Public teaching slowly catching the Tech bug

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100 shining Stars Inside Education

Public teaching slowly catching the Tech bug by 

BIERGE KHUMALO

Technology has revolutionised almost all spheres of life and the education sector is not an exception.

A secondary school English teacher, Solomon Batsietswe says: “Integrating technology in teaching is a very good aspect that could go a long way in enhancing teaching and learning in schools.”

“Students in particular, could be kept busy and attentive as this would be a diversity to the learning methods… It is long overdue in our schools, particularly public schools,” says Batsietswe.

In his experience in the classroom, when delivering content through a power point presentation, students tend to be attentive. “When you use a different teaching method other than the traditional way, one thing is clear, attention is on its maximum for all the students. You will also be surprised that even the normally dormant students will somehow be rejuvenated and keen to experiment,” Batsietswe adds.

Technology replacing textbooks

In a country where textbook shortage is a nightmare, he says technology could rescue the education system through enabling learners to download recommended text, as well as other useful books. He explains that this would cut costs related to procuring books. Access to information through technological devices is critical as it supplements what learners are taught in class. “Through this, students will also be able to prepare for the next topic as they will have access to information thorough technology,” says Batsietswe.

He also believes that more could be achieved if “students are sent notes through emails, and other means, hence creating more time beyond the recommended contact time,” adding that online study platforms could also amplify teaching and learning.

“Technology could meaningfully revolutionalise teaching and consequently learning, provided all the schools have Internet connection and are well equipped with computers.”

A dilemma

Should technology continue to be central to education, it could render some teachers ineffective. According to Ato Ramakoba, IT graduate and founder of a Gaborone- based technology company Smartwatch, transitioning to technology for traditional teachers is a challenge.

Young people of today speak a different language. The world has changed such that there are online collaborative tools which teachers and students can use to share documents online, edit them in real time and project them on a screen, he says.

“This gives students a collaborative platform on which to brainstorm ideas and document their work using text and images,

“There are also course management tools, which teachers can use to gather all the resources students need for a class to create spaces for discussion, provide valuable grading tools, document sharing and so on,” Ramakoba adds.

He says that technology truly complements traditional teaching methods, in that it does the work in a much simpler manner while saving time and related costs.

“Naturally, learners are fascinated by technology, it sparks interest in them, so basically, I am of the view that the use of technology does help, it gets students’ attention, thus allowing them to concentrate more.”

Innovative intervention on its way

Ramakoba believes technology is a good teaching aid and learning enabler. His company is planning an online platform that can be used by students for discussions on different subjects of interest.

“Through this platform we will load a database of revision materials which students can use to interact at any time. However, we are hoping for government intervention, in providing schools with high-speed Internet connectivity. We can’t do it alone,” Ramakoba says.

Through directly targeting students, it serves teachers as well because it is extra-curricular activities like out of class revision that eases the teacher’s job.

Ramakoba’s innovation is in line with the 2015-2020 extensive strategy; (Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan), that identifies utilisation and integration of ICT as a critical priority in education.

 

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100 shining Stars Inside Education

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