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Tomorrow’s teachers use new tech to tutor learners

FINAL year education students in Nelson Mandela Bay and Mthatha are learning how to use cutting-edge technology in real-life teaching situations.

The prospective teachers from Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu universities are the very first student tutors in a new, extended technology-blended maths and science Incubator School Programme (ISP), which, over the past five years, has helped thousands of promising Eastern Cape learners improve their marks, and gain access to tertiary education.

If it is successful, the newly-launched “ISP and Student Teacher Tutor Programme” will be extended to other provinces.

Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC), with sponsorship from Capitec Foundation, is running the curriculum-linked programme, providing 250 selected learners from Grade 10 to 12 with extra tuition through the 16-week Saturday programme.

Each learner will also receive a 7” Android tablet as a personal tutor, loaded with a GMMDC-developed app called TouchTutor, which is crammed full of interactive curriculum-aligned digital resources, in the form of video lessons, PowerPoint presentations, calculator assistance, self-tests with scoring and feedback, old national and provincial exam papers and multilingual support in eight indigenous languages.

Student tutor, Frans Louw said, “I think the learners will appreciate it a lot, having someone sit next to them, helping them to see where they’re stuck.

“It will also help us to grow as teachers, especially learning how to incorporate technology with teaching.”

“There are different types of learners,” said fellow tutor Monique Paulse. “I’m looking forward to learning how to adjust to learners who are slower and faster [to catch on]. Not all learners will understand the first time, so you need to try different techniques.”

GMMDC director, Prof Werner Olivier, said the new programme was a way of empowering teachers to deal with real challenges, with the assistance of very modern mobile teaching tools and resources, which have been researched and developed over the past 10 years.

“It could impact on the course of their professional careers as teachers,” said Olivier.

Learners in Nelson Mandela Bay are hopeful the programme will boost their results.

Sanctor High Grade 10 learner Codi Ownhouse (15) said, “Maths and science are a big struggle. I’m hoping this programme will help me a lot.”

Grade 10 learner from Khwezi Lomso High Sinazo Kafatyi (15) said, “I’m expecting higher marks and hope to learn more and know more.”

Grade 12 Gelvan High pupil, Ruwellen Jacobs (17), said attending the traditional ISP over the past two years has helped his maths mark climb from 47% to 85%.

“I’m looking forward to this year’s ISP. I’m aiming for level 7 (over 80%) in science as well,” said Jacobs.

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