SA schools get IT upgrade

2013-10-20 14:01

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iPads make classrooms more exciting

In just five minutes, 11-year-old Lethabo Mokoholo delivers an enchanting lesson to her classmates about the Bapedi culture and lifestyle.

Her teaching tool? An iPad, on which the Grade 6 Moshoeshoe Primary School pupil created an e-book complete with words, pictures and sounds.

But Mokoholo is not the exception at her Daveyton school – she’s one of the 745 pupils who learns and teaches with an iPad.

Currently,the school is unusual, but the Gauteng department of education has announced that, from January next year, it will spend R400 million dishing out 88 000 Huawei Android-powered tablets, with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, to all the province’s 2 200 schools.

It’s not just Gauteng that’s getting wired. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga told City Press that prescribed textbooks and workbooks were now available in digital form and could be downloaded for iPads and other tablets.

Moshoeshoe Primary’s iPads were donated by the Peermont Group (Emperors Palace) and the Core Group via the iSchool Africa project – the companies’ social responsibility programme.

Pupils share 50 iPads, which are kept at the school, and they use the devices to help them grasp mathematical concepts and learn English.

The iSchool Africa project has donated a number of iPads to 24 other schools in Gauteng’s Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng regions.

City Press spent some time with Moshoeshoe Primary’s Grade 3 pupils as they used the Pop Maths app, which presents a number of problems pupils have to match with answers as quickly as possible. At the end of the exercise, the app supplies the correct answers and tells pupils how long it took them to do the work. Pupils are excited, and their teachers are thrilled.

“I was ready to quit teaching because of stress, but I changed my mind the day they introduced these gadgets,” said teacher Josephine Novukuza.

“It now takes very little time to prepare a lesson. There are very few discipline issues now as the kids are always fascinated and busy.”

Principal Judith Ntamane said since the introduction of the iPads three years ago, literacy and numeracy levels had improved dramatically.

“Parents in the area all want to bring their kids here now, but unfortunately we have to turn them away as we can’t accommodate everyone,” she said.

Young Mokholo is a huge fan of the device. “I didn’t know I’d be using an iPad in class. It’s awesome. Many of us stay at school after hours to have more time with the iPads.”

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