- Mokhulu Lawrence Matshika
The focused educator support in mathematics and science at the FET (Grade 10 – 12) level for The Vodacom Foundation using open software (e.g. GeoGebra)
There is an acknowledged skills shortage in South Africa and internationally with respect to Science, Engineering and Technology. Studies and expert opinion shows that this crisis is due in part to the poor throughput of young people taking and passing the critical gateway subjects of Mathematics and Science at secondary school level and beyond.Our experience and research in mathematics and science education has shown that there is a continuing need for practical, hands-on learning experiences. In disadvantaged and/or rural communities this aspect of science and mathematics learning is hampered by a lack of sufficient, quality classroom resources and skills. In light of these challenges, the Vodacom Foundation deemed it necessary to provide rural schools with resource centres across the nine provinces in South Africa. The intervention provided an opportunity to up to 80 participating teachers per province to acquire the content knowledge required in Grades 10 to 12.In addition, the initiative was cognisant of the need to expose teachers to innovations in teaching mathematics and science arising from information technology resources available in the Vodacom Foundation Centres and the in the participating schools. The focus of this exposure was on using OpenSources and Creative Commons as well as leveraging the existing linkages between CASME, Vodacom and their respective partners in educational resources. Information Technology was integrated throughout the training workshop using Geogebra in both gateway subjects. A mixed method was adopted to evaluate the impact of this intervention through the administration of a questionnaire. The main outcome indicator used to measure schools’ progress was the NSC grade 12 exam results. The results showed a significant improvement in terms of learner performance in the gateway subjects year on year. The integration of ICT in teaching and learning enhanced and extended existing classroom practice, and change in terms of emerging forms of activity which complemented or modified practice in the gateway subjects.