Tag Archives: COVID-19

Embracing a Pandemic

Contributed by Adrie Schoeman, MD of Master Maths, a member of ADESSA.

Master Maths has been around for more than 40 years. After so many years in business, with franchise centres in nearly every town in South Africa and some in Namibia, we have a solid rhythm. Our structures and processes are in place.  However, when that announcement came that our country (like the rest of the world) will go into a hard lock down, the uncertainty kicked in and the fear was real. This pandemic did not choose it’s victims, we were all (small and large businesses) in the same boat. None of us could ever have foreseen a scenario where a pandemic just changed our normal day into something really surreal. 

We had to trust our investment made into solid systems and it stood the test of time. Master Maths has invested substantially in developing a new LMS system, which we were in the process of rolling out. The pandemic forced us to fast track this and with good support and collaboration tools, the pace at which franchisees adapted to the new technology, ensured that we could proceed with our business in a new “normal” manner. Our learners could use our platform and with some additional applications, were able to continue their learning path. Parents had the knowledge that the monitoring and support from the franchise centre was there. Online learning became the new “normal” and we will never be able to thank our clients for their support and trust during this year!

But more than anything else, I saw grit in action!  Grit means courage, a show of strength of character, a never give up attitude, a true commitment… not a word you hear often, but one I now, know the meaning of and experienced first-hand. Not only amongst colleagues and franchisees, but also amongst our learners, parents and every schoolteacher.  Being involved in education we all had one goal – support learners as best we can.

I was asked to write about Master Maths’ experience of this pandemic.

This is a story of a learner’s experience, shared with me … it is but one, but a similar story was told by every franchisee I spoke to.

“Today was my first session back at the centre since lockdown. When I arrived at the centre, it felt weird and strange and honestly I was totally freaked out. Thank goodness for my mask, although I hate the thing! I was greeted by a “please wait before entering” sign at the door. There was someone coming towards me, her eyes looked vaguely familiar, but I didn’t recognize her immediately, until I heard her… hallo how are you, welcome back…of course…did she put one some weight and look at the hair…  It is sanitizing, temperature measures, cleaning shoes and questionnaires, but then I was seated and a familiar feeling of being back at the centre started kicking in.  I missed seeing my tutor…. online is ok, but not the same.”

The question most asked and written about in the media – is teaching going to change to virtual teaching in future? At Master Maths we embrace technology. It is a fantastic tool, but online tutoring only, will never be able to replace the experience of being able to see and interact with a tutor/teacher. We are happy to see us slowly getting back to business as normal!

Overcome the loss in learning due to COVID-19

Contributed by Minda Marshall of LectorSA, a member of ADESSA

A wise man once told the story of how he went on a joy ride with a boat off the South African coast. It was a beautiful day, but within a short time, a storm came up. He described how thankful he was that he had an experienced skipper. I remember how he told us that he was standing behind the skipper – watching over his shoulder.  The skipper explained to him: “You must be able to see the way through the waves,” as they safely navigated to the beach.

In the eye of the storm

Governments, educators, parents and students are currently facing a perfect storm. The challenge now is to find the way out of the storm. International figures indicate that 1.6 billion students around the world were out of school at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020. Many countries will be severely challenged to achieve their Learning Poverty goals.[i] 

According to the World Bank,we need rapid, decisive, and coordinated action. They indicate that we were already living in a learning crisis before the pandemic. The situation threatens to pose a massive setback to hard-won gains in human capital.[ii] Before the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world was already struggling with a learning crisis, with 53 per cent of children in low- and middle-income countries living in learning poverty being unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10. Up to 7 million students from primary and secondary education could drop out of school due to the income shock of the pandemic alone.[iii]

The added challenges we face is that I4R is placing a higher demand on learning, unlearning and relearning. We will all need to achieve higher, to develop more, to read faster, think smarter, learn better in the future. Even students that were doing good before might not be doing well enough going forward. We are all faced with oceans of information.  Neuroscience has shown that the cognitive load exceeds the capacity of the working memory, intellectual abilities decrease. We must find a way to increase life-long learning effectively and to bridge gaps caused in learning by, and worsen through, the lockdown.

To read the full article, click here.

Find out how you can join us in finding the way out of the storm. www.eyebraingym.com


[i] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/18/covid-19-could-lead-to-permanent-loss-in-learning-and-trillions-of-dollars-in-lost-earnings

[ii] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/18/covid-19-could-lead-to-permanent-loss-in-learning-and-trillions-of-dollars-in-lost-earnings

[iii] https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education/publication/simulating-potential-impacts-of-covid-19-school-closures-learning-outcomes-a-set-of-global-estimates

SA Company Launches A World First: AI-Based Risk Screening Mobile App – KEY FOR COVID-19

The Instant Vitals app converts a mobile phone into a key vital signs medical device that could save lives when screening for Covid-19 symptoms. The AI screening and risk management app safeguards people through detection of health risks by measuring key vital sign indicators.

South African company, UC-Wireless (Pty) Ltd, has launched Instant Vitals, the world’s first smart mobile-based app that provides advanced healthcare risk wellness and Covid-19 screening for business staff, clients and personal users. The app screens the main recognised symptoms and measures vital signs, which are key early indicators for health risk especially Covid-19, including oxygen saturation, heart rate and respiratory rate, using the mobile phone’s camera and Artificial Intelligence (AI) incorporated into the app, turning mobile devices into an easy-to-use clinical tool exhibiting an acceptable standard of medical device accuracy.

The presentation of Covid-19 in respect of the various signs and symptoms from several reviews, studies and reports, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), state that temperature measurement alone is ineffective in detecting a possible Covid-19 infection. Asymptomatic patients don’t reveal symptoms and aren’t aware of an infection. There’s proof that the critical early warning signs of Covid-19, include a reduction in oxygen saturation (below 95%), and/or a high resting heart rate (above 100 beats per minute), or an increase in respiratory rate (above 20 breaths per minute) in a resting person.

For more information, visit https://instant-vitals.com/

Quentin Daffarn – CEO of UC-Wireless

Be Prepared for the Next Level of Lockdown with FUEL

Take control of your training with Aranzi and FUEL’s FREE COVID-19 training! Make sure your company is prepared for the end of lockdown with our invaluable training solution, brought to you by FUEL Aranzi. Everything you could want in a Learning Management System whilst maintaining complete flexibility.

With the proposed phase-in of companies based on risk level, FUEL can help you to prepare your staff for the ‘new normal’. Need assistance with hygiene safety training? No problem! FUEL’s Aranzi Learning Management System (LMS) powers training for today’s innovative organisation. With the capacity to scale to hundreds of users no matter their location, straight forward reporting functionality, and an easy-to-use, customisable interface, Aranzi offers a streamlined solution to your training needs.

Our 16-part COVID-19 curriculum, covers everything learners need to know about COVID-19, from what it is, how it is spread, how to protect yourself and your family, to who in our population is at higher risk of severe infection. We look at how learners can boost their immune systems and which items in their houses are most likely to harvest the virus that could infect them. Helping employees to understand COVID-19 will ensure they can do their part to help prevent the spread of the disease through our country. Controlling the spread is vital to helping our economy and population survive this pandemic.

FUEL COVID-19 Curriculum

Module 1: Introduction to COVID-19

Module 2: What is COVID-19

Module 3: Can COVID-19 Be Transmitted Through Food

Module 4: How Long Can COVID-19 Live on Surfaces

Module 5: Strengthen Your Immune System Naturally

Module 6:  Protect Your Family Against COVID-19

Module 7: Pregnancy and Breastfeeding With COVID-19

Module 8: Children and COVID-19

Module 9: Talking to Your Children About COVID-19

Module 10: Protecting Your Children from COVID-19

Module 11: Protecting Your Home

Module 12: The Dirtiest Items in Your Home

Module 13: COVID-19 Symptoms

Module 14: When Should You Be Tested?

Module 15: Are You at Risk for Severe Infection?

Module 16: What to Do if You Get COVID-19

Digital Life Skills company responds with video training for kids at risk online

COVID-19 has kept kids indoors, isolated from friends, and driven to increased screen time. But for many, that comes with challenges.

Last week, MySociaLife, South Africa’s leading educators in online safety and social media, asked students what digital life orientation lesson they wanted next. And we were shocked by the answer…

  • 44% chose Mental Health as the topic they would request next from MySociaLife
  • 22% chose to ask for help with attention and focus 
  • 60% said their screen time had increased by 3 hours or more

Before Lockdown our teens and pre-teens struggled with life online lacking the maturity and emotional regulation to control the devices and content they watch, play and engage with for many hours a day. With increased screen time, these problems have only magnified, according to Founder of MySociaLife, Dean McCoubrey. And yet there are less than a handful of digital experts in the entire country that cover this extent of digital education.

Schools are feeling overwhelmed with firstly the rapid move to “Corona School” requirements and now back to getting schools, ready to welcome students back to a safe environment of learning and finding time to fit in the extra’s is intimidating and overwhelming but our kids need the guidance and support to ensure that they are safer and smarter online. As a result, SA’s leading ‘Digital Life Skills’ program in schools has now been made available by video for life orientation or IT teachers to run easily using a combination of lesson plan, slide deck with videos and animations, workshop exercises and an end of module test.

Click here for a video explainer.

Read MORE

Reading, writing and spelling for little ones

Keep little ones practising their reading, writing and spelling with Letterland apps available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Letterland school customers can request access to Phonics Online for learners to enjoy Letterland animations, songs and readers at home.

Visit Letterland COVID-19 Resources website for additional free downloads here.

Stay on track with learning during lockdown

Oxford University Press has partnered with digital educational platform Snapplify to make their interactive learning resources freely available during lockdown and beyond! The programme is called Free Access, and any book downloaded as part of the initiative will be available until the end of 2020 with your Snapplify account. All you need to do is:
1. Register a free Snapplify account on www.snapplify.com
2. Browse and select the e-books (https://www.snapplify.com/…/free…/publisher/oupsainteractive) you’d like
3. Download the Snapplify e-Reader app from www.getsnapplify.com to read your e-books.

Oxford will keep on supporting you to ensure that #LearningNeverStops.

Free Download of MyPedia HomeApp

To support Grade 4 to 12 learners, Pearson has made available an adapted version of its MyPedia learning platform, called MyPedia HomeApp. It allows learners to revise Term 1 content and learn Term 2 concepts through short (2-3 min) videos. Learners complete self-marking, interactive activities and work through exercises in the practice book, accessed via the app. Learners will be sent weekly assignments and can track their progress.

Parents simply need to register their child by completing an online form. Teachers are welcome to register too. Click here to complete the form.

MyPedia HomeApp can be accessed for free until 31 May 2020. Click here.

Workplace Protection During Covid-19

Edit Microsystems is excited to announce the release of their new product: Virus Shields.

Virus Shields are locally-manufactured, clear PVC screens ideal for businesses, health care providers, educational institutions, factories, and others. Virus Shields provide effective partitioning of a workplace, creating a barrier for those who need to protect their staff and customers against the spread of viruses.

The shield is easy to install and clean, ensuring a safe work environment. Three size options are available. Custom sizes are subject to a quotation.

Pricing, includes VAT, but excludes installation and delivery.