How disruptive technologies are transforming education

[CAPTION] According to a popular statistic provided by the World Economic Forum, 65% of today’s primary school children will be working in jobs that do not exist yet. Advanced technology, while presenting the challenge of preparing children for an unknown future, also presents opportunities for their development that have never existed before, such as robotics (pictured above) and virtual reality. The Disrupt Stage at the SA Innovation Summit, taking place in Cape Town in September, will explore some of these opportunities.  

How is your spelling? Or rather, how is your spelling when you are lying on your back remote-navigating a virtual paper aeroplane? This integration of the motor senses with learning is one example of technology challenging traditionally accepted teaching methods. Another is a virtual chemistry lab table, where children interact with elements and create chemical reactions by placing physical cards on a glass projection screen and watching to find out what happens next. That is one way to teach chemistry, without the potential of burnt fingers and at a much lower cost than a full-scale chemistry lab. Both of these ‘edu-tech’ teaching tools already exist; innovations designed by Formula-D Interactive to supplement and enhance children’s learning experiences while preparing them for a tech future.

For many, this future will require hard skills like coding and programming. However, with technology developing at its current speed, they will all need to be able to figure out how technology works without a manual, says Patricia Gouws, Senior Lecturer in the College of Science Engineering and Technology (CSET) at the University of South Africa. For this reason, CSET are teaching children robotics by giving them the opportunity to build and code robots themselves. This not only teaches them about teamwork, it also teaches them engineering and programming principles. More importantly, they are trained to figure things out for themselves – learning through doing.

“We are preparing children to think and learn, and we are teaching them that programming is not difficult or scary,” says Gouws.

This technology is not available to the average child yet, especially in previously disadvantaged communities. One challenge is accessibility: moving entire computer labs or virtual reality sets from school to school is no small feat. UNISA is solving this challenge by stocking a mobile unit that brings robotics to children who would otherwise not be able to participate. A second challenge is the cost of getting advanced technology into impoverished areas, which is why solutions like the virtual chemistry lab table are designed to be more affordable. Marco Rosa, Managing Director at Formula-D Interactive, expects these types of solutions to become more common in future. A further challenge is mindset:

“Some people, including teachers, often connect ‘education’ with ‘books and pens’, while technology like games and computers are categorised as fun entertainment and even a distraction to the learning process”, says Rosa. “However, this technology can be a fantastic way to enhance the learning process. The more people who realise that, the more we can use it to prepare children for the future.”

A powerful way of overcoming these challenges is to shift the mindset from using edu-tech as a community or social investment project, to it being imperative for achieving the business goals of corporates. It is also not limited to children. For example, South African consumers owe R1.78 trillion in credit: increasing their financial literacy is not only good for them, but also for the banks who provide credit services. Sea Monster therefore created Moneyversity, a mobile and web interactive platform featuring engaging and educational animated content, articles and interactive elements to enhance personal finance, for Old Mutual. The learner management system platform offers 14 courses covering the basic of personal finance, to help customers to be financially smart. This enables them to understand and use products like credit responsibly.

“By doing this, you are not just building a more responsible consumer base today and letting them interact voluntarily with the brand, but you are creating a new market in future,” says Glenn Gillis, CEO of Sea Monster. “Traditionally edu-tech is narrowly defined as ‘How can we use the technology for school children?’ It now includes how companies use education (of both children and adults) to unlock strategic value. The opportunities are endless!”

To find out more about and interact with the innovations impacting on education and training, delegates at the SA Innovation Summit 2018 with have access to the Disrupt Stage. The interactive Disrupt Stage will consist of a showcase, master classes and a deep dive that will provide delegates with a blueprint for disruption for their concept, product or new venture. The Summit, taking place at the Cape Town Stadium from 12 to 14 September 2018, will feature UNISA’s robotics classes, as well as Formula-D Innovation’s Life’s A Breeze innovation. Sea Monster’s animation, games, and augmented and virtual reality disruptions will also be part of the experience. For more information, keep an eye on www.innovationsummit.co.za or follow SA Innovation Summit on Twitter (@InnovSummit) or Facebook (@SAInnovation).


Rotary helps establish Khomani San community in Botswana

The Rotary Club of Table Bay, together with the Rotary Club of Claremont, donated a solar panel, charger, battery and inverter to the Khomani San community living in Botswana. Two donkeys, two portable composting toilets and initial costs for repairing an existing borehole have also been made to the Botswana community, living 120 kilometres from the Gemsbok border post, close to the town of Struizendam.

“The Khomani San is one people group split across three different countries: Namibia, South Africa and Botswana. This is because of conflict, formation of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and a lack of water supply. The community living in Botswana have found a suitable site where they can continue living in their old traditional ways and we have been able to help them establish their new home,” explains John Britz, from the Rotary Club of Table Bay.

The solar panel will provide the power required to operate the borehole, once it is fixed. In the interim, the donkeys will be used to transport water supplies to the community from the nearest town. Each donkey will carry two 25 litre containers of water along an 8 km path through the desert. The portable composting toilets will be used mainly by visitors to the community, as there are no ablution facilities to accommodate large groups.

“There are many people from around the world interested in visiting the San people and learning more about their traditional way of life and wisdom which is passed down orally to the next generation. It will be much easier for the Khomani San in Botswana to communicate with visitors now that they have a solar panel and are able to charge their phones and electronic devices,” says Britz.

The donation was made possible with funds provided by the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Outreach Committee. Its Chairperson, Monique Stuart-Fox says, “It is wonderful to see how lives are touched in some of the most remote parts of District 9350. We are pleased to partner with other Rotary Clubs in completing important and worthwhile projects that help others.” Over the past six years, the Rotary Club of Claremont distributed R1.5 million through its Outreach Committee.


Healing puppets to travel the globe

The 20 winning puppets from the Butterfly Art Project’s Super Hero Indaba will be travelling the globe on a mission to inspire and heal. This follows the Super Hero Puppet Workshop, aimed at equipping teachers, volunteers and community leaders from communities across Cape Town to use art and fun to teach and heal youngsters who come from very difficult backgrounds. Pictured above are some of the puppets on display at the Super Hero Indaba in Cape Town.

Over 200 people from across Cape Town participated in the 11-week workshop presented by the Butterfly Art Project. During this time, they learnt that super heroes and heroines are characters with superhuman powers who are often survivors of tough backgrounds. Each of the trainees conceptualised their own super hero character, with a biography, for which they created unique puppet pieces. Their works are on display at the Super Hero Indaba until Tuesday, 31 July 2018 at the Beautifull Life Building in Cape Town. Of all the submissions received, 20 winning puppets were chosen based on the significance of their story, the puppets’ look and their impact. They received prizes, including stationery and gift vouchers, and their puppet designs will also be included in promotional packs that will start travelling to teach others outside South Africa the healing power of art.

The Butterfly Art Project teaches healing art to community art facilitators from 32 different communities across Cape Town, including Somerset West and Masiphumelele. They also work with 360 learners in the Capricorn area, having served more than 7 500 learners in the past. The Rotary Club of Claremont supports the Super Hero Indaba initiative with funds and volunteers time to help extend the reach of the puppets as far as possible.

“Every person has the power to overcome their past,” says Dr Malcolm Dodd, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont. “We hope that this unique project will help many children beyond Cape Town.”

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/ or email ContactClaremont@rotary9350.co.za.


What do survey incentives do to your data quality?

Research has proven that incentives increase survey responses1. However, enticing a person to complete a survey with an incentive means you can be sure to get different answers. Whether you choose to incentivise your survey or not, data quality needs to be at the centre of this decision.

“As a researcher I am always concerned about getting enough responses to make my projects statistically accurate. While a 100 percent response is not absolutely necessary, two percent is not statistically useful,” says Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst at Reputation Matters.

Research results impact on decision making for a business and ultimately affect people, so you would obviously want to base these decisions on good quality data and statistically accurate research results, explains Bischoff.

Using their reputation measurement tool, the Repudometer®, Reputation Matters measures the perceptions that stakeholders have about an organisation, be it a JSE listed company, major product retailer, association or institution. These perceptions make up a company’s reputation. “Give a respondent an incentive and it may influence their perceptions and the feedback they provide, leading to data bias,” says Bischoff.

Consider some of the factors that contribute to an increased response rate. Think for a moment, why would you answer a survey?

Firstly, people will answer a survey because they think it is important to them. Their input is valuable to the business being researched and will lead to improvement in some way that will also benefit them2.

Secondly, people need to have certainty that data will be maintained properly2. If someone would like to remain anonymous you need to assure them upfront that every answer that they provide will be confidential, and therefore there is absolutely no risk involved in participating. “When conducting reputation research, a common stakeholder group that we usually reach out to are employees. By ensuring that their answers are confidential, we can encourage them to provide their open and honest feedback about their workplace, giving us accurate data to analyse,” says Bischoff.

Lastly, answering a survey should not be a complete time burden for a potential respondent. “Once again be upfront with the respondent, explain that the survey will only take ten minutes of their time and make sure that they only have to spend ten minutes completing it. If your survey then takes 20 minutes to complete, you are likely to have lost their interest as well as trust for any future surveys,” explains Bischoff. When designing a survey carefully consider the average time a respondent will need to provide meaningful feedback without losing interest.

When a respondent spends time on a survey to give their honest feedback it will contribute to good data quality3. “If they are going to rush through the survey to get the prize, an incentive is not the way to go to encourage responses,” says Bischoff.

“We always highly recommend clients not to incentivise a survey, the value for the participant lies in the outcomes of a possible change that will benefit them after the survey is complete and recommendations implemented.

When embarking on a research study, communication therefore plays an important role.  Make sure that you inform your target population about the survey, the purpose behind it, and importantly, how it may lead to improving something and the possible benefit to them. This might just be enough to encourage them to answer the survey.”

For more information about Reputation Matters and their research tools, visit their website or contact them at research@reputationmatters.co.za

1 James S. Cole, Shimon A. Sarraf and Xiaolin Wang (2015). Does use of survey incentives degrade data quality?

 Paper presented at the Association for Institutional Research Annual Forum

2Cooperative Institutional Research Program (2015). Encouraging participation in CIRP surveys.

3National Business Research Institute (2018). Survey Incentives: response rate and data quality.


Robben Island Museum hosts children for Mandela month

This year Robben Island Museum (RIM) will commemorate the birth of Nelson Mandela through a series of activities dedicated to his towering legacy. In July when the world celebrates Madiba by dedicating 67 minutes to doing something good for humanity, RIM will honour his legacy through a series of programmes for children.

Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying, "We understand and promote the notion that while children need to be guided they also have an entrenched right to be whatever they want to be and that they can achieve this only if they are given the space to dream and live out their dreams."

RIM will honour this goal by hosting 100 children from surrounding Western cape local communities at the Castle of Good Hope for a series of fun and creative activities celebrating the spirit of Madiba from Thursday, 12 July to Saturday 14 July 2018.

“By reaching out to children from communities who may have never visited the Robben Island Museum, we are hoping to continue the work of Nelson Mandela by creating a fun, active and creative space for children to learn and love the amazing heritage we share as South Africans,” concludes Morongoa Ramaboa, spokesperson for RIM.


Bracing for impact: Rotary Club of Claremont welcomes new president

“I am honoured to take over the helm of this extraordinary club,” said Dr Malcolm Dodd, newly elected president of the Rotary Club of Claremont at his inauguration on Saturday, 30 June 2018. Dodd will take over the reins for the 2018/2019 term and already has plans for what he wants to achieve during his term.

Dodd’s main aim in the new term will be to keep this non-profit organisation sustainable and thriving, allowing it to continue serving the community as it did under the leadership of previous president Liz Rose. The contribution that Rotary makes to communities that are often neglected is the main reason Dodd joined the Rotary Club of Claremont ten of years ago.

Dodd first learnt about Rotary as a participant of the Cape Town Cycle Tour (CTCT) in 2002. “I was so impressed by the organisation behind this amazing event,” says Dodd. Indeed, the CTCT is the biggest events on the Club’s calendar every year: half of the charitable surplus from the event goes to Rotary Club of Claremont, making them financially one of the biggest Rotary clubs in the world. It enables them to do what they do best: serve the community, within the greater Cape Town area and up into the Northern Cape and Angola as they support other Rotary clubs financially.

“My goal for this term is to ensure that we help to keep CTCT alive and healthy”, says Dodd. “I am also planning to support more projects for people with disabilities and start on an all-weather football training facility in Mitchells Plain. We will keep making a tremendous impact in the community.”

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/ or email ContactClaremont@rotary9350.co.za.


Schools unite to clear up the Liesbeek River

Youngsters from schools surrounding the Liesbeek River are collaborating to clear and maintain a stretch of the river. With financial support from the Rotary Club of Claremont, Bishops Interact Club is leading the ‘Schools for the Liesbeek’ initiative, covering the section of the river between Rosebank Green and St Joseph’s Marist College.

“The idea is for the learners to work together in taking responsibility for this stretch of the river which passes so close to their schools. We have already organised one clear up event which took place in April and another is scheduled for August. The long-term plan is to continue clearing litter from this stretch of river and to obtain council approval to landscape it, lay paving stones for a pathway, plant shrubs and trees and erect a bench,” says Peter Hyslop, Teacher in Charge of Bishops Interact Club.

Members from the Interact Clubs at Bishops, Rondebosch Boys High School, Claremont High School, San Souci Girls School and SACS as well as the ‘Earth Children’ group from Rustenberg Girls High School and ‘Inspire’ group from St Thomas’ church all got together for the first collaborative clear up event.

The group of 116 learners were joined by a nature conservation officer from the City of Cape Town and representatives from the Friends of the Liesbeek group and the Green Anglicans. The youngsters cleared at least 30 refuse bags of trash, not including a bedframe and mattress found on the riverbank! After clearing the river, Kevin Winter from UCT’s environmental and geographical science department, spoke to the youngsters about water scarcity, water management and urban river systems. The learners then spent time in smaller groups brainstorming how they could work together to best maintain the river.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity to teach learners in a practical way about the value of water and how the river is a vital part of the water system in our city. We want to instil a sense of social responsibility for public places and preserve the environment. We are grateful for the expert input the learners have already received and to the Rotary Club of Claremont for their financial support with this project,” concludes Hyslop.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/ or email ContactClaremont@rotary9350.co.za.


Youth Innovation Challenge: The future is NOW!

“Everyone says that youth are the future. The youth are not our future – the future is now!”

So says Kelebogile Pega, Founder and Director of Keglope Investments at the Youth and Green Economy Dialogue of Sustainability Week in Tshwane last week.

Pega, an entrepreneur whose sustainability-driven company re-uses and repurposes various materials, was among a panel of young speakers who are working in various sectors and industries to address some of the challenges facing society today. Energy, Technology, Water Solutions, and Entrepreneurship are just some of the topics discussed by young people who are not just speaking about the problems, but actively doing something to address them.

Some of these solutions were presented in the form of a Youth Innovation Challenge, hosted by the City of Tshwane in partnership with Innovation Hub. Of the 20 sustainability companies owned and run by young adults between 18 and 35 years of age who participated in the programme, nine will be incubated. After a gruelling pitching process, the top 3 were revealed at the Dialogue last week:

  • Lesego Seloane from Renowa Creations provides functional and aesthetically pleasing landscaping solutions
  • Rirhandzu Chuma from Azania Blue Tech Solutions helps municipalities alleviate electricity theft
  • Rendani Mmbodi, Moses Mhlawa and Tiisetso Mphuti from Geekkulcha offer a water monitoring system with a smart tank

These top 3 walk away with prizes valued at over R 80 000 each, which includes innovation incubation, a laptop, printer, external hard drive, and a branding package valued at R 20 000 to assist with their marketing.

The Proportional Representatvie Councillor of the City of Tshwane, Kwena Moloto, congratulated the winners with their achievements.

“Our youth will and must be the driving force of change,” he said.

To find out more about the event, visit http://sustainabilityweek.co.za/ and http://www.africancapitalcities.org/. Join the conversation on Facebook @SustainabilityWeekSA and on Twitter @SustainWeekSA.


Injongo Project in Philippi opens newly refurbished Educare Centre

[CAPTION] From left to right: the Forever Educare Centre before and after recent renovations

Learners, parents, teachers and excited members of the local community welcomed Rotarians and members of the Lewis Group to the official re-opening of the Forever Educare Centre in Philippi today, 12 June 2018.

The centre, which cares for and educates 64 young learners, was in desperate need of renovations: the existing buildings were not structurally sound enough to house and educate the pupils. The Injongo Project, managed by Rotary Club of Claremont with financial support from the Lewis Group, invested R 2.2 million in completely overhauling Forever Educare Centre. The existing structures were demolished to make way for four brand new classrooms, and office and medical room, and separate ablution facilities for little ones and adults. Forever Educare also now has a new playground, modern kitchen facilities, and a security gate and driveway which allows for ambulance access if necessary.

“Besides rebuilding and adding to the facilities, we trained and up-skilled the principal and teachers, making Forever Educare a wonderful space that nurtures young children and gives them the best educational start possible,” says President of the Rotary Club of Claremont, Liz Rose.

Forever Educare is the 14th early childhood development (ECD) centre to be physically upgraded and the 58th one to benefit from the Injongo Project, bringing the total amount invested to R 18 million and making Injongo Project one of the biggest of its kind in South Africa. The Injongo Project, now in its sixth year, helps ensure all-round positive experience for little ones that prepares them optimally for primary school. The Injongo Project goes beyond physically transforming ECD facilities and conducting ongoing training of principals and teachers; it also includes research, monitoring and evaluation of the ECD centres across Philippi, with a strong focus on health and safety. This holistic approach is key to the success of the Injongo Project.

“We sincerely believe that through the upgrades and renovations of these educare centres, we have helped to make children and their parents so much happier by providing a safe, appealing learning environment for them,” says Johan Enslin, CEO of Lewis Group.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit http://claremontrotary.co.za/.

For more information on Lewis Group, please visit http://www.lewisgroup.co.za/.


Celebrate Youth Day, Zip Zap style!

2042 children and youth received circus tuition in 2017 through Zip Zap’s 10 different social, recreational and outreach programmes.

In 2014, Zip Zap created the South African Social Circus Network (SASCN) believing in unity to create change by using the circus arts. In its 5th year, the SASCN will meet in Stellenbosch at the Sisonke headquarters for a fun day on the Flying trapeze to honour the youth, celebrate diversity, and remember how Zip Zap started in 1992.

Siyabonga Swelindawo, Zip Zap’s Outreach Coordinator speaks out of excitement, “Social Circus taught me life skills including self-confidence, honesty, trust, and respect; its great fun to pass it on to the younger generation. I can see the transformation in all the kids we teach”.

“Zip Zap’s Winter TOTS camp also celebrates youth; it’s more than a workshop for the winter holidays because we pair the children who have never met before, and they all have fun together while making friends”, adds Siyabonga.

Zip Zap’s Winter Tots Camp is a unique experience for kids between the ages of 5 and 8 years. The children get a taste of circus magic through a jam-packed week of fun circus activities and on the last day they put up a ‘Show & Tell’ with costume, make-up and music.

Lizo James, one of Zip Zap’s instructors states that “This camp brings so many smiles each year. They interact socially, they play non-stop for  hours and they learn great circus tricks.”

To book a space at the Winter TOTS workshop:  https://www.quicket.co.za/events/41569-winter-tots-camp-2018/#/schedules   or contact siyabonga@zip-zap.co.za.