Guest post by Desiree Craig, 2015 fellow of Nigeria
About a year ago, I arrived in San Francisco as a 2015 TechWomen Emerging Leader (EL). Being an EL meant that over the course of four weeks, I would have the privilege of meeting with many leaders and influencers from the tech industry in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
From Autodesk to Mozilla, Instagram and Juniper Networks, the buzz and culture of San Francisco is contagious. In some ways, it reminded me of Lagos a bit. From the expensive cost of living, especially housing, to the general fast-paced feel of the city.
I returned to Lagos in November of last year with more than a fair bit of nostalgia. Being surrounded by the open, welcoming culture of the Bay Area was something I missed sorely. I wasn’t returning empty-handed, however. I was armed with new skills, resources and knowledge and with the determination to use what I had learned to improve the quality of my work back home.
A couple months ago, a big part of Silicon Valley came to us at the Co-Creation Hub, where I work. It was the first time Mark Zuckerberg visited Sub-Saharan Africa. We were just rounding up our annual summer program, where kids ages 5–18 years are introduced to computer science and programming. During his visit, Mark interacted with the kids as they showed him some of the projects they had been working on.
I work with the education team at the Hub, called re:learn. Our focus is on helping schools and students use technology in smart ways to enhance learning. As the world is becoming increasingly digital, technology will only become more intertwined with our lives. Therefore, teaching kids the skills to become digital makers, not just consumers, is key in positioning them to ensure they take advantage of the opportunities this century has to offer.
From sports to health to consumer goods, technology is a transformative tool that changes and improves the quality of our existence. Silicon Valley is at the forefront, driving technological innovation.
Having Mark visit was not just validation of the truly transformative power of technology, but also proof that thanks to technology, the world is getting increasingly smaller. With the democratization of information and education, it’s easier than ever before to create change right from where you are.
As we continue to shape the future of education in Nigeria using technology I’ll always remember August with a fond smile, knowing that I couldn’t have asked for it to end on a better note.
About the author
Desiree Craig works at the Co-Creation Hub as the lead for the education unit, re:learn. re:learn’s focus is on identifying smart ways to apply technology to enhance learning in schools. Desiree loves technology, and earned her BSc. in Computing from Plymouth University. In particular, she is interested in exploring ways technology can be leveraged to design solutions that improve the quality of everyday life. In her spare time Desiree likes volunteering for social impact causes, reading and writing fiction, as well as travelling.