ISchoolAfrica

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iSchoolAfrica (iSchoolAfrica iGnite) supports ICT-induced learning through mobile classrooms. iSchoolAfrica (iGnite) is three-year programme by Core Group (the Southern African distributor of Apple products) which aims to bring the best available education technology and practices to schools in South Africa. The programme is sponsored by Apple and other businesses, ensuring Apple products are used primarily.


Core Group wants to show the government that the three main challenges to implementing technologies in schools, namely, the scarcity of skills to train students and teachers in the technology, the lack of money to deploy the technology, and the lack of physical infrastructure, could be overcome through this programme. Under the programme, schools are grouped into clusters of five, with four clusters making up a regional sector. It envisions getting public-private partnerships to collaborate in investing money and resources in the programme, so that both the public sector, essentially government and its bodies, and private organisations, such as companies and NGOs, will adopt a cluster.


The iSchoolAfrica's main office is in Gauteng, South Africa. Other mobile classrooms are organised in several towns, see further down this page.


iSchoolAfrica’s success and sustainability are based on the following:

  • The mobile classroom - no complex infrastructure required

Each participating school is issued with 1 mobile classroom containing 12 MacBooks, 12 video cameras and 1 projector. This is kept in a secure, mobile case. The mobile classroom is a way of deploying scarce resources and can be moved from classroom to classroom, ensuring integration into subject teaching and learning.


  • Access to educational technology

The critical piece of hardware is the MacBook, Apple’s special-purpose education laptop. This MacBook comes preloaded with the iLife suite of applications - allowing learners to make movies, music, websites etc. This supports creative, challenge-based learning which is used by teachers and learners to create curriculum-relevant projects. According to Core Group’s statement, it aims to bridge the digital divide in schools, by supplying them with Apple Mac products. Each school is given a mobile classroom unit, which consists of 10 MacBook White laptop computers, preloaded with video, audio, web site creation and picture applications, for the students to use. There is also one MacBook for the teacher, and one for the resident facilitator, the most competent teacher chosen by the school, and programme leadership at the end of the first year out of a pool of teachers. Other hardware in the mobile classroom unit includes 10 cameras, five projectors, a wireless router, and a heavy-duty case for use in the transport of equipment between classrooms and storage after hours.


  • The iSchoolAfrica facilitator (iSf)- skills transfer

A key focus of the programme is capacity building. The iSf works with teachers in the classroom, ensuring ongoing professional development. This set-up, consisting of the mobile classroom and facilitator, takes away barriers to implementation of technology in the classroom. Teachers are encouraged by the presence of an experienced helper who can assist in the classroom, as well as provide training outside classes. As confidence and competence develop, teachers can start to use technology independently in the classroom.


  • The school resident facilitator - ensuring sustainability

The iSf identifies and trains the most committed and capable teacher in each school to become a resident facilitator, who then take over the facilitation and become responsible for lesson plan development and integration.


  • The impact of iSchoolAfrica - igniting enthusiasm for teaching and learning

Teachers and learners are introduced to ICT in a motivating way. Learners develop creative and critical thinking skills, essential for effective and meaningful participation in daily life. Teachers are empowered. The focus of the programme is learning and teaching, not tools, nor infrastructure.


The iSchoolAfrica web site is at http://www.ischoolafrica.com


iSchoolAfrica’s Youth Press Team involves teams in more than 20 schools across South Africa using Apple technology to create newsworthy video content for TV. This project started with World Cup 2010.


Member schools and sponsors

Gauteng

  • Peermont School Support Programme Corporate Sponsorship
  1. Thuto-Lesedi Secondary School, Vosloorus
  2. Sunward Park High School, Boksburg
  3. Tembisa Secondary School
  4. Unity Secondary School, Daveyton
  5. Germiston High School
  6. Lethulwazi Secondary School, Vosloorus
  7. General Smuts High School
  • Mini SA Corporate Sponsorship
  1. Jeppe High School for Girls, Kensington
  2. National School of the Arts, Braamfontein
  3. Buhlebuzile Secondary School , Thokoza
  • Rio Corporate Sponsorship
  1. Alabama Combined School, Klerksdorp
  2. Are Fadimeheng Secondary, Klerksdorp
  3. Technical High School, Klerksdorp
  4. Sacred Heart College
  5. Zonkizizwe Secondary, Katlehong
  6. Kingsmead College, Rosebank

North-West

  • Bakubang Economic Development Unit Corporate Sponsor
  1. BEDU Schools

Western Cape

  • Khanya: Western Cape Education Department Technology in Education Project
  1. Wynberg High School
  2. Cedar High School

Eastern Cape, North-West and Limpopo

  • Republic of South Africa, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR)
  1. Hatlani Muyexe Secondary, Muyexe
  2. Dysselsdorp Secondary, Dysselsdorp
  3. Gaoplotlake Secondary North-West


References

  1. Core Group’s statement about iSchool Africa

> South Africa