A visit by volunteers whose aim it is to promote the use of technology in education around the world has transformed the way the subject is taught in Vision Afrika’s Primary School.
Team4Tech, an initiative created by blue-chip IT companies including Intel, Adobe and Autodesk, visited the School, which is based in Stellenbosch’s Kayamandi township, in May. The team, which came from California, comprised team leader Paul Campbell as well as Natalie Walsh, Nathan Eliason and Taylor Stein.
The aim of their two-week stay was to train the Primary School’s teachers and teaching assistants in how to use technology for educational purposes. The move has now enabled the teachers to incorporate technology into lessons on a day-to-day basis, which was not possible before, and has also led to the introduction of a weekly Tech Day for each class to reinforce learning.
This transformation took place after Team4Tech introduced the teachers to a range of educational websites, including Nearpod, which provides ready-to-teach interactive lessons for all grades and subjects. The application runs on Google Android-based tablets, 11 of which were donated to the School.
Other invaluable donations included five high-speed WiFi access points for the classrooms in order to connect the tablets to the internet and also enable teachers to research learning materials and record attendance levels. Twelve Lego WeDo kits were also provided, which have since been used to teach Grade 2 and 3 learners the basics of electronics and how to programme.
But Team4Tech also provided the teachers with a range of Do-It-Yourself ideas to enhance the learning experience. For example, Natalie is an expert in making “Toys from Trash” and showed them how to build towers from straw, cars from milk bottles and wiggle bots, which randomly draw patterns by means of a motor that is out of balance.
She said: “This has been the highlight of my life. Thank you for the opportunity to be here with you guys and your amazing kids.”