During my usual online reading, I happened to came across a news where a student from Lagos became one of the winners of a contest organized by Microsoft. The contest asked young people from around the world to submit an idea to address a social issue through technology in their communities.
Today’s Nigerian youth represents the first generations to grow up with the new technology. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by technology and using computers, dwelling on Facebook, Instagramming and tweeting their college schedules. Playing video games, listening to digital music players, recording through video cameras, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age.
Thus making our new generation, ‘digital natives’, who have had an increased exposure to technology, which has changed the way they interact and respond to digital devices. Digital Natives are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards.
Saviour Okusenogu, 17, from Lagos, became one of this year’s grand prize winners at the 2015 Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change. He wants to develop a project to spark an interest in science and engineering for kids in developing countries.
He plans to bring fun and interactive science experiments and other projects to secondary schools with hope that they will get kids far more excited than the abstract, conceptual ways many kids learn about those topics.
In order to meet the unique learning needs of digital natives, teachers need to move away from traditional teaching methods that are disconnected with the way students learn today.
Recently conducted World Economic Forum on Africa in Capetown 2015 (WEF) highlighted an urgent need of a Gamification and a Mobile technology school for these digital natives.
The World Economic Forum on Africa 2015 worked under the theme ‘Then and Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future’. It highlighted that having skills to capture emerging opportunities was important. Though the focus has always been on gross unemployment. Our country needs to move with times. There are many more like Saviour who have brilliant ideas that can change the way the world sees our country.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum says, by 2040, 50% of the world’s youth population will be African. Already, Africa needs to create 18 million jobs each year just to absorb its current levels of job seekers. Africa’s challenge is to create conditions that encourage entrepreneurship so this gap can be closed and young people can shape their own future.
We have to create opportunities and amenities like these with the help of technology that enhances the way our youth learns. We need to empower our youth with the right skills and networks so that they can work according to their true potential.