THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN CONTRIBUTED BY DIGITAL GENERATION (DG), A MEMBER OF ADESSA.
Digital Generation, or DG, as we’ve become known, is one of South Africa’s leading information and communications technology (ICT) companies. We have more than 21 years’ experience in most aspects of the IT industry, as well as extensive insights into the technology challenges and requirements of businesses in most industries and sectors. As a black, women-owned business, we’re also very much in touch with the imperative for transformation, and we are committed to using our position, influence, and extensive networks to help drive the transformation of not just our industry, but our country as well.
Our position as a premier provider of holistic, innovative, value-adding IT solutions, and a part of the renowned Alviva Holdings Group, allows us to achieve this objective, while our partnerships with all the major technology brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) ensures that our customers have access to very best, cutting-edge technology products, services and solutions. These range from end user devices like laptops, desktops and tablets to vast physical and cloud-based data storage solutions, digital consulting services and digital asset management solutions.
Passionate about education
In recognition of the vital role that quality education has to play in creating opportunities for young people and building the next generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries who will drive South Africa’s future economic growth, DG established an education focused IT sales team called IgnITe Young Minds in 2015. This dedicated team focuses specifically on bringing advanced technology to education institutions and projects with the purpose of igniting South Africa’s youth through digitally enabled education.
The IgnITe Young Minds team was founded on the firm belief, backed by extensive global research, that when you put appropriate technology in the hands of educators, learners and students, subject matter engagement levels increase, accurate assessment is enabled, and overall education outcomes are enhanced.
By leveraging DG’s 21 years of experience in corporate sales and technology lifecycle management, and harnessing our extensive network of leading global OEMs and tech brands – like Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Proline and Mecer – the IgnITe Young Minds team delivers world-leading education-enabling technology to schools and institutions, at highly affordable prices.
More than just product suppliers
Importantly, the DG IgniTE Young Minds offering goes far beyond merely ‘selling’ IT products to education organisations. Our years of experience in the corporate world have shown us the value that can be unlocked when we partner with our clients, and work closely with them to fully understand their changing needs in order to provide them with best advice on which technology is best suited to their unique learning environment and desired outcomes. This same philosophy underpins our education services, and the learning institutions we partner with see DG as a trusted adviser who shares their vision of building better futures through appropriate and accessible digital learning.
We also understand that for most education institutions, especially those that operate on a non-profit basis, budget constraints are a daily challenge. That’s why, DG has flexible rental or financing options, including an innovative rent-to-own structure that puts the latest technology within reach of most organisations, and their learners.
This combination of a partnership based approach, trusted advice-led solutions, and innovative funding models has earned us a place in the Schoolscape 2021 listing of the top 21 companies trusted to provide schools with the best digital products and services at the most accessible prices.
For more information about DG’s IgnITe Young Minds solutions, or to discuss ways in which a partnership with DG can enhance the achievement of your desired education outcomes, call 086 175 9266, email email@example.com or visit www.dg.co.za.
We are pleased to welcome DG (Digital Generation) as a member of ADESSA.
With over 21 years’ experience in the ICT sector with global OEM partner statuses, DG is one of the leading black women-owned ICT companies in South Africa. DG can be trusted to deliver holistic, innovative and value added solutions into education.
DG can transform the ICT lifecycle management landscape through innovation, world-class technology and exceptional client service!
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have adopted a fully or hybrid remote approach to working. With an established workforce, this is a manageable transition, however, organisations will need to think about how they effectively onboard future employees.
The dramatic shift away from established office working, to the majority of workforces now working from home, has revealed significant benefits that have led to many organisations making the change a permanent one. Employers are realising that they can significantly reduce overhead costs and are no longer geographically limited in their hiring choices. Many businesses are also adopting a hybrid approach to capitalise on work-from-home advantages and mitigating the disadvantages. The hot desk is ready to make a comeback as businesses offer smaller, flexible office spaces for team members to drop in one or two days a week. However, the need for effective onboarding is more essential than ever. Organisations need to ensure that they are able to onboard future employees seamlessly.
Identify important information
Whether you’re an experienced onboarder or just starting out, the first step is to identify the content that new employees need to know to get started. Don’t give in to the temptation to try communicate everything at once. That approach will overwhelm your onboarding programme and will likely leave you with a new employee who has struggled to retain the basic and most important information they need to function in their role. The best approach is to determine two or three learning objectives. This can be done by refining the information to cover what your new employee needs to be able to do in their role. Potential learning objectives may be:
Apply company values to their work
Identify and use appropriate tools for completing tasks
Follow company policies
Clear learning objectives will help you to carefully review all potential content and evaluate the value of each piece to identify what content is truly relevant to your onboarding programme and what is better placed elsewhere. These will help you to order your content into what is most urgent, informing your content creation roadmap.
Create your content
All training content needs to be informed by your onboarding learning objectives. If you have existing onboarding material that needs to be converted, it is useful to bear in mind that no content is unusable; all existing legacy content can be adjusted to suit delivery through an online training methodology, organisations just need to understand how to utilize what currently exists. An experienced online training service provider, like FUEL, is more than capable of ensuring that all existing content is revised and utilized so no skills knowledge is lost during the implementation phase. FUEL excels at successfully converting existing training content into engaging, online training modules for maximum return on investment. We offer a full-service production service, from script to screen. Our ‘Presenter to camera’ methodology provides a vital transitional link for learners moving from classroom-based learning to online training. Our green-screen studio is equipped with state-of-the-art camera and lighting equipment and we offer a range of production packages to meet both your learning objectives and your budget.
Assign training leaders
Assigning a Training Leader to a new employee, will ensure that they get the support and motivation that they require when making the shift to working online. For many employees who are used to having the support of colleagues in the office environment, the shift to working remotely will be challenging.
A training leader will be able to monitor the progress of learners through their modules and can offer regular check-ins with those who are struggling to adapt to the new way of working. The most unique challenge of all virtual activity, including training staff to work online, is social isolation. Check-ins help remote workers feel a sense of community. If those workers are left ignored for too long, it could potentially impact employee health and wellness and be a drag on productivity.
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Mrs Zaskia Kuun, Deputy Principal of Monte Vista Primary School, says that the use of Clevertouch boards, sourced from IAS-AV, has been “a positive experience”.
Ms Kuun says: “We purchased the Clevertouch boards in 2018. Since then it has been embraced by all educators; we currently have 29 Interactive screens. Our learners are very visual and grow up knowing how to use screens (tablets, phones) and technology. This is a familiar medium for them and engages them in lessons. The end goal for every educational institution should always be to maintain high academic standards and to prepare learners for the ‘real’ world. When they leave the school they should be able to face challenges with a framework of familiar knowledge. Our learners are being exposed to technology from grade 1 and feel comfortable in using this medium on a daily basis. We do not want to bring tablets into the classroom as we feel that the board provides a good balance between being exposed to technology and still learning valuable skills like writing, planning, spatial awareness and creativity. The support and after sales service that we have had has been phenomenal. The one learner called it a ‘tablet on steroids’. The fact that all the software and training is free, there are no projector globes that needed to be replaced or additional teacher laptops to be procured, it meant that the SGB would not need to find additional funding. The Clevertouch Screen is an all-in-one teaching device, that is simple to use.”
The impact of COVID-19 on education could be felt for as long as ten years. By the end of 2020, it was estimated that despite efforts made in both the private and public schools, “children lost a full six months of learning and even now they’ve gone back, it’s patchy because they can only go one or two days a week,” a statement made by education expert, Professor Nicky Roberts.
Furthermore, South Africa is not unique. According to the UNESCO Monitoring Report, 192 countries had implemented nationwide closures, affecting about 99% of the world’s student population, and a total of 1.75 billion learners.
Simultaneously, the pandemic forced disruption in ways of learning. Innovators accelerated blended learning, distance learning and open educational applications to reduce disruption to education, following a suggestion by UNESCO, and in so doing, propelled e-learning by three to five years.
With the third wave of COVID-19 currently hitting Europe, open schools may once again be under threat with online education as the only real alternative. The challenge for parents and educators is sifting through the mountain of new digital education programs on offer – from maths and science to coding and drone technology. How does a parent or school discern the quality, credibility and differentiators of each education platform? It’s not easy. Meanwhile, education companies need to work harder to stand out in the tsunami of content in this evolving industry.
Steve McDonald, the co-founder at animation and video studio, 3rdfloor, explains, “The industry is in total flux. Online education platforms are desperate to stand out. They want to catch the attention of learners and educators and hold it. Their websites and social media are their shop window, so that initial impression really matters. Google Analytics shows that the bounce rate – the percentage of people who land on your website and then leave without visiting another page – is almost 57%. In other words, you have to make it count.”
Animated videos help businesses and organisations simplify their message and show their target audience who they really are. A good video will draw on a number of tools from the animation toolbox – animated infographics, custom character design and a style that is made to catch the attention of the viewer you are speaking to.
“Animated videos are also extremely versatile: we often make multiple versions in different languages, edit videos into bite-size ‘cut downs’ for various social platforms, pull out gifs and images and even offer a full digital asset library which our clients can use across their entire brand,” he adds.
3rdfloor is currently creating a series of animated videos for MySociaLife, the South African digital life skills program which teaches online safety, media literacy and social media awareness in schools.
MySociaLife’s founder, Dean McCoubrey, says, “We educate students and parents, teachers and psychologists, and we teach eight different modules about the complexity of life online. It’s a lot to explain: we didn’t believe that our story could be told in 90 seconds. The animated explainer encapsulates it all so concisely, and the animated characters make the program memorable. The feedback has been phenomenal.”
Warren Willmott, Animation Director at 3rdfloor, adds: “Every client is different, so we conceptualise and design the entire visual universe according to the brand and message that your video needs to convey. Not only does this help you stand out from the crowd, but it also gives your message longevity.”
He also proposes some considerations for educators looking to produce animated videos:
Focus on the story: You can’t have an engaging video without an engaging script. Spend time on this part of the process and make sure you get it right.
Keep it short: We usually say 90 seconds is a good duration, but if you can tell your story in less then go for it. Anything that doesn’t perform a function must go.
Be brave. Be bold: A little humour and quirkiness go a long way. So does the choice of music, voice artist and the use of sound effects. Don’t be afraid to go with cool ideas that are different – go with them because they’re different.
You get what you pay for: There are no shortcuts, good work takes time. So before you choose your supplier, look closely at their body of work and the level of detail they offer.
The making of the animated video is here: https://vimeo.com/528828133 “To stand out in the digital noise that is the media environment of today, you really have to be able to tell a story on multiple levels. It’s visual, informative and emotional, and if you can strike the right balance, your video will connect with people and be remembered.”