MATHEMATICS and science pupils at eight schools in Komani, King William’s Town and Port Alfred are benefiting from a leading-edge technology-linked support pro- gramme, run by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Govan Mbeki mathematics development unit, in partnership with BK Administrators, a charitable trust in the Border region.
Training is also being provided to teachers at the schools – which include Komani’s Get Ahead College, Queen’s College, Girls’ High School and Hangklip High School; King William’s Town’s Dale College, Kingsridge High School and De Vos Malan High School; and Port Alfred High School.
GMMDU’s innovative teaching and learning programme – packaged as TouchTutorTM software – is available on tablets for selected pupils (for use as “personal tutors” outside school hours), desktop computers for general use by pupils, and laptops for teachers (for use as a teaching resource within the classroom).
TouchTutorTM includes recorded video lessons and animated PowerPoint presentations, which are fully aligned with the CAPS curriculum for Grades 10 to 12, along with a wealth of teaching and learning material designed to boost understanding among pupils, while also boosting the core skills and knowledge of their teachers.
The package includes the dyna- mic mathematics software package GeoGebra, past matric papers (with memoranda), self-assessment and feedback, a glossary of terms (in six indigenous South African languages), calculator support and other high-tech resources.
The techno-blended teaching and learning model was pioneered by GMMDU head Prof Werner Olivier, specifically for use in under- resourced schools – in some cases, the tablets have been used in schools where there are no science and maths teachers. However, as is the case in this programme, the model is also being rolled out in former Model C schools as an additional teaching and learner resource.
“The integrated TouchTutorTM mathematics and science support programme was developed over a five-year period, and presents a modern and flexible offline scaffolding [support] platform for mathematics and physical science in secondary schools,” said Olivier.
“Currently, this programme is also active in more than 50 under-resourced schools in the Eastern Cape province where the aim is to nurture learners to improve their chances of getting into universities.”
About 150 tablets were handed to principals and teachers at the recent formal launch of the programme at De Vos Malan High School, where the respective memoranda of understanding were also signed. The eight schools received their desktop computers and laptops prior to the launch.
“The eight schools have committed to a process of identifying needs and strategies to use the resources to support mathematics and science teaching and learning, with the aim of boosting performance in these subjects,” said GMMDU project coordinator Dr Philip Collett.
At the launch, BKA board chairman Hugh Wormald encouraged schools to “utilise the opportunity fully” and stressed the significance of individual commitment and action by teachers and learners.
“BKA is committed to supporting improvement in schools, particularly in the disciplines of mathematics and science, which are key drivers of economic and social development,” Wormald said.