A ground breaking innovation from Ghana is now making it possible and exciting for pre-tertiary learners and teachers to continue teaching and learning even as schools close down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtualskuul.com; a web-based application was developed by two Ghanaians; Michael Ocansey and John Akwasi Amponsah.
The application enables learners from Kindergarten to Senior High Schools to access and learn with technology improved curriculum content. It is preloaded with lessons, books, assessment quizzes, past questions and other interesting features and is able to assess and grade the pupil or student without a teacher.
In an interview with Daily Graphic, John Akwasi Amponsah co-founder and operational Director of virtualskuul.com said since the outbreak of the dreaded pandemic, doctors, scientists and designers have been working on ideas to either stop the spread of the virus or mitigate its disruption effects on critical sectors of the economy.
However, he added “one of the most sensitive issues that keep bothering parents and teachers in the face of Covid-19 remain the issue of school closures. “While doctors and scientist are doing their part in the fight against Covid-19, Mike and I feel we should bring our knowledge and experience in teaching and learning plus our unique coding abilities to complement the efforts of the Ministry of Education and Ghana government in mitigating the disruption of Covid-19 on education especially for learners and facilitators in pre-tertiary schools,” John Akwasi Amponsah added.
For over a period of 8 years, John Akwasi Amponsah and Michael K. Ocansey had abandoned a project which sought to make teaching and learning in Ghana available online to be accessed anytime, anywhere. Asked why they revisited the abandoned project, this is what Michael K. Ocansey founder and second Director of virtualskuul.com says,
“We were particularly touched by the overwhelming number of school children across the world who are staying at home and feared its implications on the social life and academic success of learners in pre-tertiary schools across the globe in general and Ghana in particular. This is actually why Amponsah and I came together to innovate virtualskuul because we saw ourselves of having exceptional abilities in teaching and coding using different technologies.”
Features and benefits of virtualsuul.com app
The www.virtualskuul.com solution promises to effectively help mitigate the effect of the corona virus particularly on education as it gives both not only teachers and learners from Kindergarten to Senior High Schools the opportunity to:
- learn and revise with curriculum specific and culturally relevant learning resources in different formats: videos, notes, quizzes;
- Revise every lesson taught virtually with varied quizzes and get marked and graded independent of a teacher;
- Take part in virtual mocks while preparing for both BECE/WASSCE
- Access tools for collaborating to work on projects remotely;
- Link up with teachers for exchange of knowledge and assignments;
- Prepare effectively for all forms of Examinations particularly BECE/WASSCE;
- Conduct search and learn to practice 21st century skills;
- Learn to read and write etc.
The Duo, John Akwasi Amponsah and Michael K. Ocansey will soon launch the service and make it available online. They say more relevant features will continually be added to make the application more relevant to the needs of young learners and teachers and also engage them adequately.
Currently, a great number of resources including notes, video lessons for all levels and classes, about 20 years past questions for BECE/WASSCE, digital teaching and learning aids some of which are undergoing check by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment are all being digitized and ready to hit the devices of students.
Asked how effective the system will complement efforts of the government with the introduction of a television based and radio virtual learning John Akwasi Amponsah says, “With our solution, students have no such thing as missing a class or not meeting schedule for a class because the lesson constantly remains to serve the purpose of revision and relearning. Another amazing thing about the application is that learners have the opportunity to test their knowledge with quizzes following every lesson and get marked for feedback independent of human hands. This makes the traditional way of marking objective questions less burdensome and absolutely obsolete.”
“Imagine that you can have all lesson plans and notes or lectures on your mobile or tablet device, you can learn at your own pace anywhere anytime.”
The innovation put Ghana “on the front foot” in the battle to mitigate the effect the covid-19 pandemic has on education and is set to be launched in the 1st of June.
“We hope to partner the government and the ministry of education and any other organization that shows interest in remote learning as we strive to make the services of the innovation available to everyone, anywhere. In particular, we hope to have an effective link with Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (Gifec) to agree on terms that will make it possible for learners that are less privileged to use the service.
“It shows that Ghana, as a nation in West Africa, can get things done quickly as we face the biggest challenge of our generation,” John Akwasi Amponsah said.
Feature currently in development
Both Michael and John are of the view that one area they are focusing much is to design a feature based on AI that shall grade students across the nation and even West Africa and intelligently promote them from one grade to the other after they successfully pass assessments required of them.
The duo can be reached for further enquiries on: +233 244448761 or [email protected]
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