The majority of rural dwellers in Nigeria do not have access to new information technology and are thus cut off from the global world. This creates a greater awareness of the vacuum that exists in the rural areas concerning information communication technologies and education.
In order to understand the potential that ICT may have to reach disadvantaged learners, we must first understand who these learners are. Disadvantaged learners are those learners that drop out of school or didn’t bother to make attempt to attend because of some issues like family issues, beliefs or the community in which they live in. In a comprehensive review of United States research on high school dropouts, various things cause young people to drop out of school. And the reasons are said to be are related to individual students; some are associated with the students’ families, schools, communities, and peers. Poor academic achievement is also a strong reason for dropping out.
Communities and peer groups influence students’ withdrawal from school. Poor communities have fewer resources, over and above the influence of the school and communities may influence parenting practices, beyond the direct influence of parental education and income. Students living in poor communities are more likely to have friends that are dropouts than those living in urban cities this can influence them.
And ICT can provide significant added value to these disadvantaged people if used appropriately.
How can the use of ICT reach out-of-school youth and adult learners? This can happen if ICT is used in the context of programmes that address their academic, social, and linguistic needs. ICT by itself will not make a difference. But, it can be used to supplement, support, reinforce, and arouse their interests.
Further, ICT can be used to connect learning to their real-world contexts, for example by the use of videos, students can apply skills that they have learned in reading, math, or science to solve a life-like problem as presented in an interactive video study. Finally, as more and more of the “real world” is moving online, instructors can also use the Internet to access libraries, for materials that can help in their learning, and to see different ways learning and education can benefit them. They can also watch some of their lessons online, the use of videos will motivate them.
Electronic media like radio and television are seen as sources of entertainment and often regarded as propaganda materials. Therefore, they should be made available.
The oral tradition should still be maintained and written communication should be encouraged because the majority of the rural dwellers are still illiterate. Rural dwellers show a positive response to the services of information agents or instructors from the “city” with new technology. You can allow these people to recite their folklore’s which can be recorded in CDs, audio or video and shared among themselves, it can also be played in the classroom to encourage other learners to be expressive and to convey a better understanding of what they’ve learnt.
With these learners, you’ll have to take it slow with them because they can get moody at times and adapting to new method can be a bit challenging for them. Never hesitate to answer their questions and accommodate feedback. As their tutor, be encouraging and patient, keep encouraging them for every little achievement because this is the power they need to keep them moving.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh