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A local technology company has created an innovative online edtech solution that is aimed at providing affordable access to educational material for schools across the country.
The e-learning platform is loaded with 2G of free data and other educational tools
Created by Jendamark Automation, the innovative e-learning device caters to rural schools in particular. The e-learning device merges the use of technology and affordable education and further enhances the government’s goal of making e-learning accessible to all learners.
Quinton Uren, Managing Director for Jendamark group explains that the device aims to create an affordable e-learning tool for local students.
“This is not just about textbooks on tablets. This is about bringing costs down through collaboration to create a truly affordable ed-tech solution for every South African school, with no hidden costs. We want every child to have access to a world of knowledge wherever they are – at home, in the classroom, in a taxi, anywhere, and anytime,” he said.
The platform has been created as part of Jendamark Automation’s Odin Education software ecosystem. In addition, the concept of remote learning in line with current pandemic conditions and also offers access to learners in even the further areas of the country.
Launching the device at the end of June this year, a reported 600 e-learning devices have been purchased for use in rural Free State schools, with 75 going to Grade 12 learners from various Nelson Mandela Bay schools. These 75 matric students are enrolled in the Unity of Africa Foundation’s ‘Incubating Great Engineering Minds’ (iGEMS) after-school programme.
Jendamark donated a further 114 devices to Grade 11 pupils at Nqweba Secondary School in Graaff-Reinet.
The e-learning device
The e-learning device is an android education tablet dubbed Omang, meaning ‘identity’ in Sesotho. The device has been pre-loaded with content from a number of educational publishers and is supported by free data supplied by leading network providers.
Ajit Gopalakrishnan, head of Odin Education emphasises the importance of e-learning.
“In this digital world, there is no shortage of quality educational content, but access to that content and devices like phones or tablets is a real obstacle for many South African children. We know data is also an issue, so our devices are pre-loaded with a set amount per learner, which can be managed as the school chooses.”
The devices are tailored to each school’s specific curriculum requirements such as chosen textbooks per grade, approved educational websites and any existing e-learning platforms and apps already being used.
Each device is personalised according to the individual learner’s registered subject choices, with bonus website content added based on their interests and most-viewed topics online.
In addition, teachers can upload their own content, including video lessons, old exam papers, and notes, as well as allowing them to set multiple-choice tests and answer any questions via safe class chat forums.
With regards to concerns that the device may be used for other purposes other than education Gopalakrishnan explains that the device can only be used for one purpose.
“Many parents have concerns about what their children may be viewing online and who they are talking to, but the Omang device can only be used for educational purposes, with safe, approved websites and teacher-led chats.”
He added that that the device would be locked if stolen or lost, rendering it valueless to would-be thieves.
The pre-loaded devices can be purchased by schools or provincial education departments at a monthly cost of R134 per learner, including 2GB of data and full tech support.