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‘Thinking Big': Gambian IT Teacher Talks Moving the Classroom Online

Ousman Faal, a young computer instructor and IT professional from The Gambia, has traded the classroom for a blog.

Faal is the man behind the Faal Academy, a website that offers video lectures, presentations, and tips on various computer programs. Don't know how to create a certain effect in Adobe Photoshop? Need help making a newsletter in Microsoft Word? Faal can show you how.

After spending most of his career in the classroom, Faal now spends the majority of his time teaching online. Global Voices recently caught up with Faal and asked him about the move.

Ousman  Faal at work. Photo courtesy of Demba Kandeh.

Ousman Faal at work. Photo courtesy of Demba Kandeh.

Demba Kandeh (DK): What motivated you to blog?

Ousman Faal (OF): I have been an IT instructor in capacity building training with non-governmental organisations for several years in my career as a tutor. I have also formed a youth group called ICT Community. And I have lots of Google online platforms and blogging sites, WordPress, Webs & Blogger. I have experience in creating interactive video lectures and this greatly motivated me to blog.

DK: How long have you being blogging?

OF: Well, I have been blogging for a year now and found it amazing because it's another way of expressing myself and putting my content online and sharing them. I started with Google's blogger and Google Sites then to a fast growing CMS (Content Management System) WordPress which I found very interactive and user friendly.

DK: How has blogging changed your life?

OF: Blogging helps me to express myself and has made it possible for more and more people to see my talents. I am therefore, in a way, contributing to help more people out there now than ever before. And this makes me feel happy as a blogger.

DK: What do you hope to achieve in blogging?

OF: I am “thinking big”. I hope that blogging will change a lot in my career as an ICT practitioner.

DK: How is life as a teacher on a blog different from life as a teacher in the classroom?

OF: I always want to show my students that I am always available for them, as sometimes you teach in the class students might not actually get the exact picture of what you were trying to explain maybe because of distraction, but I believe that with a blog full of interactive content they can always view it with ease and understand more. This is a great source of satisfaction.

Below is a YouTube video of one of his tutorials:

DK: What are your success stories?

OF: After having six years in the IT field and having done so much research on information technology I really realized that I am paving myself a way to a successful career. I have successfully trained many professionals within a short period of time and that is something worth celebrating. The Internet, my second home, has offered my students a permanent reference point for interactive content.

The successful management of the following sites is also a pride for me: ICT GambiaOusFaalJollof TutorsOusman Lectures and My YouTube channel.

DK: What challenges do you face?

OF: I do not bother so much about challenges. In Africa generally and the Gambia in particular, challenges are common and they range from slow but expensive Internet connections to erratic power cuts. Yet I look forward to more challenging opportunities in the future because I believe that the future is brighter as far as technology is concern.

DK: What are your plans for the future?

OF: I have a lot in mind because I am “thinking big” every day. I would love to have my own social network in the future which will be based on real advanced technology. A social media for better and more refined teaching styles and outputs is also part of my dreams.

DK: Please share anything else you consider important.

OF: I wish to take this opportunity to call on like minded bloggers to join hands and bring about positive change in their environment. I think this is a good thing to do to put together bloggers that are willing to use their time to create an online platform for sharing information for the benefit of others.

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