All posts by Kobus van Wyk

The Oxford English Dictionary is 90 years old

Contributed by the Oxford English Dictionary team.

Be part of our celebrations, starting with a new word appeal: ‘Words Where You Are’

Over the next twelve months, we will be marking the Oxford English Dictionary’s 90th birthday with a host of exciting initiatives.  A wealth of information celebrating the past, present, and future of one of the largest dictionaries in the world can be found at our OED90 website.

Oxford English Dictionary word appeal – Words Where You Are

For state capture, tenderpreneur and expropriation without compensation to pop up in conversation, you probably need to have frequented the South African political landscape of the recent past. South Africa’s rich cultural diversity has, however, birthed a long history of amalgamations and borrowed words from all 11 official languages, and then some.

Where else but in our beloved country would tsotsis who hide out in dongas and smoke dagga make you sommer deurmekaar, would you be served sosaties and boerewors at a braai, or stop at a robot on your way to get your papsak from the local shebeen to help swallow your walkie talkies and slap chips? Lekker, bru.

It’s likely all of us can recall a moment when a word we’ve known and have been using for years at home turns out to be completely baffling to people from another English-speaking region.  While many such words are common in speech, some are rarely written down and therefore can easily escape the attention of dictionary editors.

The OED is trying to create the most comprehensive, accurate, and up to date picture of how and where these words are used, and we need your help.  So, wherever you are, we want to hear about words and expressions that are distinctive to where you live or where you are from.  Send them to our website or join the conversation on Twitter at #wordswhereyouare.

Michael Proffitt, Chief Editor of the OED, says “The OED’s comprehensive record of the English language is also an index of sorts to people’s tireless creativity and diversity over many centuries. Regional words are among the most distinctive, inventive, and evocative in the language. They can create a sense of belonging – of childhood, family, or home – or a sense of difference.  Because many regional words occur in speech more than in writing, they don’t always get the recognition they deserve in dictionaries.

“Tell us about the words you think are specific to your part of the world, and help us improve the dictionary’s description of English where you are.”

Phillip Louw, Dictionary Content Development Manager at OUP South Africa said that through detailed analysis of large text collections, “Oxford’s dictionary-makers have kept an eagle eye on South African English as it’s used in a variety of genres – fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. The OED’s initiative gives us a chance to find those hidden gems that are part of everyday conversations: from braais, to lekgotlas, to after (tears) parties. It’s a chance for South Africans to showcase the wit and linguistic innovation we use to make sense of our shared reality.”

Making the impossible attainable

[This article has been contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa.]

I’m just here to ask you to do what must be done, to do your part … to make the possible attainable.” These are the inspiring words of Mohamed Sidibay.

Mohamed Sidibay was born in Sierra Leone and at age five his country was engulfed in a civil war.  Mohamed was kidnapped by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. One night he fled and an Italian priest gave him shelter and connected him to an NGO that links students and teachers worldwide through technology. “Education has offered me choices, chances and challenges.  I appreciate the gift of education. I believe that even if we give people the whole world, that world could crumble. But if we give them an education, they can rebuild their world,” Mohamed wrote in an article published in Africa Renewal in 2017. Mohamed’s life story is truly inspiring and once again proves that education is the key to a better, brighter future for all.

I have worked in the educational field for the last 30 years and have been in the privileged position to experience that feeling of pure joy when a child realises his/her full potential.  When they start with their first lesson on LAB-on-line (Lectorsa’s flagship solution) they are oftentimes nervous, some even more so after seeing their first report, but as they continue to engage the system and see their own progress, there is not only an increase in their results but also in their confidence.  This is still one of the most satisfying dimensions of the work we do – seeing the change that takes place within a person who realises… “Yes, I can do this!”

Change is clearly visible – we equip future leaders with the right set of skills to excel in the 21st century and beyond, but more importantly, we remind them that they are the authors of their own destiny.  At Lectorsa, we believe that you are born with everything you need to be exceptional.

For this reason, we also applaud Andria Zafirakou, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize award, for being a fellow solutioneer. She has helped change the lives of students in one of the UK’s poorest areas, giving them a high level of confidence and a strong chance at a better future. The responsibility we carry for a better future is clear: You and I must become the change!  Mohamed and Andria are but two examples of what can be achieved through education. The importance of their journey is the message we have to receive… It starts with us.

Our vision at Lectorsa is to have our solutions available for EVERY student in all nations, in order to support, improve and develop their Visual Processing and Cognitive Development Factor. This will increase neuroplasticity and enhance creative thinking patterns to develop new knowledge for better solutions.  These are exciting times…because across the globe people are busy making the possible attainable. We can change the world … together.

Bettermarks® – Make Maths easy

Having a lot of problems is, well, a problem. When it comes to Maths however, teachers will tell you that you can never have too many problems as practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, learners are often not motivated to practice Maths, as often they feel they will never grasp the concepts, or they don’t know where their knowledge gaps are. This leads to Maths teachers having to spend time on intervention strategies, or for parents to pay for expensive extra lessons which don’t necessarily provide the required direction –  sometimes all learners do is solve problem after problem with the hope that they will eventually ‘get it’.

Enter Bettermarks®, a sharp online platform for Maths that employs very sophisticated technology in order for learners to access personalised learning. Bettermarks® takes adaptive learning to the next level – it is a truly personalised platform which is complimented by how easy it is to use by both teacher and learner.

Closing the gaps

What makes Bettermarks® stand out is that learners get real time feedback at every stage, it gives specific feedback, and even gives the option to access the textbook if necessary. This turns mistakes into learning opportunities as it allows for errors in thinking to be diagnosed immediately, and then remedied, before a crucial test or exam.

There are thousands of questions and the adaptive technology checks the thousands of competencies needed across the curriculum to flag any knowledge gaps, and then provides learners with further exercises to practice and master topics. Real time feedback and self-monitoring helps motivate learners and gives them confidence.

Teachers can access learners’ results and progress via reports and then apply hands-on intervention if necessary – or assign further exercises via the platform. The platform will keep recommending exercises to learners to fill knowledge gaps until the teacher is assured the problem has been solved, and the teacher can then close the gap on the platform’s back-end.

Track and progress

Teachers can use Bettermarks® in many different ways to help them monitor learner progress and difficulties, and to assist them in their progress. Features include the option of building worksheets from the question banks and distributing them to all learners – or individual learners – depending on the need. The questions can also be formulated into a test (which prevents tips and textbook access and is password protected). The platform marks all worksheets and tests automatically which saves the teacher a significant amount of time.

One of the outstanding features is that Bettermarks® is developed to test learners’ skills in answering a Maths problem – not just multiple choice. Depending on the question, learners may have to divide blocks into fractions, draw graphs, or indicate points on a number line, amongst many other practical applications.

The teacher dashboard gives a teacher a one screen overview of learners’ progress, and it also conveniently highlights areas in which all learners are struggling, thereby making whole class intervention strategies clear.

This easy-to-use platform is a class act and a true asset to the classroom. Learners pay only R150 per calendar year subscription and teacher access is free with every class set purchased. Request a demo today by emailing za.digitalsupport@macmillaneducation.co.za or calling 011 731 3359.

Zoom in … from Oxford

Zoom In is an innovative new digital study solution for FET learners from Oxford.  Zoom In targets the most critical concepts in each subject, and helps learners to reach a full understanding of each concept so that they can conquer difficult exam questions.

Zoom In consists of printed graded practice activities plus a USB card packed with offline digital learning objects, including slides, videos, animations, simulations and interactive practice activities. It is ideal for front-of-class teaching in the classroom, or for independent study at home.

Zoom In is currently available for the following subjects:

  • Map Skills Grade 10-12

  • Mathematics Grade 10 / Wiskunde Graad 10

  • Life Sciences Grade 10 / Lewenswetenskappe Graad 10

  • Mathematical Literacy Grade 10

  • Physical Sciences Grade 10

  • Accounting Grade 10

Grade 11 will be available in mid-2018.

 

What to expect at EduWeek Africa 2018

ADESSA is proud to be a strategic partner of EduWeek Africa 2018, and it gives us pleasure to post the following message on their behalf:

Engage – Inspire – Advance

We are expecting a bigger audience this year with an estimate of 5 500 attendees to show up for this 2-day event. Not only will you be able to recognise your target audience through our lanyards colour branding, you’ll also have the opportunity to have a group of selected target audience brought to your stand for an activation session. For more details on this please contact our talented sales team.

Registrations officially opened last week, here are some current visitor statistics and insights :

  • 53% of registrants are from Private institutions
  • 72% hold direct purchasing authority or influence
  • Sector interest is as follows: Early Childhood Development (45%), Basic Education (63%), TVET & Higher Education (51% and Inclusive Education (56%).
This is what you can expect this year at EDUWEEK.

Networking with industry leaders is an important function of EduWeek. Meet and greet companies from your selected client list, which can be sent to our marketing team and we’ll invite them for you. Not only do you gain market research but also a higher conversion rate through face to face meetings.

EduWeek is the perfect platform for forming new partnerships and growing your business through new clients and increasing your ROI through F2F meetings.

For more information on stands which are still available and branding opportunities: click here

F1 in Schools STEM Challenge Reinforces Status as Official Education Initiative

The global educational initiative, F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, has unveiled a new logo for F1 in Schools UK National Finals held at Silverstone Race Circuit last week. Incorporating the new Formula 1 logo launched last year, F1 in Schools’ new look visually reinforces the challenge’s status as Formula 1’s official education initiative.

The logo will be used by the F1 in Schools programmes 45 countries with a phased introduction around the world through 2018.

Bez Sangari, CEO of Sangari Education, explained: “The contest, which supports curriculum learning, reflects F1 in Schools commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and a desire to recruit the next generation of engineers to design and develop future electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.” The contest is managed and run in South Africa by Sangari Education.

“What makes the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge different is that it entails a comprehensive and inclusive learning approach. Learners engage with subjects that improve literacy, numeracy, sport and sports science, design and technology, art and design, textiles knowledge, STEM learning, computing, and business and enterprise,” added Mr Sangari.

Ellie Norman, director of Marketing & Communications, Formula 1, said, “We’re delighted to continue working so closely with F1 in Schools as we break down barriers and engage the next generation in STEM and the opportunities within Formula 1. With the rebranding of Formula 1 and its new identity it was only fitting to extend it into this education programme that is reaching a global youth audience.”

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge has forged ever-closer links with Formula 1 over its 19-year history. In 2005 Bernie Ecclestone gave his support to F1 in Schools by granting the Challenge a world-wide protected trademark and a new logo in 2005. Since this time, F1 in Schools has provided the sport with a platform for promotion to the younger generation, taking the sport right into the classroom, educating and inspiring a passion for Formula 1 with one of the most important audiences.

The new Official F1 in Schools product range is spearheaded by the Official F1 in Schools Race Track that brings together an ergonomic design with a lightweight track, high-tech digital display Start/Finish gates, with Wifi data transmission, and an integrated cable management system.

The competition challenges students to create their own Formula 1 team which is commissioned to design and manufacture a miniature Formula 1 car starting with the F1 in Schools model block and CAD software, with the car being powered by a compressed air cylinder. Each team of between three and six students creates a pit display and showcases their work in developing their race car.

The cars race on a 20-metre track, with the cars covering the distance in around one second.   The students compete at regional, national and international level, with the national winners having the potential bonus of travelling internationally. The World Finals have been held in a variety of countries including Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and the USA where the events are held in conjunction with the F1 Grand Prix being held in that country. The World Finals brings together the best students to compete for the coveted World Champions trophy and valuable university scholarships and bursaries.

The Mighty Pen – February 2018 edition

The Februay 2018 edition of The Mighty Pen is available for download here.

You can choose to view or download (5mb) the magazine, which is in the form of a fully interactive PDF.

Principals can click on any email, website or social media link in the magazine to go directly to the school supplier.

To contact the editor, Janos Bozsik, email: editor@themightypen.co.za or themightypen@vodamail.co.za 

Adequate Reading Skills Defined

Every learner needs adequate reading skills to master the subject content of the relevant school year (in other words the school grade) they are in.

Stimulus Maksima! define adequate reading skills as the competency that somebody has to read and understand material graded for his or her specific age or school grade at a prescribed speed.

Reading comprehension and speed at a specific grade does not only strongly correlate with, but actually determines, the learner’s academic achievement.   Learners failing to keep up with the reading skills required for their specific grade often show signs of the following:

  • Low confidence and self-esteem, often expressed in destructive and undisciplined behaviour.
  • Lost of interest in school work resulting in underperformance.
  • Trying to find ways to compensate for their inadequate reading skills.
  • Emotional problems, resulting in socialising problems.
  • Losing hope to pass a school year, finishing their school career and joining a tertiary institution.
  • Losing hope of being employed after school.
  • Losing hope to fulfill their specific passion in life and many more.

An improvement in reading skills can address and rectify the cause of most of the above-mentioned symptoms often within a very short period.

Once learners have experienced the benefits and advantages of achieving adequate reading skills and their required reading age, they usually continue to thrive academically at school and university or professionally in their chosen careers.