You can now download a copy of the latest issue of The Mighty Pen. As usual, this issue is packed with news snippets from education. You will also find information about digital offerings that could be of great value in an e-learning environment.
The 2019 AGM of ADESSA was a huge success. Many members attended in person and others Zoomed in from different parts of the country to hear the main speaker, Brian Schreuder (Head of Department of the WCED), giving an inspiring talk about the approach of the Western Cape Education Department towards education.
The WCED’s transformational strategy has two pillars: e-learning and a “transform to perform” philosophy. Mr Schreuder highlighted the role that the private sector can play in providing good quality content and invited ADESSA to continue its discussions with the province.
Henry Kavuma of the DBE then spoke about the SONA ICT Commitment of the President and in very clear terms spelled out the critical role that ADESSA will play in the future to assist the DBE to execute its five-year plan.
After years of working behind the scenes to boost our membership and to build good relationships with the decision makers of education, it is satisfying to see that our efforts are paying off and that ADESSA is now poised to play a significant role in the furtherance of good education in South Africa. Our members are thrilled at the prospects that this opportunity opens for them.
This article is contributed by Teach360, a member of ADESSA.
The 2019 school year is already underway and this week the admissions application process opened for 2020. If you run a school that is preparing to review its next set of young applicants, you need to ensure that you are fully up to date with the Gauteng Department of Basic Education’s new admission policies.
In particular, you should be aware that recent changes have been made regarding the province’s feeder zone regulations, with the radius of these zones extended from 5km to 30km. Are your school’s 2020 policies compliant?
Until recently, public school policies mandated that schools prioritise applicants living or working within a 5km radius of their schools. This diminished the chances of children living further away from better-resourced schools from being admitted to these schools.
But for the last 18 months, Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi has been acting on a 2016 Constitutional Court ruling to address these issues. Lesufi has done this, and in November 2018 new regulations regarding the province’s feeder zones were officially gazetted.
“Feeder zone determination plays a significant role in ensuring that access to our schools is fair, transparent and conducted in an equitable manner,” Lesufi said.
The new system gives learners who apply to the school closest to them preferential rights but, if the school is full, they can now apply to any school within a 30km radius of where they live or work. Learners who have siblings at the school they are applying to are also given priority.
Other admissions rules have been under the spotlight, too, with Lesufi calling for reform in regulations that potentially discriminate against learners based on their race, ethnicity, language, age, religion, sexual orientation, HIV status and other criteria.
Assessing your school’s compliance
As a public school in Gauteng, it’s critical that you are compliant with these new legislated changes, but assessing all of your school’s policies can be a confusing and time-consuming process.
Fortunately, there are resources available to help you, such as Teach360, an education solutions provider that developed a number of school policies addressing most of the needs of schools. These policies are comprehensive enough to cover the pertinent components that schools need to manage, but you can even adapt or tailor them according to your school’s specific needs.
Teach360’s school policies are fully compliant with the most recent legal and regulatory requirements and cover matters such as learner discipline, language, religion, human rights, HIV/AIDS and time-scheduling.
These policies have been drafted by one of South Africa’s top education law professors and endorsed by international specialists in the field.
“We recognise that schools have to have clear and comprehensive policies in place in order to operate effectively and be compliant with the law,” says Edwell Gumbo, GM for Teach360. “Our products simplify this process by providing all the access to information and tools that schools need.”
The new school feeder zones will be revised at least every three years, or whenever a new school opens in an area. Ensuring that your policies are up to date and legally complaint will minimise any disruptions these changes cause so that you can get on with the task of educating South Africa’s young minds.
Teach360, which forms part of the FutureLearn Group, develops comprehensive and efficient CAPS-aligned teacher resources in the form of Teacher Files that meet classroom and administrative needs and School Policies drafted based on legal and regulatory requirements. Teach360 also provides a full set of educational resources and learning materials that include the likes of CAMI and Quanta.
Oakley House is a special needs school in Cape Town using Snapplify and Google solutions to give their students the competitive edge inside and outside of the classroom. Snapplify has been chosen by thousands of schools as a trusted partner in digital education; the company is passionate about empowering educators, and nurturing students with relevant and accessible digital learning tools – from Google Classroom, to your classroom, with Snapplify. Register for FREE today at engage.snapplify.com/get-started.
Link to video on YouTube here.
The following article is contributed by Minda Marshall, Director of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.
“When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury — and so does society,” said Judge Stephen Murphy.
We have entered the second quarter of 2019 and the question remains: how much will our learners in South Africa improve in the crucial skills of visual processing, reading and comprehension? According to Employment and Social Development in Canada, reading comprehension will be one of the five top skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs.
This is why, as parents and teachers, we need to ask ourselves the important question: are we setting our children up for failure? Are we satisfied with the high percentage of learners not reading at a proficient level in our schools? More than 78% of South African learners cannot read for meaning, according to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS). During this study, which tested the reading comprehension of learners in their fourth year of primary school, South Africa ranked last out of 50 countries. Research has revealed that children who do not learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to remain poor readers and as a result fall behind in other academic areas too. It has also been proven that learners who struggle with reading are more likely to drop out of school. This is especially alarming when you look at the following statistics: of the 624,733 full-time public school students who entered matric at the start of 2018, only 512,735 actually wrote the exams.
A local study at one of the leading universities in South Africa indicated that “One of the most challenging issues Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) face, but one that is not fully recognised by either students or lecturers until some way into academic courses, is the problem of reading”. It is presumed that students who have entered university are proficient readers and have mastered the building blocks of reading, but this, however, is not the case for all students.
I believe one of the key reasons why children are not reading at an acceptable level is the basic assumption that learning to read is a natural process. However, years of cognitive neuroscience research has clarified that reading does not come naturally. Our brains are not wired to read. Children need to be taught not only how to read, but to read-to-learn. In the first three years of schooling, children are taught how to read. This is the time in reading development when a love for reading and excitement about new information should be encouraged. During this phase of development the sounds we hear in spoken language are transferred to a written symbol system. We can call this phase of development the Learn-to-Read – the “phonics phase”.
From Grade 4 children should progress to the Read-to-Learn phase, moving from ‘sounding’ out words to being able to ‘recognize and decipher’ words, sentences, paragraphs and even whole chapters and constructing the meaning of the text on different levels of comprehension. Our research across more than 30 years has shown that this transition is becoming weaker and weaker and is now at a stage where it seems to not take place accurately or efficiently enough – thus the reason why so many children are struggling, also in higher grade levels. Many learners fail to make the required transition to fluent reading and subsequently encounter significant difficulties in constructing meaning from text. Fluency in reading is critical for reading competency and is consequently fundamental in reading success.
This is one of the areas where we see a considerable improvement of up to five years on average with LAB-on-line. There is a great solution available for Junior to Senior learners, as well as for our students in the FET and tertiary phase of education, and parents and teachers alike should take note of this.
Lectorsa has designed and developed a progressive on-line solution called LAB-on-line, that specifically targets and develops visual processing skills, together with reading and cognitive skills. We use the science of neural-wiring and combine it with the physics of muscle training through the processes of the reading action. When these essential skills are developed and refined, academic outcomes are improved, learners’ self-esteem is boosted and they are equipped with life-long learning skills.
It is said that there is a profound connection between reading, understanding the world and being able to change it. If we want the next generation to not only succeed, but to build a better South Africa, we need to step in now and equip them with the right skill set.
If we can address this critical problem, we can not only minimize the impact of the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality that our country faces, but we can help each child to realise his/her true potential.
Join us in our campaign, #YesICan, to improve literacy across the country. South Africa’s children deserve no less. Contact our office firstname.lastname@example.org to stand a chance to participate in the #YesICanLiteracyCampaign and receive a free 10-week reading development program to implement at your school before the end of the year.
The March 2019 issue of The Mighty Pen is out and is not available for download here.
The February 2019 issue of The Mighty Pen is out and is available for download.
One of the articles – Tablets – the tip of the iceberg – contains interesting information about the correct and potential use of tablets in the classroom.
ADESSA is proud to have been part of a highly successful elearning event, hosted by the Cape Winelands Education District of the Western Cape Education Department at the new Somerset High school in Worcester.
Nineteen ADESSA members exhibited their products and services; each one was given a classroom in which to display, demonstrate and present a variety of technology tools for education. About 200 principals, teachers and education department officials stayed till late to visit all the exhibits.
The SG of the Western Cape Education Department, Brian Schreuder, warmly thanked ADESSA and the exhibitors for the valuable contribution they are making to education in general and for contributing to the success of the elearning event.
With WiFi connectivity in the classroom becoming the norm to avoid cabling issues, the question of which WiFi device to use arises.
As a security against theft of WiFi dongles, projector manufacturers have traditionally built-in their chosen technology leaving users to deal with the limitations and operational differences from one brand to the next. InFocus has changed all this with the introduction of a projector range (standard zoom lens and short-throw models) that offers their customers the ability to install their connectivity device of choice – and to do this, hidden securely within the USB, HDMI & 5v-powered TechStation built into the projector.
The concept is simple yet enables institutions to mould the projector connectivity to whatever suits their application – from Miracast to Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Android, SimpleShare and other devices. One can even install an Intel Computer Stick with wireless keyboard & mouse to take interactive projection to another level of usability.
Add to this its whisper quiet operational level and brilliant colour technology and it is little wonder the range is gaining such traction.
a product overview please click on this video link: https://www.infocus.com/videos?tP-_TfTgxA8
Further details including our authorised dealers, please contact:
This is yet another product from Macmillan to be seen at the Cape Winelands Education District elearning conference/expo on Saturday, 9 March 2019, in Worcester.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or calling 011 731 3359.