All posts by Kobus van Wyk

Emails and the school curriculum

When last did you use one of these?

How many letters do you lately find in your letterbox?  And how many paper based letters do you post in the red post boxes?  Compare that with the number of emails you receive and write daily.  For most of us, emails are now the preferred way of communication, to such an extent that we hardly make use of snail mail.

At school we were all taught how to write letters: the personal “Dear Mary” type, as well as the more formal “Dear Mr Smith” business letters.  We were taught about form, register, good letter writing techniques and even some letter writing etiquette.

Did you know that this is still what is being taught in South African schools?  This in spite of the fact that learners may never have seen such a letter in their life!  The writing of emails is not part of the curriculum of language subjects.  It is true that the writing of emails is part of the CAT (Computer Applications Technology) courses, but relatively few learners take this subject at school.

Of course, a few teachers have already taken the bold move to “extend” the curriculum unofficially by including email writing in their classes … but these ones are the exception.

This is just a small example to illustrate the long way we still have to go to prepare learners to function efficiently in this digital age.

Welcome on board, Interactive AV Solutions

The latest company to join the ranks of ADESSA is Interactive AV Solutions Ltd.  The company was formed in the United Kingdom in 2008 with the purpose of providing Audio Visual solutions dedicated to the Education and Corporate sectors.

With over 10 years experience in the Audio Visual industry, Interactive Audio Visual Solutions strive to provide a first-world-service to its clients in South Africa.

The company is the proud distributors of the award winning Clevertouch interactive touch screens. Clevertouch was the first interactive touchscreen with an inbuilt Android OS and now comes with a PC built into the unit so that it can be used just like a giant tablet. Now, in its 8th year, the most recent innovations include the Clevertouch Plus Series with its custom designed, free to use, app store.

ICT for Educators’ skills training

Parrot Interactive believes in educators’ continuously practicing how to incorporate technology in the classroom to enhance their teaching style and  learning needs.  With this in view, the company is  running a special training programme.

For educators to be comfortable with technology use in the classroom, there is need for continuous use of  the devices or software, sharing information with fellow educators, support from the school authorities and seeing the benefits of technology in the classroom.   These needs will be explored on the course.

For more information on quotations and training availability contact Parrot Products at 086 126 2737 or pitraining@parrot.co.za

Another 2 awards for Computers 4 Kids

ADESSA congratulates one of its members, Computers 4 Kids, for scooping up another two awards

Computers 4 Kids was placed third in the ‘Job Creation’  category at the  Premier’s  Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards (PERA) at a gala event hosted by the Premier and Minister Winde on 23 November 2016. This recognition was based on the Internet Champion programme that Computers 4 Kids is rolling out as part of the Western Cape’s Broadband initiative.

Russel Pengelly proudly receives the award

And then, on 6 December2016, the company won the SMME of the year award at the South African Premier Business Awards gala event in Gauteng. Once again the Internet Champion programme was key to the company being awarded this prestigious accolade by Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry.

Well done folks … we’re proud of you!

ADESSA and SCHOOLADVISOR “SPEED DATING” EVENT

On Thursday, 1 December 2016. a number of ADESSA members and SchoolAdvisor members came together at the offices of Investec in Cape Town to explore collaboration opportunities.  The event was sponsored by Investec.

Lively discussions with potential partners
Lively discussions with potential partners

After brief introductions about Investec, ADESSA and SchoodAdvisor the attendees, all seated around tables strung together to form one  long table, had the opportunity to “speed date” the person sitting directly opposite.  After 4 minutes, at the sound of a bell, all shifted clockwise two places to the left, to find a new partner.

All in attendance agreed that it was time well spent.  New contacts were made and the potential for future partnerships is positive.  A similar event is planned for Gauteng early in 2017.

Partnerships are important for running successeful projects in education.  ADESSA and SchoolAdvisor have joined forces to enable the members of both organizations to  find potential partners.

Many thanks to Investec for hosting the event.
Many thanks to Investec for hosting the event.

2Simple and Purple Mash

Today we are featuring another one of ADESSA’s long-time
esteemed members, 2Simple.

2Simple South Afric2simple-logoa was established over a decade ago to supply  schools with educational software and has kept up with the demand by changing with the times.  The humble beginnings of supplying offline typing programs to schools around Gauteng has grown into the incredible base of schools all over South Africa today that make use of an online suite, Purple Mash.

purple-mash-logoThe programs range from puzzles, paint projects and games for 5 year olds, all the way to coding, 3D designing and mind-mapping for children at the very end of their primary school careers. Purple Mash is an ever growing and expanding selection of programmes.  Mini Mash for pre-school users has recently been launched.

As a company, 2Simples strongly believe in teacher support and is always available for training on the latest updates or for giving advice on how to implement the programs in a classroom setting.

Feedback, such as the following from Rivonia Primary, is often received:

Rivonia Primary have used the Purple Mash and 2Simple products since the beginning of 2016.  From the outset, their staff’s attitude to assisting and training us was fantastic and made the Rivonia staff feel very comfortable in the use of the many different options the programmes offer. 

Our main motivation and purpose was to introduce coding to the children and get them to enjoy being creative. We have built a lesson into our timetable so that the children can use the suite exclusively, and have found that there are so many other exciting and pertinent skills that the product can offer the children, and they cannot wait to explore new skills in a safe cyber space each week!

If you’d like to know more or see a Purple Mash demo at your school, you can contact Michelle at michelle@2simple.co.za or call 011 656 8847.

Is your technology an add-in or an add-on?

One of the biggest tragedies of technology in education is the huge number of unused devices in schools and other institutions throughout the country.  These technologies were procured at great cost to the organization, or they have been donated.  Regardless of its source, technologies that are not optimally used do not add any value.

So the question is: is the technology in your school an add-in or an add-on?

To make the difference clear, let’s use an example form your home.  In most kitchens a stove can be regarded as an add-in – it is such an integral part of what you do in a kitchen that you can hardly imagine one without a cooking surface.  But an electric cake mixer is seen by some as an add-on – it is nice to have, but not used all the time and you can do without it.  Of course, unless you are a passionate baker – in that case the electric cake mixer is an add-in for you.

Is this an add-in or an add-on in your classroom?
Is this an add-in or an add-on in your classroom?

The point of the analogy is that when a piece of equipment is not an essential part of your normal operations, it is an add-on.  When you elevate its use to a level where it is part of what you’re doing every day, it becomes an add-in.

Rather than having a room full of add-ons technologies, which are seldom – or never –  used, it is better to have only one, or a few, technologies with which you are comfortable and that you can use to enhance your lessons.

ADESSA members are keen to assist educators make sure that technologies procured from them are not mere add-ons.

Interactive solutions from Inspireware

inpireware_logoToday we are featuring  Inspireware, another one of ADESSA’s members.

Inspireware offers interactive solutions for both corporate and educational environments.  These solutions contain the essential elements of successful implementation of an interactive environment.

Interactive technology: whiteboards, projectors, visualizers, and a clicker system.

Interactive software: visual teaching and learning aids that can assist teachers and learners to understand difficult concepts.

Training: SETA accredited courses, tailor-made packages, empowering teachers to create interactive classrooms.

Inspireware calls all public and private school institutions, as well as corporates, to engage with them with a view to adopting their technology in order to educate for the future.

For more information, contact Lorinda McGhee (lorinda@inspireware.co.za).

Empowering students to reach their full potential

The following are some interesting observations from Minda Marshall of LectorSA, one of ADESSA’s members:

The world we live in is changing rapidly, all the time.  A young student told me the other day that her final class at university was very insightful: after three years of study the lecturer said that almost everything he taught them is now redundant, so much had changed in the three years they completed their studies.

This emphasizes that life-long learning is the only way to sustain proficient learning today. Knowledge and information is exploding across the globe. Never before has it been more important to train and develop accurate ways to facilitate the process of reading with comprehension. Even more, we need innovative ways to teach students how to use current knowledge as a basis from which to create new knowledge.

Illiteracy is a leading cause of delinquency, poverty, frustration and depression, resulting in a loss in productivity and general reduction in lifestyles and wellness amongst people in all communities. The current economic situation has made this phenomenon even worse. High-performance environments (work, learning and sport) are here to stay and people require effective solutions, which will give them the opportunity to overcome in life and to contribute by creating a healthy society.

We have to face the reality that education is experiencing real challenges: we are training for a future we do not even see and we need to train students for jobs that does not exist in our current framework of mind.

lector-logo-1

Contact LectorSA for assistance in finding a solution to bridge the gap effectively. Results of more than 49 000 students proves LAB-on-line is a viable solution in 21st Century Learning.