Cape-based pioneer in the online training space, Fuel, has developed a pilot module of what is effectively a Digital School solution for integration into classrooms across South Africa.
“FUEL will break each school subject into ten-minute interactive and engaging modules aligned to the CAPS curriculum (the curriculum used in South African schools) that can be downloaded and accessed on tablets,” says Fuel CEO, Craig Reid.
“Fuel’s team of experienced experts have been developing this Digital Schools Project for three years, with the company investing approximately R7.5m into the development of this ground breaking educational tool.”
This system has now been extended into an app, accessible on Android, iOS and Microsoft platforms and available to learners on computers and all mobile devices.
Reid, says, “At FUEL we want to give every child in South Africa access to the best teacher in the country. To present the content in an engaging, interactive way, while offering an evaluation after modules and being able to measure and track that progress over time.”
For approximately the same spend as two South African Provinces’ annual textbook expenditure, says Reid, FUEL can produce the entire curriculum, from Grade 1 to Grade 12 for all provinces and across all subjects. As it is done digitally, it can be used for years to come at no cost after the initial investment.
“It costs the government approximately R160 per learner per year to produce educational text books. FUEL can do the same thing, digitally, for R35 per learner in the first year. Thereafter it is free until there is an upgrade required, which will be done at a minimal cost.
This is a simple idea but a large and complex task, as each subject for every grade, in every language would need to be created, and be relevant to the different end-environments. In addition, says Reid, FUEL would develop stretch and remedial content so that learners can achieve within their capabilities and reach their potential.
Reid says that just as important as the content, is the ability to measure and report on the learning. “The FUEL system allows for progress to be managed by teachers in the same way managers would monitor learners in a corporate environment. This reporting structure is able to track every child, every week on a national basis, enabling government to view data at a national level and giving government the ability to pinpoint under-performing schools and provinces.”
None of these measures are available at the moment, so it would take years for educationalists and government officials to get an accurate picture of the reality faced by schools.
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