ITSI’s chief executive, Lieb Liebenberg gave an informative and critical presentation on effective teaching methods for the 21st century at the East London Golf Club recently.
Starting out five years ago, the digital teaching technologies company, has grown immensely. Providing a digital platform to enhance the learning experience, ITSI is now present in 183 schools around the world, having worked with schools in Namibia, Dubai and the UK, among others.
ITSI has more than 100 publishers and 100000 titles offering schools a more effective way of purchasing text books. ITSI also offers a support system for schools and teachers with South African Council for Educators-approved (SACE) training courses.
The company’s vision is to implement technology into learning and teaching methods around the world, making technology work for educators and not against them.
Liebenberg’s presentation addressed the dichotomy between traditional methods of teaching and the skills required for 21st-century generations to excel in a world where people are being automated out of their jobs.
The presentation was attended by various representatives from schools in and around East London, including Hudson Park Primary, Stirling Primary, Port Rex High, Clarendon Primary, as well as Balmoral Girls’ Primary from Queenstown and Dale College (King William’s Town).
Referencing the research and studies of Michael Fullan, Liebenberg stressed how 21st-century requirements have informed a skills-driven model of teaching.
Traditional teaching methods are results-based, and rely on teaching children how to remember things well in order to score the best results.
“Critical thinking and creativity are skills that need to be enhanced. Just teaching kids how to get good marks is not appropriate for the 21st century. ‘Good marks’ are not enough, schools need to tie in foundational knowledge with operational or skills-based knowledge.”
Although ITSI is a digital teaching technologies company, Liebenberg stressed that this model of teaching does not necessarily require technology in order to be successful. The model predominantly requires teachers to understand how effective and enduring learning takes place.
Liebenberg mentioned integrating projects that cross subjects, where a group of students, who study different subjects, work together to present a final piece. Giving the example in a high school setting, he indicated how these kinds of projects can teach children valuable and necessary skills.
“It requires teachers to understand the way children learn and how to facilitate that learning experience in an effective way. Although it is not necessary, technology can enhance the learning and teaching experience,” Liebenberg said.
Stirling Primary School was one of the first schools to work with and implement Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and have successfully been working with the ITSI platform for the past three years.
Stirling introduced and integrated iPads and the MiEbooks app into their teaching methods.
“The support and professionalism we have and continue to receive from ITSI far surpasses that of any other company we’ve worked with,” Stirling ICT integration specialist Mary-Lou Berndt said.
“The one thing teachers need more of, is time. This move over to iPads and the use of the ITSI platform has been extremely time-effective, giving teachers the ability to teach the curriculum in a more creative way and incorporating the softer, necessary 21st century skills Lieb mentioned.”