Leading experts in education and technology, in partnership with Fundi, gathered in Sandton to discuss the role technology can play in educating children.
Fundi, a credit service provider which focuses on providing funds for education, aimed to discuss how technology can have a positive and meaningful impact and create innovative solutions for education.
Sandile Hogana, the head of product for Fundi, emphasised how technology has improved the sharing of knowledge and allows learners and teachers from around the world to get access to the same information.
Marjorie Brown, a history teacher at Roedean School and a top 10 finalist in the Global Teacher Prize, said that education is about more than just teaching content. It should teach children how to look beyond the content and understand the context.
“I think the challenge of technology in education is not just to further the content but to be a tool for critical thinking and global reach, and this requires technology to work hand in hand with the teacher and promote analysis of content.”
Professor of learning technologies at the University of Johannesburg, Duan van der Westhuizen, echoed Brown’s sentiments and said that merely providing learners with a tablet is the equivalent of writing the content on a blackboard. “I think starting with the teachers is very important.
“A lot of these people are techies, and there’s nothing wrong with a techie, but a techie is not a teacher, so to go into a workshop where you learn Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc without that application, then it won’t work. It’s not about learning words, it’s about learning to use a word’s function to build an argument.”
Lucretia Khumalo, the managing executive of fund administration for Fundi, emphasised the importance of having teachers who were well equipped to facilitate the use of technology and use it to contribute to lessons.
Brown concluded, “We have to have a holistic vision, and the holistic vision has to be building literacy and building IT literacy with a designated IT lesson with a qualified teacher who will then be able to train other staff in the school and bring them up to speed.”
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