Western Cape Education Department Explores E-Learning Options
"With assistance from the Department of Education, the WCED have entered into a partnership with Mindset Network, which develops and distributes educational content via satellite TV," said Grant.
"Mindset has made material available to Grades 10 to 12 learners at 360 schools in the Province, using network servers, satellite dishes and display devices, such as television, data projectors and computers. This enables schools to use lessons for group teaching by receiving digital content from Mindset via satellite. The material is also available for individual student use in the computer laboratories."
Grant said that the WCED has trained teachers in how to use this technology and that district curriculum officials are monitoring the use of the system.
"The Khanya project is also continuing to grow. To date 1 079 schools have been provided with computer facilities (42 195 PCs) and a further 103 schools are in the process of receiving similar facilities. In addition 969 interactive whiteboards have been installed, with a further 525 in the process of being installed in 150 schools across the province," he said.
Grant said that with the collaboration of Stellenbosch University, interactive telematic teaching was being piloted in 10 of the province's schools.
"Lessons from the telematic programme are being beamed live to 10 schools in selected subjects. The lessons used in this pilot will also be distributed through CD to all schools in Western Cape."
"Another pilot study is underway to test distance teaching, where teachers use an interactive whiteboard to teach a lesson in one classroom, which can then be transmitted to another classroom (either in the same school, or another school), allowing learners in the secondary venues to comment or ask questions. In this way good teachers will be able to teach more than one class."
Grant said that should the findings of the pilot projects align with the aims and expectations of the WCED, a wider roll-out of these programmes would be considered.
"We are, of course, looking at further e-technology interventions. Only last week I was at the e-learning education week in Midrand, where I met a number of potential technology partners. Similar meetings will take place over the next month with a view to ensuring quality teaching through the use of, wherever possible, cutting edge technology."