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How can we overcome the challenge of Teaching and learning during a deadly global pandemic?


May 20 at 10:05

Like in many countries around the world, South African schools will remain closed for the period lock-down which is aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Schools then suspended all classes by sending students home, as an attempt to flatten the rate of transmission. As contingency, Schools then urged for parents’ assistance to ensure that learning continues at home. This continuity strategy is set out for learners not to loose the academic year. With the recent announcement of zero-rated educational websites, it is an indication of how seriously the South African mobile networks providers take their role to contribute positive to society.

I think it is safe to say that Education systems everywhere must begin a long-term plan of building a distance education system, so learning can continue swiftly even after the next pandemic. By allowing learners to do revision through online platforms like Tendopro, where they have access fun content, cycle tests/exam preparation content and contribute to a greater online community by engaging with other learners. All this monitored by both parents and teachers through the teacher/parent dashboard.

Online learning may be the most ideal way to continue learning but it demands time, appropriate content, money, tools and imposes numerous demands on Teachers and Learners. Department Partners like Tendopro have issued solution on the 2 most majors concern in distance learning. Which is a platform for leaning (Tendopro) and a Zero data communicational app called TendoCHAT(to be launched soon).

With schools earmarked to reopen on the 6th of May, schools might want to begin to run a Remote Teaching Orientation week to test that all the students are online and provide substantive support to the students who are struggling in the interim. Provisions should be made for students to have catch-up contact session if necessary, on a weekly/forth nightly basis while putting measure in place to flatten the curve.

Returning to schools will never be the same, as almost 400 schools in south African has been vandalised during the covid-19 lockdown. The most common target areas in schools are administration blocks and classrooms for information and communication technology (ICT) equipment and nutrition centres for food items. 

 

A question what one would ask is, what options are available now for distance education to continue teaching during COVID-19?

Well solutions are run through various available sources at the comfort your home. And they are as follows:

  1. Radio – 13 National Radio stations given slots to focus n specific contents on targeted times and other  local radio stations. Follow link for more info.
  2. Television – SABC channels set to run teaching and learning sessions, mindset tv on DSTV(319) and Openview TV channel (201). Follow link for more info.
  3. Mobile phones - mobile users with Vodacom, Telkom and MTN, some of the following websites do not incur data charges, depending on your network carrier. Provincial sites are available as well. Follow link for more info.
  4. Online learning -
  5. Social Media - Facebook, WhatsApp, TendoCHAT just to name a few

  6. Webinars - Since most webinar platforms involve a cost (Zoom is free for up to 40 minutes) or a limit participants (for example Skype, though it is not a webinar platform technically), one may want to try two free webinar platforms that are good for scale for teaching and learning.

    A practical example would be, teachers hosting an online webinar, record it to then share with leaners through contact sessions by using ICT tools like TendoCAP which can connect up to 45 concurrent learners to download content directly to their mobile devices.

 

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