The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and information and communication technology infrastructure were just some of the topics on the table as the fourth annual E-Learning Summit took place at The Venue, Hemingways last Wednesday.
The aim of the summit is to look at how the e-learning technology is used in the modern classroom setup.
This year’s summit looked at several themes such as how 4IR will improve learning and teaching conditions and the importance of prioritising ICT infrastructure reach and accessibility as key determinants for digital classrooms.
Speaking on the 4IR age, Walter Sisulu University’s Nkosinathi Zulu said one of the key issues was that of cyber security.
“We also have challenges in terms of our resources and also the language barriers in terms of language used in these systems,” Zulu said.
School Net executive director Omashani Naidoo said the benefits of the 4IR were amazing but that we need to equip ourselves with with what can work best in the South African context.
“We need to know the ecosystem of the school, and also teach the necessary life skills. Hopefully digital literacy will be part of these skills,” Naidoo said.
From a teaching point of view, Kingsridge High School (KHS) teacher Megan Gratz said there is also the challenge of pupils that needed to learn soft skills.
“They need to learn these skills to counter all this new technology.
“ It will also be a challenge with teachers as our role will gradually change from instructor to being a facilitator,” Gratz said.
KHS pupils found the session informative and opened their minds to other possibilities.
“With e-learning you can learn anywhere, anytime and it’s quite futuristic.
“ It’s opened my mind to different career options and encouraged me to do something different,” KHS grade 12 pupil Kanyisa Dyantyi said.
Grade 7 KHS pupil Lusikelelo Booi said she saw there were a lot of ways to use technology, and that it was also easier to learn with technology that they can better understand.
Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA)’s Mawethu Tilimeni said they were trying to bridge the technological divide with ICT infrastructure installed in the rural areas of OR Tambo District.
“There’s been a roll out of Wi-Fi in communities especially in schools and clinics. The community also has access but the main challenge is creating awareness and education of this technology,” Tilimeni said.