All posts by Kobus van Wyk

The Mighty Pen – ADESSA’s Media Partner

ADESSA has partnered with The Mighty Pen as its media partner.  This partnership will provide us with greater media exposure.   We will inform you regularly about new magazine issues, which will help you to stay in touch with developements in education.  These issues can be viewed online.

The lastest issue (January 2018) can be viewed by clicking here.  Below is an image of the front page, giving you some idea of what you can expect.

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

 

 

 

2018: The Year for Education par Excellence

The following opinion piece was contibuted by Minda Marshall, co-director and co-owner of Lectorsa, a leading research and development company (based in Mokopane, Limpopo) that supplies solutions internationally to the education and training market.

We are already full speed into 2018 and at Lectorsa we believe that this is the year of bigger, better, more.  2018 is going to be the year where we should see an important change in our education system.

Last year South Africa was presented with hard facts:  A staggering 78% of gr 4’s in the country cannot read for meaning and according to Dr. Nick Spaull, “the ‘real’ gr 12 pass rate for 2017 is around 57% meaning that 43% of the youth in SA still get no qualification whatsoever”.

It is also important to realise that quality education is currently a big challenge, not only in SA but also globally.

At Lectorsa we are up to that challenge. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030. These facts and predictions can bring us to a rather gloomy view of the future, however, I strongly believe that we should be very excited about the sweeping changes that are ahead of us.

Jack Ma (business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) recently indicated at the recent WEF Conference that as humans we should not try to compete with machines, to clarify, even Usain Bolt won’t be able to outrun a speed train. The changes ahead of us should inspire us to find invigorating new ways of living beneficial and fulfilled lives in the future – and as educators, we should prepare our students for these exciting times.

After attending EduTech Africa in October 2017, I was inspired to see thousands of educators from across the country pursuing the latest in teaching strategies, cutting-edge technology and solutions so that they can shape an educational environment that will be more relevant in the 21st-century and beyond.

This has just proven once again that there are many people that share our passion for improved cutting-edge education – educators who have a heart for children and who want to stay abreast of times.  They want to empower the next generation to look ahead with confidence, knowing they are competent to excel in the workplace.

We were in the midst of drafting our 2017 report when the news of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results broke and made numerous headlines: ‘78% of grade 4 pupils can’t read for meaning.’  “This suggests that the majority of learners cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Gr 4 and higher grades,” Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS 2016 South Africa, stated.

We are already busy changing this by bridging this gap and we have the results to prove it: In 2017 alone, we had more than a 1000 gr 4’s from schools across SA enrolled in our on-line solution, LAB-on-line. Their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved by 17% and their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) increased from 83 to 185 words per minute. Their Action-Interpret and Understand skill levels (combined VPF and CDF multiplied leads to an AIU Factor) improved with five years.  This means that when these

Gr 4’s did the placement test, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing LAB-on-line, their skill level had increased with 5 years – a year above the expected level.

I believe that these results are a powerful testimony to what can be achieved through accurate intervention and development.

Thomas Marshall, Co-Director of Lectorsa, recently said, “There will never be a more powerful and opportune time than NOW.” 2018 truly is the year of bigger, better – MORE!

Let us create a synergy in 2018 and build a bright future NOW through effective education

REFERENCES

[i] http://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/164/ZP_Files/pirls-literacy-2016-hl-report-3.zp136320.pdf

[ii] https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/opinion-and-analysis/2018-01-13-the-real-matric-rate-and-the-real-site-of-failure-in-education/

[iii] https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6344575666863824896

 

A new product from Eduspec

Eduspec, part of Education Specialist Software (Pty) Ltd, is a company that develop tailored software for educational institutions.

In recent times the financial pressure on parents and families have significantly increased resulting in less expendable income thus increasing the financial burden on schools and the increase of exemption applications. Recent studies indicated that in some instances exemption applications have increased to in excess of 25% of fee paying families.

This burden has proven to be a massive drain on the resources due to the costly and lengthy manual processes involved when dealing with applications.

Eduspec has taken up the challenge of adding efficiency to the process. By adding automation and structure the process and worklad have been simplified and greatly. Eduspec keeps complete record of the application, documentation and communication to and with parents or families.

The process of Exemption consists of only 4 steps:

                                                         Apply

                                                        Process

                                                        Approve

                                                        Finalise

Partner schools have reported an enormous reduction in the time spent on processing applications and finalisation thereof, as well as the time taken to produce the final application results for the department.

The Exemption system started as a goodwill project for the Jan de Klerk high school. The program proved to be a big time saver and as it developed, so did interest in the program from other schools.

Eduspec was finally re-written into a suitable system that can support multiple schools with an interface to various school management and financial systems.

Micker Pro now launched

Following on from the recent article featuring the versatile and easy to use 5W Micker 3-in-1 portable microphone, amplifier and speaker product, comes the new Micker Pro.  This more powerful 10W hand-held device has some surprising functionality, including:

– Charging cradle: Place the Micker on cradle charger & start recharging battery
– 3x levels of volume control
– Echo function
– Buzzer function
– Aux audio input

Says Matthew Lord, MD of Let Me Play, a school level sport & subject training organisation:

Being able to communicate with groups in a variety of situations is key for us and the lightweight Micker & Micker Pro devices make this a breeze.  No longer do we need to spend hours shouting to be heard or having to use cumbersome megaphones.  Great products!

Available from:
Information Technology (Cape) & selected dealers.
Tel: 021-4480650
E-mail: gavin@info-tech.co.za

Why it’s so important to make time for reading

Based on the experience of Stimulus Maksima! over the past twenty years, less than 5% of learners in many top South African schools can currently read relevant graded material on the required comprehension and speed levels for their respective age and grade.

This leads one to wonder: how they were able to make it into the qualified job market?

Illiteracy lowers the quality of life and hampers economic growth.This is not only a South African problem. According to figures published in 2015 by the Department of Education in America, 775 million people around the world cannot read. In many countries, more value is placed on the education of boys, leading to a disproportionately high number of females remaining illiterate into adulthood.

Apart from the economic and quality of life benefits, research has shown that reading reduces stress levels, improves memory function and leads to better quality of sleep. Some of the other benefits of reading include: learning new skills; changing perspectives; and enhancing awareness about different subjects.

The younger one starts learning to read, the sooner the benefits can be obtained.  The battle against inadequate reading skills and illiteracy will intensify in the years to come as people increasingly tend to spend less time reading and more time watching television. The only way to counter it is for schools, tertiary institutions and companies to have a specific focus and measuring system in place that empowers their learners, students and employees to overcome the negative and catastrophic impacts of inadequate reading skills and illiteracy.

Stimulus Maksima! offers tools and solutions that can help toddlers to adults to improve their English and Afrikaans reading and learning skills.

From obstacles to opportunities – making the adoption of digital education easy

 

Snapplify’s Shaun Marshall urges schools to see how easy it can be to embrace digital learning, saying the following:

The development of digital technology has been of enormous importance to the education environment. It opens possibilities for teachers and students, transforming the classroom in a multitude of ways.  Yet, despite its benefits, digital education is not always eagerly embraced by schools and educators. The reasons for this can present as real challenges, but I believe that they are not insurmountable.

Shaun Marshall

At Snapplify we work hard alongside institutions and educators to create solutions that serve education best, regardless of infrastructural challenges. We’ve addressed this challenge with the Snappbox, our award-winning hardware distribution solution for digital educational content. The Snappbox is an effective way to include the core elements of e-learning in unconnected classrooms. In rural Cofimbama in the Eastern Cape, we used the Snappbox to preload over 2000 school tablets with the Snapplify ebook Reader app and over 300 ebooks from leading publishers. These tablets are being shared among 4000 students in 11 schools. Using the Snappbox has saved institutions like this one over R600 000 in bandwidth costs, and approximately 4000 hours (166 days) in download time – meaning more time for teaching.

A common challenge many schools face when bringing digital education into their classrooms is resistance or reluctance from educators. This most often comes from a lack of confidence.  Teachers sometimes feel intimidated – not only by the technology itself, but by their students, who are au fait with this technology.

With this skills gap in many schools, it becomes important to ensure that educators have the training and support that they need to incorporate technology into their pedagogy. In fact, this is so integral to the success of digital education that we’ve incorporated teacher training into our initial rollout for schools signing up with Snapplify, with the option of further training during the year, depending on an individual school’s requirements. Snapplify is committed to supporting our schools and an essential part of this is supporting educators.

Ultimately, the move to embrace digital education is not as daunting as some initially believe it to be. Whatever the ICT setup and skills level, you can make digital education a reality in your school by choosing the correct digital education partner.

Email education@snapplify.com to chat about your specific needs and how we can work together.

We believe that digital learning is the future. Keep up to date with what we’re doing in education by signing up to our mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bPlsaL

Digital content forum established

On 24 and 25 a historic workshop took place at the Hohenhort Cellars Hotel in Constantia, Cape Town, to establish a Digital Content Forum.

The workshop was attended by senior officials of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), officials from provincial education departments, the Publishers Association of South Africa (PASA), digital content developers and other stakeholders.  Kobus van Wyk, the CEO of ADESSA, facilitated the session.  The event was sponsored by The Training Room Online (TTRO).

Dr Aaron Nkosi of the DBE applauded the work done during the workshop and expressed the hope that this will strengthen the partnership  between education authorities and the digital education industry.

The three main outputs of the workshop are:

  • The formation of a sub-committee to develop standards for digital content
  • The formation of a sub-committee to develop a screening process for digital content
  • The decision to establish a formal Digital Content Forum that will meet regularly.

It was a unanimous decision that ADESSA would be steering the Digital Content Forum.  Once the sub-committees have completed their work, it will be presented to the relevant DBE structures for approval and ratification.

Snapplify selected for World Bank’s accelerator programme, XL Africa

ADESSA congratulates Snapplify on being selected from over 1000 applications as one of the top 20 digital companies to participate in XL Africa – the World Bank’s new accelerator programme for Africa’s top digital entrepreneurs.  This programme begins November 2017  in Cape Town, with interaction with international
investors and potential partners.

Over five months, the 20 growing businesses will move through
a rigorous programme designed to generate further capital to catapult growth and expansion to new territories.  XL Africa is supported by the World Bank Group, with financial assistance from the governments of Finland, Norway and Sweden, and managed by implementing partners IMC Worldwide, VC4Africa and Koltai&Co.

Snapplify’s Growth Director. Tarryn-Anne Anderson, says:

Snapplify is proud and excited to have been included in this important pan-African initiative. We look forward to connecting with other companies who are using technology to tackle social problems, and with investors looking to drive innovation in Africa.

Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge Takes Off

Following a successful project facilitation and software training for teachers for the Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge (JPSC) during the month of October, two official races have taken place at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg.  This programme, facilitated by Sangari Education (a member of ADESSA), saw 14 teams from various primary schools across Gauteng partake in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) challenge.

The challenge is open to students aged 5-11 years and involves designing and manufacturing the fastest car possible, emulating the design and engineering processes employed by real engineering companies such as Jaguar Cars.  Each team designs an F1 racing car using 160gm/s cardboard paper created on 2D drawing software. After manufacturing teams race their cars on a 20 metre race track powered by gas chargers.

Pieter du Plessis, F1 in Schools programme manager at Sangari Education, said:

At first it was a challenge getting both learner’s and teachers to buy into the concept of designing and racing a miniature F1 car. But the concept has now caught on and interest is growing rapidly.  The JPSC-F1 is literally STEM education in action. Teacher involvement is critical for learners, who need both emotional and physical support. The JPSC offers primary school pupils the opportunity to take part in a fun hands-on STEM activity, tackling real-life problem solving, design, manufacturing, team work, communication and business skills.

Involvement of teachers and parents is an integral part of the programme as it motivates children to maintain their focus and determination in the challenge.

Christo Jones, deputy chief education specialist for Technology, Gauteng Department of Education said:

Partnering with Sangari Education to bring active STEM education to primary schools is a good starting point towards improving the education system in the country. Seeing young people design F1 model cars on computers, manufacture and then race them is really inspiring.

The competition is open to all primary school children from grade 5 to grade 7. Teams wishing to be part of this competition can register on the website at: www.sangari.co.za or contact Pieter du Plessis on +27 11 466-1440.

Open up a world of learning with supplementary resources

Each learner has a unique learning style; not all learners in a class will master the curriculum in the same way. Core textbooks may not provide all the aspects required to teach a concept to all learners. Supplementary resources expose your learners to concepts and skills in multiple ways, enhancing the probability of effective learning.

In order for learners to function at the higher cognitive levels that are demanded, they should go well beyond recalling and basic understanding. Supplementary resources provide learners with the additional skills and knowledge they need for success in the twenty-first century.

While core textbooks may have limited practice examples and exam-type questions, supplementary resources provide additional opportunities for practice and exam preparation. Furthermore, the use of different resources in the classroom can make lessons more interactive, enjoyable and engaging. This will help make classroom management and discipline easier.

The correct choice and implementation of supplementary resources as part of teaching and learning can lead to a significant improvement in learner results.

How to select the right Supplementary Resources

  1. Choose resources with high quality content that is accessible to learners. Material that has a user-friendly layout, will help learners engage effectively with the content. Work through a part of the resource to assess the level of quality and suitability.
  2. Choose resources that are suitable for use in the classroom and allow learners to work independently. This is especially important at high school level. Working through examples and completing structured exercises with answers enable learners to practice, assess and improve their skills at their own pace.
  3. Consider whether or not the resource is best suited for your classroom. For example, if your school has a strong internet connection and your learners are using tablets, use enhanced eBooks with embedded digital assets. Also consider using educational apps that allow you to assign quizzes as homework instead of giving them printed worksheets.
  4. Ask colleagues to recommend resources they have successfully used and found valuable. 

Visit Classroom Solutions to discover supplentary resources from Pearson, Maskew Miller Longman and Heinemann.