From traditional teaching and learning methods to high-tech tablet e-learning, learners at Masibambane Junior Primary School, in Orange Farm, are to become technologically savvy.
Through the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme, learning and teaching is set to become more exciting, thanks to a donation of 250 tablets by MoneyGram.
The handover event, on Wednesday, recognised and celebrated the Masibambane students as the first South African recipients of the OLPC’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Learning Environment program.
The MoneyGram Foundation’s grant facilitates the initiation of the OLPC pilot program and provides access to technology to the Masibambane School as a way to support and supplement its existing curriculum.
This XO tablet-based program is intended to combat social exclusion and to encourage individual empowerment amongst student users.
“The MoneyGram Foundation is a g aocate for education worldwide and focuses on high-impact initiatives such as this one,” said Anton Luttig, Regional Director for South and East Africa at MoneyGram.
“We were especially intrigued and excited by the idea that each one of the 250 tablets distributed here today will be used and reused by so many deserving students, maximizing the reach and impact of the donation,” he said.
The XO tablet that the OLPC Masibambane Learning Environment program is centred on was developed by America’s prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and features a 7.5-inch optical multi-touch display screen.
It is loaded with an array of e-learning software that both enables and tracks each child’s educational progress.
“The fact that Masibambane itself developed an overarching ICT development plan for learners and teachers is a key reason why we were attracted to this particular school,” said Mark Kaplan, Executive Chairman of OLPC South Africa Foundation.
“As of now, only a little over 6 000 of South Africa’s more than 25 000 schools are ICT-enabled. If we are to conquer South Africa’s growing digital divide, it is vital that more South African schools and their surrounding communities develop similar ICT educational plans and partner with sponsors like the MoneyGram Foundation and OPLC to bring that plan into action,” he said.
Along with Luttig and Kaplan, other attendees of the Masibambane donation event included Gabriel Wilson, Senior Marketing Manager of South and East Africa at MoneyGram, Peter Mureu, Marketing Manager of South and East Africa, and other representatives of MoneyGram International and OLPC organisations – along with members of the local community, the Department of Basic Education, and Technical Aisor Pendula ICT.
OPLC is the world’s foremost non-profit organisation dedicated to offering children in developing countries access to affordable laptops and tablets.
OLPC strives to provide children worldwide with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, Linux-based, connected XO laptops.
It has designed hardware, content and software for collaborative and self-empowered learning. The laptops have wireless broadband so each laptop can talk to its nearest neighbours, creating a local area network for students and their teachers.
Source : SAnews.gov.za