Prayers answered with iPads

By admin
19 March 2015

These children cross rivers to get to school each day so they can learn on their new iPads

Nosicelo Matandabuzo was nominated by one of her Grade 4 learners as an exemplary teacher in their community in Elliotdale in the Eastern Cape.


“During break we go to borrow books she sources and displays in a corner of the staffroom,” learner Zukisiwe Mqwashele wrote in her letter. “In the morning she makes sure we eat and in class she ensures we understand the lessons. She even uses her cellphone to find information for us.” “Our school has no electricity or running water and definitely no technology,” Nosicelo told us. “Our learners walk about 20 km or more to get to school. They cross rivers.” But Putuma Junior Secondary school has been given a big boost since General Motors (GM) came forward to sponsor an iPad lab for the school.

'I thought that winning these iPads means I must do what I do best – teaching and moulding a learning child to be the best citizen of our country.'

“General Motors South Africa has made a commitment to disadvantaged communities by supporting initiatives focused on education that will hopefully play a role in the development of future leaders and entrepreneurs,” says Thanusha Pillay, PR officer at GM.

“Our learners were so excited to touch the iPads the first time,” Nosicelo says. “Those who were absent came very early the next day because they heard iPads were being used. There’s no more sleeping in class!”

The iPad lab contains 20 iPad Minis, each with covers, Wi-Fi functionality and a 16 GB memory; a MacBook Pro laptop; a projector and an iTunes budget. They also receive an iPad mini for the teacher, training and membership to the iSchoolAfrica iPad community as well as R80 000 worth of textbooks from Oxford University Press. They will also become part of the Oxford Focus School project.

Putuma learners are now using the iPads for reading, literacy and maths literacy. “They especially like Aesop’s Fables which they can now read on the iPads,” Nosicelo says.“Their attitude towards learning has changed. There are no absentees, everybody’s keen to learn using the iPads and there’s no noise in class – everyone is concentrating.

“The maths teacher is so happy because she says she can already see an improvement since we started using the iPads.” The textbooks the school received are also simplifying learning. “Each learner now has a book. This means no photocopying and no sharing.”

“During the training teachers were keen to learn about integrating apps in their lessons and knew that the technology would change the way they approach teaching,” says Laetitia de Jager, training facilitator at iSchoolAfrica. Nosicelo says her prayers were answered the day she heard they had won. “I thought that winning these iPads means I must do what I do best – teaching and moulding a learning child to be the best citizen of our country.”

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We thank our sponsors: General Motors, iSchoolAfrica and Oxford University Press.

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