Fact: technology makes life easier and more fun. But beyond convenience and enjoyment, leveraging ICT to advance education outcomes improves engagement and knowledge retention. When we integrate ICT into classroom lessons, students become more engaged in their work.
Over the past few months, our digital implementation partner, Edunova, has been running an ICT Leadership Programme for school leaders at our Khulani Schools. The course supports schools in creating a vision for ICT and developing a roadmap towards achieving a schoolwide ICT strategy. Ultimately, these plans enable schools to reach learning outcome targets per learner, guided by South Africa’s National Development Plan.
At a recent workshop, educators learned about the importance of storytelling and contemporary communication styles that engage learners in the modern-day classroom. The workshop included practical activities, followed by peer evaluation using criteria such as clarity of the message and alignment to an educational theme.
“We all love stories, and every subject can be taught through a story. Whether it is Mathematics, Economics or Life Sciences, each lesson has a beginning, middle and end. Educators must learn how to teach through engaging stories.”
– Zanele Mchunu, Edunova Storytelling Facilitator.
Post Covid-19, teachers were forced to explore digital teaching methods, fast-tracking a shift in what’s considered proper classroom communication. As a result, attitudes towards video messages, school WhatsApp groups and even emojis are beginning to change.
According to the Global Trend Emoji Report, emojis have become an essential communication tool for creating unity, respect understanding of one another and are increasingly preferred by Gen Zs. In the same token, videos are generally enjoyable to watch and can convey crucial information within minutes. They are also able to explain unique concepts and make the subject matter come to life.
“One of the things I love about technology is how we can cross teach as educators. Suppose a peer from another school is proficient on a certain topic in one of my subjects, whereas I struggle. In that case, I can ask them for a video and then share it with my learners in our class WhatsApp group. I’ve also seen how learners respond to emojis and stickers. They help us connect on a deeper level.”
– Zanele Diphoko, HOD for Economics Management Sciences at Eqinisweni Secondary School.
Without a doubt, ICT must be integrated into everyday learning. Still, to become a confident user of ICT in the classroom, teachers need to participate in ongoing training and become learners themselves.
Our communities still face challenges such as high data costs and a lack of adequate digital infrastructure. However, innovative ICT practices bring us one step closer to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that no child or educator is left behind.