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Disruptive technology could transform South African educational landscape

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Co-founder and CEO of SPARK Schools, Stacey Brewer

Educational technology will play a bigger influence in all South African schools – particularly in metro areas or regions that have increasing access to an infrastructure that supports the blended learning model.

This is the belief of SPARK Schools’ co-founder and CEO Stacey Brewer who recently attended BETT 2019, the world’s leading global education technology show which took place in London and which was attended by educators from around the globe.

Blended learning is a style of education in which students learn online educational materials and technology as well as traditional face-to-face teaching.

Brewer shared some trends from the show: “It is apparent that everyone, no matter where they come from in the world, face different educational challenges. However, one thing is clear: educational technology is progressing at a fast rate.

“Strategy is key with a continued emphasis on integrating resources into the classroom. Data is being used for both informing choices and solutions as well as driving adaptive learning. Increasingly, scholars are engaging in their own learning and teachers are facilitating the opportunity for personalised learning,” says Brewer.

She explains how technology has changed since SPARK opened its first school in 2012.

“SPARK Schools started with very basic consumer-grade network devices, laptops, and internet connectivity, which was quickly exposed as being inadequate for the wear and tear experienced in a demanding use environment. After extensive research into best practices in ed-tech, we built relationships with vendors to open supply chains that allow us to quickly deploy enterprise-grade network equipment and built-for-purpose learner devices into our rapidly growing network of schools. We have also given all members of staff personal company email addresses for communication, productivity and identity and various other technologies that enable them to quickly and safely perform their instructional and business functions.”

Last year SPARK Schools announced that it would be using the Norwegian-based itslearning Learning Management System (LMS) in its 21 schools.

Explains Bouwer: “Google products underpin SPARK. They introduced us to itslearning who impressed us with what they have achieved in the educational technology space. We want the best for our learners so we are constantly on the lookout for the best tech solutions and we believe LMS is one of the finest.”

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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