Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Siyavula- Get your groove on with Maths & Science!

Last year Schoolnet South Africa and Siyavula ( embarked on a project to roll out Mathematics and Sciences eLearning services to a selection of Gauteng schools in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).  Siyavula is an innovative educational technology organisation on a  mission to create engaging, integrated, high-quality learning experiences for learners in Mathematics and Science.

We were tasked to assist them in implementing their incredible platform at schools and providing support during the activation phase of the project.

The main aim of the intervention was to increase the number of learners using the Siyavula platform by having activation days at the schools. During the activation phase, learners registered on the platform and experienced the benefits of using the platform to improve their grades in order to have a better understanding of their schoolwork and future.

The Siyavula platform offers textbooks, interactive questions and answers, past papers and future plans. The teachers and learners were excited about the opportunities for learning and teaching. One  Mamelodi Secondary School mathematics teacher,  Mr. Ziqubu, used the platform to create a class competition, that involved learners and parents. The learner who completed and answered most Maths and science questions correctly received a laptop at the end of term 4. This resulted in enthusiastic participation and kindled a passion,  not only for winning, but also for learning while playing.

The project was such a huge success that we are confident that teachers, who attended the Siyavula training sessions during the activation phase, will be able to assign learners homework using the platform.  We are looking forward to seeing how this useful tool will further increase Maths and Science achievement in the participating schools this year.

More information about our work and partners can be found on our website Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using our @SchoolNetSA handles and our #schoolnetsa hashtag.

Friday, 24 January 2020

International Day of Education - Celebrating the Power of Education

The 24 January 2020, marks the second International Day of Education. The United Nations General Assembly adopted this day in 2018 as a means to focus attention on the role of Education in achieving Peace and Sustainable Development. The International Day of Education is firmly rooted in the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. 

It is globally believed that digital skills and the use of digital technologies for learning can contribute to closing the various gaps in Education. Through access to digital infrastructure, connectivity, digital curriculum resources, and digital learning, we will be better equipped to achieve quality education for all.

With the conversation of #4IR on the tip of our tongues, educational technologies have the affordance and potential of addressing many educational inadequacies. On this International Day of Education, we celebrate SchoolNet South Africa and its contribution over the past twenty-three years to provide professional development and support to teachers, learners, senior leadership in schools, education officials, and digital skills to out of school youth and communities in under-served areas throughout the country.

We know first-hand that professional development opportunities in South Africa are deeply varied and currently are displayed in different forms; it can be limited to attending meetings and conferences, advocacy around new ideas, or as is the case in many instances, is a one-size fits all training session that dulls the brain and crushes the soul with impractical methods that are not easily implementable in the classroom. 

Research has shown and our practice depicts that professional development should engage teachers and school administrators as learners themselves, and accompany them on the path as they grow, both personally and as professionals, to do their jobs even better, and make a positive difference in the lives of children so that they can achieve their full potential.

More information about our work and partners can be found on our website Follow us on Instagram and Twitter using our @SchoolNetSA handles.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Maths, Science and Technology Curriculum Support Project

In Partnership with The Rand Water Foundation, SchoolNet SA delivered tutoring and teaching support to ten schools located in the Johannesburg West district. The project aimed to provide teacher and learner support on the use of digital technologies and resources in order to improve their teaching and learning in Mathematics, English, Science and Technology. The ten schools were divided into five schools with no ICT equipment and five schools with full ICT, where the Grade 7s had sufficient devices for a 1:1 learner to device ratio.

Classroom support visits were provided per school and ensured that learners were using tablets with carefully selected curriculum-based apps. The purpose of these support visits was to introduce learners to digital applications for learning curriculum content in Maths, Natural Science and English. Additionally, these classroom support was to assist teachers with engaging ideas for using digital resources to help create more excitement about learning whilst teaching the core curriculum. Each classroom support was monitored by a skilled Support Specialist employed by SchoolNet SA.

The classroom visits were very successful, where learners showed great excitement using digital applications for learning. For example, Maths Rocket, helped learners with the basics of mathematics, from initial counting and multiplication skills to algebra. Another application called, Word-Connect helped learners understand word construction and sentence formation and Solar System Scope provided an amazing introduction to Space and astronomy.

The project has proven to be a success, as learners improved their reading and understanding. Most teachers have become more aware of the power of 4IR technologies in the teaching and learning situation and are now excited about digital teaching in their classrooms. So this project demonstrates that Educational Technology is not simply about providing access, but more importantly ensuring that curriculum content and life skills are taught using pedagogies that engage and excite learning in the classroom.

For more information and to be included in our SACE endorsed programmes, workshops and webinars, Sign up to be a SchoolNet Member (It’s Free for now!!).

Thursday, 16 January 2020

This is what dedication looks like

December, a festive season, and usually a time for holiday planning, was spent in a flurry of activity for SchoolNet. In partnership with SYSPRO and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS), SchoolNet facilitated workshops to over two hundred and fifty (250) youth and community members in three provinces.

Workshops were hosted in Gauteng (Yeoville, Dobsonville, and Alexandra), Limpopo (Lephalale) and KwaZulu Natal (Eshowe and Madadeni). The Digital skills and Literacy programme as customised to suit the needs of participants and included with basic digital skills, an understanding of how to use computers effectively and how to apply computer skills in their everyday life and entrepreneurship activities.

The programme offered two major components, namely, Microsoft’s Deploying Technical support Solutions, and using Coding resources from Minecraft and Scratch. There was a huge focus on digital skills relating to hardware components, software applications and an introduction to computational thinking and the basics principal of coding.

Ms Eketleng Mahibela, one of the participants, reported that:

‘’I learned about the different computer components and how to put them together, as well as the safety of the internet. I learned what a virus is and when using a computer it is important to have an anti-virus. I am thankful to the SchoolNet team for helping me understand the importance of internet privacy and teaching me a lot.”

For more information and to be notified about our free workshops and webinars, please complete the form below, or click on this link.