Virtual Interactive Communication Solution to Education crisis in South Africa

Siyavuyisa’s utilizes Wireless Mesh Technology which provides the perfect solution for the South African Education crisis as demonstrated in a proof of concept (POC) with three schools in Tembisa Johannesburg.

In order to address the shortfalls in our education system across South Africa, we have been working closely with various parties for the past 2 years to establish the ideal solution to bring connectivity to schools and rural areas, FET Colleges, Universities, and other learning academies.

The VIC Solution enables learners to be taught remotely by one specialized teacher while they are in different locations at their schools. A number of Schools are linked together with a Wireless Mesh, which streams the data to all the connected schools simultaneously. Failing matric pass rates and shortages in Math and Science teachers as well as strikes that caused serious loss of class attendance by students especially matriculants who were preparing for exams, makes this solution a necessity if we want to increase our student’s pass rates. VIC is an efficient and cost-effective tool that holds the potential to bridge learning and resource gaps between South African schools.

Integrating multi-media formats of video and tele-conferencing, VoIP and interactive White boards, teachers and learners at distant sites can communicate and interact with one another in real time. Learners in economically disadvantaged areas have the opportunity to take part in these virtual classes through these technologies. Using four of the five senses, participants at all sites can thus SEE, HEAR, SPEAK and WRITE to each other, and schools with poor resources can benefit from higher-performing schools, while the interactive boards enables one to record the lessons and thus generate an e-library resource for learners.

Technology enables ‘Virtual Trips’ to visit Zoos, Science Labs, Museums or hospitals without travelling physically to the destination. VIC also promotes collaboration amongst schools in the areas of research, multi-school project collaboration, whilst teachers get an opportunity to support each other using this technology. VIC has been known to bridge social and cultural gaps as leaners from different backgrounds are brought together by the common goal of learning.

Virtual interactive communication is used widely in the developed world by colleges, universities and schools for online courses, lesson sharing, examinations, social networking, and even home schooling. The potential benefits for SA schools are numerous.

With the endorsement of the project by the local Department of Education in the East Rand, a live demonstration took place at three schools in Tembisa, where the Science class was conducted by a Science & Technology teacher from Tembisa High School, while learners at Ngqayizivele and Zitikeni High schools were able to participate remotely, even though they were more than 3km apart from each other. Between 3 to 150 schools can be connected to form one giant classroom.

How does VIC work?

 Two or more interactive boards installed at different sites, are connected via a network (Wireless and or Broadband)

 Teachers at primary site conducts the lesson

 Two way interactive communication with the teacher interacting with the learners in all three locations in real time

 Data can be transferred from one board to another in a different location

 Every step taken during a lesson is recorded and can be retrieved by students for revision at their own time

 The boards come with online Educational Resources, content, and teacher support

 The school also becomes a WiFi hot spot, which can generate income for the school

 Capacity is no longer a problem as we can stream 250 Mbps to 400 Mbps over long distances even locations of 80 – 100 km away.

 This same Mesh Network can also carry CCTV footage from cameras located on the school grounds to the nearest police station or a central control room

 This solution can be implemented with a Solar LED Wifi Streetlight for rural areas, and Solar panels making it independent of the local power grid.

Wireless Mesh Technology, linking the schools and sharing resources, can bring about a fun and interactive learning experience

Private sector leaders, especially CSI and Marketing managers have taken a keen interest in supporting the VIC initiative and agreed that this solution can make a real difference to our Education system and are keen to see it rolled out country wide.

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