Education professionals are giving top marks for the Nokia Life+ English Teacher service that was launched a few weeks ago to assist primary school teachers in Nigeria.
Through the Nokia Life+ web app on their mobile phones, primary school teachers in Nigeria can access high quality English teaching techniques, resources, activities and other materials to help them in the classroom.
The aim is that by providing teachers with Continuous Professional Development (CPD) materials, they will be better equipped to prepare Nigerian children with the vital English skills needed to make the most of their opportunities in the future.
Making the grade
Owele Godsday Uche is one primary school teacher who has been using the English Teacher service. He said having access to the materials on his mobile phone was the ‘best thing to happen’ to him has an English teacher.
Of the English Teacher content, Owele, remarked:
“I find it precise, specific and direct to the expected Learning Outcome. It removes the need for me to go over long essays to get to the point.”
Most importantly, Owele has been able to transfer this to the classroom, with the hands-on activities being particularly successful.
“The vocabulary examples are great resources and I am able to help the students understand language constructs better,” he said.
“One student even recognized the change in my classroom transactions and spoke to me on how he liked the new methods.”
Never stop learning
Both Owele and another teacher, Aisha Abubakar, spoke about the importance of having access to CPD materials, which were previously sporadic and hard to come by.
“It’s very important for me to develop and maintain my professional skills and enable me to meet the international standards, and to compete with my counterparts around the world,” said Aisha.
The English Teacher service was now a valuable ‘resource at her fingertips.’
Another factor is that while not all teachers may be fully computer-literate, the vast majority will have a mobile phone, which makes it a better and easier way for them to benefit from CPD.
In a large country where access to the Internet may not always be readily available, particularly in rural communities, mobile phones can provide an important gateway to tools and information.
Ultimately, the success of ‘English Teacher’ will be judged by the difference that it makes to the children. The early signs are that the new activities are capturing their imaginations.
George Ugwunna is a master teacher, which means he has extra administrative duties in his school. He said:
“We are noticing that the students are taking the Hands On Activities with pleasure and more gladness than before… In the Vocabulary Activities, they often see how they are able to beat their classmates in using the words and their meanings.”
George suggested that more teachers should be using the service ‘urgently.’
It was one of the first initiatives in the country to offer help to teachers using mobile technology. Nokia Life+ ‘English Teacher’ is free to subscribe to and use, although data charges may apply.
Nokia is committed to helping make education available to everyone: Nokia People & Planet Report 2012