The Initiative for Information Technology Capacity Building (i4itcb) has called for improved pedagogy among Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) tutors in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
The Non-Governmental Organization, made this emphasis at a one-day Academia’s and Technology Seminar for STEM lecturers held at Universal Hotel, Indepedence Layout, Enugu. The one-day programme which had 72 Lecturers from 18 tertiary institutions in attendance was in collaboration with the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Oracle Academy which demonstrated educational curriculum resources to aid the educators impart their students.
Speaking at the seminar themed: Teaching for Industry Relevant STEM Skills, Prof. Hettie Abimbola Soriyan, Lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, said that STEM teachers need a change in their mindset to be able to win-back students to the classrooms.
“We are working with a generation that does not show as much interest in class room lectures as its was in times gone by, because their interest in technology, especially social media has increased in leaps, almost as a disadvantage.”Prof. Hettie Abimbola Soriyan, Lecturer, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
“Lecturers need to leave our comfort zones to train ourselves to use that technology to reach out to the students. Engage the students; give them some things to think about, analyse and present their thoughts,” Professor Soruyan said.
“If teachers transpose skills learnt from the exercise into system development analysis, it is clear, more work is required on the part of the Lecturers. I recommend that programs like this should be spread over two to three days; as there are still lots to discuss about how to win-back the students.”
Prof. Soriyan, emphasised need to transform the same technology students are using to their advantages.
“When you want to give assignment link it to social media and recent topics. They like watching videos like cartoons. Let’s test them based on those areas. We have to appreciate the fact that their’s is a generation that is tech-savvy only for use and consumption and are not interested in developing technology parse. So, teachers need to change the dynamics,” she added.
Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Engineer Iyiola Ayoola, said that from the theme it is obvious that participants have been exposed to the need to teach computer science or IT courses in the relevant way; that is, to galvanize the economy into fourth industrial revolution.
“When we refer to the fourth industrial revolution, it implies that IT has penetrated every facet of human endeavour. As a result, we are seeing technological disruptions today.”Engineer Iyiola Ayoola, Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Computer Society
“So, we are talking about lecturers and teachers of Computer Science courses; they should be able to stay ahead of the class and the result is graduates who are ready to conquer in this technological dispensation. We have many IT courses now in Big Data, Robotics, Mobile Internet, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Virtual Reality; these are disruptions in the IT industry that should be taught with the relevant tools and revamped curriculum.”
During her presentation, the Country Programs Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oracle Academy, Sefunmi Fadahunsi, reiterated the global IT giant’s determination to impact next generation of professionals through free educational resources around STEM that teachers and schools can leverage on to deliver quality teaching and learning experience.
“It means that students need to be engaged practically to be able to learn STEM so that they can have skills relevant in the industry. All the resources Oracle Academy has for them is free.”Sefunmi Fadahunsi Country Programs Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oracle Academy
“The resources are industry relevant. In other words, what the students will learn through Oracle Academy is the same as our customers are subscribing to, to drive their businesses; Java, Database, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning resources, curriculum and software resources – all free for both the teachers and the students.
“That is what we have brought to the South Eastern States and we hope to continue working with them for the advancement of Computer Science Education”.
Meanwhile, the Founder, Initiative for Information Technology Capacity Building, i4itcb, Dele Bayo-Osibo, explained the rationale behind the seminar.
“What informed our coming to the South East is that, we have a vision to improve the footprints of Information Technology professionals in the polity. What we have decided to do is to move from region to region and carry out this impartation of knowledge.Dele Bayo-Osibo, Founder, Initiative for Information Technology Capacity Building, i4itcb
“The Idea is that we will, overtime, close the gap between the industry and the academia. We believe in moving from ‘Knowledge to Impact’; which is our slogan. And as such, we want to impart knowledge in the academia because we believe they are critical stakeholders in this move to improve IT technicians, professionals in the polity,” Bayo-Osibo said.
Highpoint of the seminar was a debate on the positive and negative impacts of Artificial intelligence in human society with two lecturers emerging winners; and took home new laptop each presented by i4itcb.
Assessing the debaters, the Chief Customer Architect, ECEMA, Oracle Africa, Dr. Olufemi Oyenuga, said: “I can feel the energy among the Teachers in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The energy is really positive. There is also the DNA of South Eastern part of Nigeria wanting to learn. I have never seen quite an astonishing debate on AI as these University professors and doctors did. They actually connected the knowledge, application and future of AI to some basic things about our life and culture.
“I think the convener of the programme has done a fantastic job because she had planted a seed, let’s watch out it grows and bears much fruits.”
“Secondly, I think it is going to connect and open up tributes of knowledge on fourth industrial revolution in Nigeria looking at things like 5G, AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, as the fulcrum to the next technological advancement we are in; not necessarily looking at the entire gambit rather taking it in bits.
“So, the learning methodology must change for a transmission and transformation of knowledge into fourth industrial revolution”.
Expressing agreement, Mayowa Ajiboye of TechX Innovation Hub located in Enugu State, said:
“I believe that there should be synergy between the universities and technology innovation hubs in the South East, because universities possess the brain-power for innovation. But I noticed that over the years, it has never been so with regards this part of the country. That is why hubs are springing up.
“Nevertheless, the bulk of the ideas are still in the universities, so they need to synergise with all the hubs around as fast as possible to translate the energy and ideas into valuable products. With the hubs, they can easily get their models very correctly”.
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