The Vhembe ICT Resource Centre makes educational material available through cloud computing. This programme is expected to train about 1 400 teachers annually in the use of ICT to support teaching and learning focusing in maths and science subjects.
The centre is one of the nine centres being established in each of the provinces as part of the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme.
Vodacom's Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs, Maya Makanjee says: "The key objective for the programme is to use mobile technology to help the Department of Basic Education meet its goal of ensuring that a significant number of learners have exposure to ICTs. The programme ensures that teachers throughout the country have access to the highest quality teaching resources. The programme will also ensure that teachers receive quality education content and create an opportunity for interaction between teachers and lecturers."
Launched in October last year, the Vodacom Mobile Education Programme was developed to help the Department of Basic Education in meeting its goal of exposing a significant number of learners to ICT and upgrading the quality of instruction by giving teachers throughout South Africa access to the highest quality teaching resources.
Information and technology communications offer the opportunity to level the field for teachers that previously had little or no access to technology. Interventions such as these are not only expected to improve learner pass rate numbers for mathematics and science in the province, but are also expected to ensure that pupils pursue these subjects in university.
"The operation of the centre with the selected schools can serve as a case study on how to use information and communications technology in the classroom. Once these benefits are demonstrated, such centers could ‘create demand' for teaching aids that can easily be provided through an internet connection," says Makanjee.
The schools, buildings and teachers have been identified by the Limpopo Department of Education and all technology elements have been supplied by Vodacom and its partners.
The centre is connected to Vodacom's head office in Midrand through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which serves as a pipeline for information that connects and delivers content to participating schools and teachers and provides a platform for creating a community of teachers who could communicate, share ideas and resources.
The Vhembe centre has been fully equipped with a computer room housing 50 computer terminals, educational aids, internet connectivity and training facilities.
Vodacom has committed to supplying content hosting and free internet connectivity for the next three years. Connectivity includes the establishment of a controlled gateway to the Internet for each province. This will allow for easy communication among the teachers.
Leading e-learning service providers, Microsoft, Cisco and Mindset, have partnered with Vodacom to provide the centres with software, programme content, certification and training, and educational curriculum content. These digital educational resources are hosted on the website: http://www.digitalclassroom.co.za/