The relationship between adequate reading ability and economic well-being

Research, as well as our experience at Stimulus Maksima! over the past twenty-three years, demonstrated a direct relationship between the ability to read adequately and the emotional and psychological well-being of children. It, therefore, also relates positively to academic, cultural and sports performance as well as on academic and professional careers thereafter.

Successful careers perused by a passionate and motivated workforce impacts on the economic well-being and prosperity of communities, towns, cities and countries over the longer term.

Research studies demonstrated that the cost of illiteracy in our country is enormous, almost immeasurable, making it the responsibility of all stakeholders to take hands and get involved in the fight against illiteracy.

[Contributed by Hennie Engelbrecht, Director of Stimulus Maksima.]

Snapplify Library bolsters academic success

CAPE TOWN, 21 August 2018 – In the Information Age, distinguishing between decent and poor content can be difficult; but with Snapplify Library, parents and educators can feel reassured that students have access to quality educational material. Snapplify Library – a solution that forms part of Snapplify’s digital education suite – provides instant access to educational resources, making studying easier and even working to improve pass rates.

Children in library at Parklands College

Snapplify’s Library solution allows institutions to create and manage a digital library easily and effectively, and provides students with easier access to ebooks. Once titles have been selected by an institution, the library is immediately open for use, 24 hours a day – unlike print libraries, which can involve a lengthy acquisition process of curation, ordering, transport, delivery, categorising and shelving, and have restricted opening hours. Snapplify’s extensive catalogue includes over 100 000 library-licensed titles, including top-quality e-textbooks from leading local and international publishers across a variety of subjects, study areas, and grades – from primary school to higher education. The library offering also includes free ebooks from Project Gutenberg, Book Dash, and Siyavula Education, as well as past exam papers for matric students to use.

Snapplify Library allows users within an institution – whether a school, or a higher education institution – to check out library ebooks during the academic year, and for the librarian to control the access and loan period. Returns can also be managed automatically, according to a preset loan period, so there is no risk of books going missing; while the Wait List function systematically assigns specific ebooks to any users in the queue as soon as titles are returned. Other functions for administrators include being able to block inappropriate content and creating a list of ‘librarian top picks’ using Favourites. All users are also able to browse through curated lists of Recommended titles (ebooks recommended by other Library users), as well as Snapplify’s Collections (an extensive list of suggested reads, grouped by themes and chosen by Snapplify staff in consultation with qualified teachers).

‘Ultimately, Snapplify Library is a simple lending model (which mirrors the print model for libraries, but with added benefits). We make it easy for institutions to offer a robust digital library solution to students, while providing usage statistics to validate purchases. These simple and effective solutions make e-learning easier, meaning students are likely to use the platform and have a higher chance of passing,’ said Snapplify’s Higher Education Account Manager Penny de la Plain.

To learn more about Snapplify’s digital education solutions, including Snapplify Library, visit their website.

Say goodbye to HDMI cables

We all know the misery of having to install and maintain HDMI cables, patch-panels, fly-leads, trunking and more in classrooms and boardrooms for projectors and large TV monitors.  The new SimpleShare Wireless Presentation Solutions from InFocus puts an end to all of that.  SimpleShare offers easy, instant wireless presentations at the click of a button.

Simply plug and play with no software installation and transmit high quality HD data, video and sound in real time at the touch of a button. They work with any HDMI input, PC, Mac, DVD or other devices.

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

(Information Technology (Cape) is a member of ADESSA.

SANGARI INTRODUCES AUGMENTED AND VITUAL REALITY SOLUTIONS AT TVET COLLEGES CONFERENCE

Sangari Education showcased their Augmented Reality Welding Simulator; CNC Simulator; Automotive Trainers; Educational Virtual Reality solutions; and Electronics Technology Simulations at the 2018 World TVET conference in Cape Town under the theme: Making Technical and Vocational Education Training the First Choice.

Sangari demonstrated the worldwide-acclaimed Soldamatic augmented reality (AR) welding training simulator and a range of virtual reality (VR) educational systems for schools. The Veative educational interactive virtual reality modules cover physics, chemistry, biology, maths, educational tour and language learning.

Bez Sangari, CEO of Sangari Education, explained:

This is an important tool for the classroom. Modules are mapped to the curriculum, delivering a powerful VR solution for schools to engage students with concepts that close the gap between knowledge and understanding.  This technology encourages students to become active learners rather than passive recipients of information. With the varied immersive experiences it offers, virtual reality has huge potential to transform both teaching and learning processes. It is the ultimate medium for delivering what is known as experiential learning.

As an example, students can experience an immersive module on photosynthesis with the help of a controller. They can go into the leaf and get a sense of how plants meet the requirements for photosynthesis. Such ‘look-see-do’ modes encourage students to explore, identify and experiment with the content.

The blue-collar skills shortage in South Africa is estimated at around one million jobs.  To meet this demand, training is essential, but the machinery needed is expensive.  Providing theory and no practical training is insufficient.

To address this, the Soldamatic augmented-reality (AR) welding simulator (winning top honours at the Worlddidac Awards) was demonstrated at the conference. It is a cost-effective alternative to traditional training that provides the same level of skills but offers significant cost saving that can run into millions of rands per annum.  Consumables such as welding rods, steel plates or oxygen are not needed, and because the equipment has no gas emissions, it is eco-friendly.

In addition, the AR simulator can be used in any environment with no need for special clothing or ventilation.  The welding can be done in a classroom or even an office. It is 100% safe, simply because it provides an augmented-reality welding environment, providing augmented-reality 3-D vision through the trainee welder’s headgear.

#yeswecan

The following article has been contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa, a member of ADESSA.

With the advance of technology and the 4th industrial revolution, we realize that life-long learning is the key to a successful life. One of the biggest hurdles to becoming a life-long learner can be our perspective on learning:

  • How do you view learning?
  • Do you think of it as “I have to” or as “I want to”?

Learning is crucial, but the beauty of learning lies in the love and excitement of growth. As life-long learners we have to keep it real and keep it fun!

After more than 30 years of experience in the educational field and first-hand insight as a mother of three, I know how important it is for an educational solution to be more than just an add-on, it needs to ignite excitement.

It needs to empower us with more than just skills – we need that added sense of achievement- the ‘magic’ that keeps on drawing us back for more.

While developing our virtual solution, LAB-on-line, we kept this in mind and we purposed to create a solution that empowers our users and focuses their attention. We have achieved success because we have currently assisted more than 85 000 users to unlock their true potential, while ‘playing’ at work and working at ‘play’.

Learners are under pressure to perform academically and the amount of information that they need to master has increased, but their skillset has not evolved. This has resulted in a GAP that we call the information/application GAP.

LAB-on-line develops the skills and gives you the strategies needed to bridge this GAP.  It ensures the best personal results and improves excellence in learning without adding more pressure on the student.

This year alone, with over 14 000 users on the primary school, high school and tertiary level, remarkable results have been achieved and that within completion of only 5 – 7 lessons.

In the Gr 4 division, their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) already increased from 87  to 130 and their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved with 4%. When these learners did the placement test at the beginning of this year, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing only 5 lessons, their skill level has already increased with two years. We cannot wait to see the improvement after the completion of all 20 lessons.  In 2017 the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reported that 78% of Gr 4’s in SA cannot read for meaning nor retrieve basic information from the text to answer simple questions. We are turning these statistics around.

This year we once again partnered with amazing schools across South Africa and the educators’ dedication and will to bring about real change, in order to empower their students, has been truly inspiring.

Adrienne Rivera (HOD English at Assumption Convent School), one of our partnering schools, said: “Our girls have improved dramatically and it shows in their general school performance.”

As stated by the Principal of Kannemeyer Primary School, Ridwan Samodien, we need to be co-travellers on this journey of giving our children the best possible education.

Join us in building a better future by investing in our children, because South Africa #YesWeCan!

 

Sangari Partners with Veative to Bring Complete Virtual Reality Solutions to SA Schools

Continuing its promise to place innovative teaching and learning technologies into schools, Sangari Education has been appointed a distributor for Veative’s educational virtual reality (VR) solutions.

Sangari Education CEO, Bez Sangari, says:

Veative is a VR-focused education company that creates innovative VR curriculums, at an affordable price point, to transform how students learn.  Veative is the first content provider to develop an affordable and practical virtual reality solution for schools. It combines immersive and interactive education modules with plug-and-play virtual-reality headsets and controllers.

The company is a global provider of learning simulations for schools and industries, using technologies such as 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Veative’s ever-growing STEM library now covers over 500 modules.

The interactive modules cover physics, chemistry, biology, maths, educational tour and language learning. The kits include portable trolleys to keep headsets charged and safe when not in use while software assists educators with reports and analytics.

This is an important tool for the classroom, which allows focused attention on topics, and is a valuable part of the learning process. With learning modules mapped to the curriculum, we can deliver a powerful VR solution for schools to engage students with concepts, closing the gap between knowledge and understanding.

This technology encourages students to become active learners rather than passive recipients of information. With the varied immersive experiences it offers, virtual reality has huge potential to transform both teaching and learning processes. It is the ultimate medium for delivering what is known as experiential learning.

As an example, students can experience an immersive module on photosynthesis with the help of a controller. They are able to go into the leaf and get a sense of how plants meet the requirements for photosynthesis. Such ‘look-see-do’ modes encourage students to explore, identify and experiment with the content.

Virtual reality also enhances teachers’ capabilities. It makes the job of teaching easier. Within VR simulations, teachers can track student understanding of the topics being taught with analytics and data reporting. As VR encourages active participation, it becomes easy for the teachers to identify possible gaps in the understanding of the students and attend to those issues timeously.

The software allows the teacher to monitor, access and analyse each student’s progress effortlessly, providing instant guidance and feedback. On the other hand, with integrated assessment scores, educators can bridge the learning gap and make learning fun and exciting for students.

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.