THE Fourth West Africa Digital Reading Summit has ended in Accra with a commitment from participants to preach the gospel of digital reading not only to students, but also to those outside the classroom.That, indeed, was the focus of the summit, which placed emphasis on the power of the mobile phone for education.
Focus of summit
The two-day conference was on the theme, “The power of digital reading in learning: How communities are harnessing mobile technology and digital reading to promote continuous learning.”
The conference, which brought together publishers, educationists and teachers from Ghana and six other West African countries, highlighted the importance of reading on mobile phones and encouraged teachers to see it as a tool and also to promote reading outside of the classroom.
The summit, which was convened by the Worldreader, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in San Francisco in the United States, looked at building a digital reading movement that would give more children and families the opportunity to become readers.
The participants were taken through topics such as, “The future of mobile in learning”; “Technology in the classroom and community reading initiative”; “Integrating technology in the classroom”; and the “Power of data in understanding mobile users”.
Inception of Worldreader
Since 2010 when the organisation was established, over six million people across 52 countries have read from a digital library of over 40,000 local and international e-books on the Worldreader platform.
The organisation works with device manufacturers, local and international publishers, government agencies, education officials and local communities to support readers everywhere.
Worldreader in Ghana
In Ghana, the organisation works in 61 schools and seven community libraries and has impacted the lives of over 17,400 active readers by providing free of charge, 6,849 devices delivering over one million books.
The organisation works with over 25 local publishers in the country and has so far digitised over 405 Ghanaian books in six languages, including English, Akuapem-Twi, Ewe, Fante and Ga.
Addressing the closing session of the summit, the Worldreader Ambassador and ace musician Okyeame Kwame noted that digital reading was the order of the day, saying: “Now everybody is on the tablet.
“When you put information in the book, people find it cumbersome, but when you put the same information on the tablet, people will read it. So information on the tab is much more appealing than information in the book,” he stated.
Using his life experience to drum home the need to encourage the young ones to read, Okyeame Kwame recalled how he performed poorly during his ‘O’ Level examinations but, through the encouragement of his father, he developed the habit of reading, which helped him to become who he is today.
He, therefore, encouraged parents not to be quick to condemn their children who did not perform well in school, but devise ways to entice them to read, since that would help improve their academic performance.
“Let us encourage our young ones to read because through reading, we can change the world because ignorance is one of the problems in the world,” Okyeame Kwame, popularly referred to as the “Rap Doctor”, told the Daily Graphic after the closing session.
Known for his stage craft and ability to pull large crowds, especially the youth, Okyeame Kwame’s responsibility is to use his artistic appeal to bring more youth, children and adults, as well as lovers of music and performance together to be part of the digital reading movement.