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Posted by Shaun Marais Posted in Latest News

These children cross rivers to get to school each day so they can explore with their new iPads

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NOSICELO Matandabuzo was nominated by one of her Grade 4 learners as a teacher who brings change in their community in Elliotdale in the Eastern Cape.

“During break we go to borrow some of the books she sources and displays in a corner of the staffroom. In the morning she makes sure we eat and in class she ensures that we understand the lessons. She even uses her cellphone to find information for us,” Zukisiwe Mqwashele wrote in her letter.

“Our school has no electricity or running water and definitely no technology. Our learners walk about 20 km or more to get to school. They cross rivers,” Nosicelo told us.

But the fate of Putuma Junior Secondary school was about to change when General Motors (GM) came forward to sponsor an iPad lab for the school. “General Motors South Africa has made a commitment to disadvantaged communities by supporting initiatives focused on education that will hopefully play a role in the development of future leaders and entrepreneurs,” says Thanusha Pillay, PR officer at GM.

“Our learners were so excited to touch the iPads the first time. Those who were absent came very early the next day because they heard iPads were being used. There’s no more sleeping in class!” Nosicelo says.

The iPad lab contains 20 iPad minis, each with their covers, Wi- Fi functionality and a 16GB memory; a MacBook Pro laptop; a projector and an iTunes budget. They also receive an iPad mini for the teacher, training and membership to the iSchoolAfrica iPad community as well as R80 000 worth of textbooks from Oxford University Press. They will also become part of the Oxford Focus School project. Putuma learners are now using the iPads for reading, literacy and maths literacy.

“They especially like Aesop’s Fables which they can now read on the iPads,” she says.“Their attitude towards learning has changed. There are no absentees, everybody is keen to learn using the iPads and there’s no noise in class – everyone is just concentrating.

“The maths teacher is so happy because she says she can already see an improvement since we started using the iPads.”

The textbooks the school received is also simplifying learning. “Each learner now has a book. This means no photocopying and no sharing.”

“They were keen to learn more about integrating apps in their teaching and knew that the technology would change the way they approach teaching,” says Laetitia de Jager, training facilitator at iSchoolAfrica.

Nosicelo says her prayers were answered the day she heard they had won. “I thought: winning these iPads must mean that I must do what I do best – teaching and moulding a learning child to be the best citizen of our country.”