How Tech can help overcome the learning challenges post-Covid

Today, more and more private schools in affluent communities can afford to do away with traditional teaching tools such as printed textbooks, chalkboards and even stationary by investing in technology to enhance and broaden learners’ education. But how have independent schools in underprivileged communities adopted technology into their education strategy; and how has Covid-19 impacted that strategy?

The Love Trust believes that technology on its own already adds value to the learning experience, and the challenges brought about by Covid accentuate that. To understand the full value of technology on education it’s important to see how it was used pre-Covid-19 lockdown, during, and going forward post-lockdown, in Nokuphila Pre-Primary and Primary School, our ECD Teacher Training Academy and our Tembisa ECD Centre Support Programme.


Sound technology infrastructure

Nokuphila already has an amazing tech infrastructure thanks to the foresight of the leadership team and the wonderful support of our donors, because our learners cannot lag in a global type of education system that is driving ICT in education. So what we had was working well enough. The school is currently equipped with Wi-Fi throughout the grounds, an IT lab, offers a robotics course as an introduction to coding, and classrooms have Smartboards. All this has enhanced the pupils’ learning experience.


Innovative solutions to bridge the divide

But, when the nationwide lockdowns were implemented and schools had to close, teachers and students lost access to these learning tools and infrastructure the school provided. Teachers needed to take into account the available resources that the children learners and student teachers had readily available and apply innovative strategies on how to leverage those resources effectively. Through the use of cell phones and the popular chat app WhatsApp, teachers created group classes and courses where they shared content to the students, learners or family members’ smartphones – if the learners didn’t have their own device. So even given the constraints our students and learners had to face due to their socio-economic situations, we’ve had to revert to a technological solution.


A look to the future

As South Africa moves out of lockdown and slowly starts opening again, our teaching strategy will adopt a hybrid solution. We want to provide teachers with functional learning devices and get them onto an e-learning platform where they’re able to share more intentionally and formally. What we did until now was very incidental and crisis management, now we want to make that part of our strategy.

Despite the many challenges that this hybrid solution may pose, we are confident that we’ll find a way to make a plan, as South Africans always seem to do, and encourage donors and corporate partners to assist us. Because, otherwise we will run a risk of lagging behind; the divide being even further between the haves and the have nots… and that these learners will always be at a disadvantage from primary to secondary to tertiary, which will have a lasting effect on finding employment later in life.