/africa-social-media-consumption/
BBC Africa
https://www.youtube.com/user/bbcafrica
10 Best African Speakers
https://www.africa.com/ted-global-2017-meet-the-10-africans-on-the-list-of-speakers/

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September 11, 2017

STEM and its Influence in Africa Students

STEM and its Influence in Africa Students
by William Jackson STEM/STEAM Advocate
Twitter @wmjackson
As more students become interested in dynamic careers that
require skills that apply Science Technology Engineering
and Math African nations have begun to accept the growing
STEM educational opportunities that men and women are
providing in their respective nations. STEM and STEAM
are applied educational initiatives that have a foundation
in the scientific models, but integrate hands-on learning,
team work, building leadership skills and incorporate
higher order and critical thinking skills.

Africa rich in natural resources is increasing its STEM and
STEAM opportunities to increase generational opportunities
to contribute to the growth in economics, commerce, education
and global trade that will benefit and increase Africa’s
influence globally. Africa can not continue to rely on foreign
investments only that place it deeper and deeper in debt to
others that in many cases still do not respect the African
citizen and their generational place in building Africa,
their homeland.

The more African’s are involved in STEM and STEAM the more
they can assure they will have a stake in how their nations
and continent are growing and influential in the diverse
markets and even foreign investments by outside nations.
“I believe more women should be in STEM roles because
of the message it sends to younger girls. Some of the
girls think they can’t because they haven’t really
seen a lot of women who do the jobs they want to do.”
Leticia Oppong shares her journey from being an intern
to a field engineer at GE Africa.
Statements made by Leticia Oppong ring a new bell of change
for girls that in the past have not been included in
the educational engagement and empowerment of STEM
that requires hands-on learning, experimentation and even
mentors. There are growing numbers of African women
that are role models and mentors ready to share their
knowledge and experiences to build future “Agents of STEM.”

Developing the necessary critical and higher order thinking
skills that are applied to problem solving and even complex
thinking in the development of new ways to harness
natural sources of energy and exploration in new areas
of engineering and tech that are needed
to forge Africa as a global influencer.

The growing news reports in Africa.com and other media are
showing that STEM and STEAM are being celebrated to inspire
boys and girls that they can be whatever they dream. The
resources and people are available to help them move from
dreams to reality to the implementation of their developing
skills and talents.

There are Nigerian robotics entrepreneurs who are founding
new robotic companies like Surrogate Robotics Nigeria.
“I thought if you start when you’re really young to find
models to solve real world problems using robotics and
artificial intelligence, when you get older you’ll have
that confidence to approach problem solving.”
Christian Chime – Surrogate Robotics Nigeria
http://skillsdevelopment.africa.com/robots-giving-head-start-on-stem/

The key parts of STEM and STEAM are solving real world
problems that help to build the continent and build the
confidence of rising youth, teens and young adults who
are excited about the ability to create change.

The building of critical thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs,
and inventors in Africa will build the continent’s economic
structure to engage more individuals that have the
knowledge and understanding to attack the challenges that
have plagued Africa and meet future challenges.
African higher educational institutions now see their
responsibilities in building new generation of STEM innovators.
Educational institutions are being held accountable in adapting
their instruction to address the need for students to be
prepared as future STEM advocates and leaders.

Even in countries like Somalia the rise of innovation hubs
https://qz.com/1071505/
irise-hub-the-first-innovation-hub-in-somalia-has-opened-in-mogadishu/
making digital waves across a country devastated by wars and
poverty. Integrating the #SomaliaRising hashtag to show the
growth of collaboration and connections.
Founder Abdihakim Ainte, “iRise,” states, “there’s an increased
need for these kinds of spaces in order to realize the full
potential of Somalia’s technology sector.”
The vision is bright for the growth of technology and the
building of hubs that encourage and support new ways of
applying, integrating, creating and building an avenue
that supports innovation.

One of the dynamic aspects of tech integration is cell phone
technology that allows for communication and access to global
resources. This is allowing young entrepreneurs to share their
knowledge and build connections that encourage the creation
of new companies and business initiatives.

STEM, STEAM, STREAM, STEMsquared and other related initiatives
are empowering, Africans with the platforms and tools needed
to make their dreams realities and to be the future employers
that create wealth and economic, educational and generational
progress and stability.

Resources:
Somalia just unveiled its first tech innovation hub
by Abdi Latif Dahir
September 07, 2017 Quartz africa
Twitter: @qzafrica

Robots are Giving Nigerian Children a Head-Start on STEM
http://skillsdevelopment.africa.com/robots-giving-head-start-on-stem/

NGOs Focusing on STEM Skills Development in Africa
http://skillsdevelopment.africa.com/ngos-focusing-on-stem-skills/

WAAW Foundation
Working to Advance African Women (WAAW)
Lagos-headquartered company inspires African women to be innovators.

Her2Voice
Her2Voice was founded in 2013 by six Rwandan women who share the
same vision of fighting for gender equality and inspiring girls.

@iLabAfrica
Located at Kenya’s Strathmore University, @iLabAfrica
Research and incubation facility that promotes technological
innovation and supports entrepreneurship programmes.

The Visiola Foundation
Mentors young girls and women in the STEM fields to create a
generation of leaders who will help transform African economies.

GirlHype
Girlhype has reached more than ten thousand girls and
introduced them to opportunities in computing and engineering.

JJiguene Tech Hub
Established in 2007 with the aSenegal’s first technology hub
run by and for women. Jjiguene means “woman” in Wolof, the
most widely spoken language in the country.
Addressing the shortage of ICT skills in Ghana.

March 15, 2017

Bring EdCamp To Africa To Build Collaboration and Connectedness

HOME

Bring EdCamps To Africa To Build Collaboration and Connectedness
by Professor William Jackson – Edward Waters College

Kiswahili [another term for Swahili] the proverb
“Asiyefunzwa na mamae hufunzwa na ulimwengu,” shares
the responsibility of the community (village), or town or city
to raise/educate children.
The exposure to educational strategies, concepts, best practices
and the application of diverse technologies can sometimes
seem challenging when the infrastructure is  still being built.
Collaboration with educators is challenged when the basic
tools are not in place or accessible and teachers with years
of experience are not able to collaborate or connect with
new or pre-service teachers still attending college and
university. Bring in the EdCamp!!!!

chinua-achege-2

Chinua Achebe,
“When I began going to school and learned to read,
I encountered stories of other people and other lands.”
When young people decide to make education a career they
should be celebrated and  importantly supported because the
road to a “master teacher” is difficult and the learning curve is
at times steep. To many people are criticized for going into
teaching especially men. People do not respect the calling of
an educator or the responsibility of administrators that manage
personalities, egos, genders and even generations, that is just
the students.
Diversity in education builds strength in skills and abilities
because this can be applied to the growing student population in
schools that are diverse and constantly changing. How do you
address literacy skills if 1/3 of the students are ESOL and 1/3
may be hearing impaired or 1/3 visually challenged and 1/3 are
gifted. The classroom teacher must address each student
individually and align instruction with their abilities to be
academically successful.
It is common knowledge that schools are a microcosm of
their communities, and African teachers understand their
challenges are unique in their classrooms because of the
lack of resources.

Chinua Achebe (Nigerian Writer)
“A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy
educated, participatory follower-ship, and an educated, morally
grounded leadership.”
EdCamp provides a format in education for teachers, administrators,
support staff to come together and share in a collaborative
environment how to improve the educational culture and atmosphere
of schools. The physical infrastructure is important, but if you do not
have teachers that are passionate, engaging, creative and innovative
in applying academic intellect so students can see what they are
working towards, having stuff will not help. Instruction must
correspond with application to meet the needs of students.
“Learning must be relevant and real.”
Professor William Jackson, M.Ed.

The instruction and the instructional materials rests with the
teacher that is the leader, role model, mentor and guide to academic
direction. Teachers as they learn their students can apply the best
tool to the student(s) for the best results.
Even pre-service and new teachers can benefit because of the exposure
to those with experiences applying best practices and building a
PLN Professional Learning Network to share and support.
In this world of political lobbyists that do not understand how children
learn, the influence of community, poverty, generational influences
and teacher training;  EdCamp is not influenced by political affiliations,
special interests groups, lobbyists or the infection of governmental
policies.
The exchanges are by teachers that respect their peers and can relate
and understand the challenges of teaching and educating youth, teens
and young adults.
The teacher exchanges of ideas, resources and developing practices is
able to make trans-formative changes in the culture and learning of
the classroom faster than politicians changing policy that is filtered,
modified and changed to meet the needs of a political promise or
vision that is not in-line with actual learning.
Teachers and administrators understand that classrooms are global
environments of cultures, ideas, lifestyles and the socio-economic
conditions of students.
Education is the tool to take them beyond their current position to
move them upward. The family in most cases is part of the process
of education and because of this, family histories do matter. The
history of African education has been one of colonial influences
and even re-defining the learning objectives for students. Change
by African educators is finding appropriate resources not to just
satisfy a political mission, but prepare African children to be the
smart creatives and innovators Africa needs.

Chinua Achebe affirms the educational function of literature
and establishes a human context for understanding modern
African history.
http://faculty.atu.edu/cbrucker/Achebe.html
In Survey of World Literature, 1992
Education serves a vital purpose in understanding where Africans
have come from and it helps direct where Africans are going in
relation to the direction of global business, commerce, technology
and finance.
EdCamp can provide the missing pieces to teacher development
that cannot be influenced by one day professional development.
The African proverb, “It takes a village to educate a child,” brings
higher value to the creation of EdCamp on the African continent.
If teachers do not prepare students to sit at the tables of
business, commerce, finance and education then students will
be left behind and out of the decision making process of building
communities and prosperity for its citizens.
As a professor teaching Educational Technology in the Education
Department and Urban Studies at Edward Waters College and
teaching 27 years in public education, professional development
and networking are important to the growth and development
of new and seasoned teachers that need seasoning.
One cannot exhist without the other.
Kijita (Wajita) “Omwana ni wa bhone,” meaning regardless of a
child’s biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to
the community.

EdCamp and WordCamp in Africa

EdCamp and Why Teachers Should Care
http://www.hypeorlando.com/my-quest-swag/2016/02/04/edcamp-and-why-teachers-should-care/

EdCamps
http://www.edtechupdate.com/edcamps/

WordCamp
https://central.wordcamp.org/

EdCamp Accra
https://sites.google.com/a/lincoln.edu.gh/edcamp15/home

EdCamps
Putnam County March 25, 2017
http://edcampputnam.weebly.com/home/edcamp-putnam

Branford April 22, 2017
http://edcampbranford.weebly.com/

Volusia April 8th
http://edcampvolusia.weebly.com/

WordCamp Jacksonville 2017
https://2017.jacksonville.wordcamp.org/speak/

Past EdCamps in Florida from 2015 to Present

 

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