The International Day for Universal Access to Information, was celebrated on September 28th, and serves as a great reminder of a fundamental human right, that we all have access to information. In the current technology age, information is the most valuable currency and is available in many different formats.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) declared the 28th of September as the International Day for Universal Access to Information back in 2015. However, what does this mean to us locally?
Invaluable learning aids – In South Africa, we have a human right to education and this hard-fought battle goes a long way in trying to bridge the inequities in our society, particularly amongst those who are previously disadvantaged.
When we reflect on the importance of providing everyone with access to knowledge and technology, particularly in the context of education, it becomes even clearer how significant The Love Trust’s Nokuphila School’s revolutionary IT Lab (Information Technology Laboratory) is.
The Nokuphila School in Thembisa is a primary school that provides quality Christian education. Their aim is to change lives through their commitment to uplifting individuals and local communities through education.
Matshoene Tladi, head of ICT and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at Nokuphila says that teaching IT (Information Technology) skills and upskilling learners in technology from a young age should not merely be considered a side-effect of modern education. Tladi says we should view this as a great way to enhance learning, not only through the use of educational apps, but by recognising how these skills help learners to hone their critical thinking and research capabilities. Ultimately, teaching IT skills better prepares students for the workplace environment by teaching them the appropriate expertise needed in the modern workplace.
Teaching since 2018, Tladi, discovered his passion for teaching through his involvement with the Christ Church Sunday School, in Midrand. He initially qualified as an EMS teacher (Economics and Management Sciences), but has been studying whilst working, completing short courses in IT and Robotics, and now teaches Mathematics and IT to the learners.
Age appropriate use of technology is key – Tladi says that their uses of technology as a teaching aid is carefully considered, and balances giving the learners exposure whilst limiting the times and tools that are appropriate for them.
He believes in introducing them to educational software and apps that serve to further improve their learning experience. Once the school has reviewed what software they will be using in lessons, they determine the appropriate time-limits for those particular programmes.
From Grades 000 – 3, they have access to the IT Lab for about 30-45 minutes per week, where they show the learners how to turn a computer on and off, and use basic applications such as Paint and Microsoft Word.
From Grade 4 onwards, the learning evolves to include more advanced programmes such as Scratch, which is a free coding programme designed for children that allows them to create stories and games to share with their friends.
Another fun education based programme is Robomind, which provides learners with a simple programming environment with its own scripting language, designed to provide them with the chance to grasp fundamental computer science concepts through the simulated robot programming.