Dynamic classroom environments, engaged learners and supported teachers; TechEd and partner the Breteau Foundation are cultivating and uniting them all!
Dynamic classroom environments, engaged learners and supported teachers; TechEd and partner, the Breteau Foundation are cultivating and uniting them all!
Launched in 2014 the MRP Foundation’s TechEd Project began in just one school in rural KwaZulu-Natal. This year the project has expanded its technological footprint with a new innovative international partner, The Breteau Foundation, joining the team. They share in the project’s vision of inspiring learning through fun tablet-based technology as well as realising how tablets can be an effective education tool to bridge the learning divide.
As part of their worldwide pilot phase of their tablet-based programme, the Breteau Foundation’s programme has been deployed in two of the MRP Foundation’s RedCap schools, Nyakana Combined Primary School and Zilungisele Primary School, for a period of two years.
The tablets have been loaded with advanced educational apps in the key learning areas of literacy, numeracy, creativity and critical thinking for foundation phase learning. The first tablet sessions in the Grade R to Grade three classrooms of the two schools reaped excited responses from both learners and teachers. There was constant chattering, sharing of learning experiences and celebrations of correct answers.
What sets the Breteau Foundation apart from other technology education initiatives is their huge focus on spending quality training time with the teachers, helping them to create inspiring classroom environments that are ripe for learning.
Camille Agon, Programme Manager for the Breteau Foundation in South Africa, reiterated this focus saying:
“We don’t believe that technology should replace teachers but rather be a tool to make classroom instruction more efficient. The best outcome to the programme would be a group of confident and knowledgeable teachers who are using the technology and apps in the classroom on a weekly basis, mapping apps to their own curriculum and being creative in the classroom. And of course, produce engaged and motivated learners.”
The recent teacher training at the two MRP Foundation schools proved a fruitful exercise. Mona Ewees, instructional specialist at the Breteau Foundation related how:
“In SA teachers are often undervalued and not given sufficient resources and support to be the best they can be. Once we had worked through the initial fear of the technology they saw the impact in their lessons. The kids’ enthusiastic response to the tablets and their engagement with the apps further eased the teachers’ fear.”
The MRP Foundation welcomes the Breteau Foundation’s invaluable partnership. Creesen Naicker, MRP Foundation Executive Committee Member and TechEd Project Manager, sees the benefits of technology saying:
“We believe that given the right tools and an enabling environment, our learners can bridge the gap of a divided education system and be better prepared for driving South Africa’s future. Technology may just be the game-changer in giving them that opportunity.”
All avenues of the TechEd Project, including the Breteau Foundation, will be independently tested by Next Level Outcomes, contributing to vital research on technology and education. A big thank you must be said once again to all of TechEd’s partners who have helped to make this technology project come alive.
RedCap Schools – A holistic education programme in five schools in KwaDukuza focused on improving learner performance.
TechEd– A technology in education programme funded and facilitated by the MRP Foundation.
Global Literacy Project (GLP)- A child-driven learning movement using tablet-based technology to tackle the widespread problem of illiteracy and poor education.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab- A GLP Platform and Content Development Partner who helped design the GLP Project.
Tufts University Language Centre- As one of thePlatform and Content Development Partners of the GLP Tufts finds and develops the content for the colourful learning apps which the tablets are preloaded with.
Georgia State University Psychology Department- One of thePlatform and Content Development Partner of the GLP.
Breteau Foundation- Part of the literacy component of TechEd the Breteau Foundation aims to bring digital learning platforms to underprivileged school children.
Khan Academy- Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Khan Academy is used as part of the numeracy component of TechEd.
Numeric- Numeric is using Khan Academy to create exciting and high impact learning environments around South Africa.
KA Lite- An offline version of Khan Academy. It is a lightweight solution providing high-quality education by bringing the power of online learning to the offline world. KA Lite is part of the numeracy component of TechEd.
Shepid- IT and Technical Support.
AirBand- A focused wireless broadband company that provides the bandwidth for the TechEd project.
Bodill Education- Independent Maths testing and curriculum consultants.
Next Level Outcomes- The independent research organisation responsible for facilitating the testing and evaluation study on the TechEd Project.
The South African Post Office- Donated funds towards the TechEd Project.