Technology and Wi-Fi access are a prerequisite for a 21st century education system and many schools across Africa are embracing devices like tablets and eBooks, says BRUCE PITSO, regional manager for South Africa at Ruckus Wireless.
The importance of using technology and Wi-Fi as an enabler and tool to help overcome educational challenges in developing countries cannot be overlooked, say industry experts.
Bruce Pitso, regional manager for South Africa at Ruckus Wireless, says Africa is well-positioned to take advantage of improved connectivity in a continuously evolving digital landscape. “Internationally technology and Wi-Fi access has become a prerequisite for a 21st century education system and over the past 12 months, we have seen many schools and education departments locally embracing tablets, eBooks, and internet access to provide students with a richer learning experience. The growth in tablet adoption is not only restricted to private schools but happening in public schools in cities and rural areas alike.”
An example of this is how MSC Business College is moving away from a traditional classroom model and utilising a blended approach that gives students the best of both worlds. From the beginning of this year, every student registering for full-time courses received a new tablet.
“These tablets have been loaded with an electronic learning platform that supplements what is being done in the classroom. With 19 campuses across South Africa, this forms part of an ongoing drive to equip our students with the best education delivery method possible,” says Anthony Gewer, Divisional Head of MSC Enterprise Solutions.
But he is quick to point out that tablets will not substitute face-to-face learning, in fact, the idea is to encourage self-study. Students will have access to the curriculum on their tablets to go through it before they come to class. This enables the lecturer and students to spend more time on concepts that may be confusing or that they may need further elaboration on – offering an integrated learning system.
“Using technology should always be complimentary to what is happening at a college or school. There still needs to be real-world engagement with tablets and internet connectivity enhancing that,” he says.
Ruckus agrees that it should never be just about the technology, but instead what it enables the school to do with it. “In our experience, embracing tools such as tablets and Internet access at schools mean learners not only benefit from increased access to quality information, but helps teachers utilise multimedia to illustrate difficult concepts that might not otherwise be understood,” says Pitso.
Technology also encourages further teacher/parent engagement, where parents can email teachers and get responses within a much quicker timeframe instead of waiting for a parent’s evening which occurs on a quarterly basis on average.
Recent World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness results show that South Africa has moved up from its initial position due to our ICT capabilities. And as ICT permeates further into sectors we are likely to see competitiveness from an infrastructure perspective increase further. This is proof that technology in the schooling system is certainly beneficial, but requires further collective industry efforts and cannot be left to schools and parents to drive.
Internationally, Wi-Fi is predicted to reach 99% of all campuses by 2016 where IT resources and access is very high on the list of differentiations between schools and campuses. In fact, according to a college student poll – 75% of students said that Wi-Fi access helps them to get better grades and 44% use Wi-Fi to get a head start on assignments before a class ends.
Using a Wi-Fi network at a school provides the additional benefit of the teachers being able to control what sites the learners have access to and what can be downloaded on their tablets. This mitigates any concerns by parents that illicit content could be viewed or that learners will have to be responsible for their own 3G connectivity to be part of the new learning experience.
“Many schools actually recommend that parents do not get tablets with 3G capabilities or request those SIMs to be removed before the learner comes to school. They are better able to manage the educational experience from their own Wi-Fi network and avoid any potential data bill shocks that some parents are concerned about,” adds Pitso.
The classroom of the future is arriving sooner than many are expecting in South Africa and the rest of the continent. But, Pitso believes, if technology and connectivity are adopted in responsible ways the benefits outweigh any concerns that there might be.
Now download a bank account
Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.
This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.
“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.
“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”
The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:
- Download the Absa App
- Choose the account you would like to open
- Tell us who you are
- To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
- Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
- Tell us where you live
- Let us know what you do for a living and your income
- Click Apply.
How we use phones to avoid human contact
A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.
Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances.
Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?
The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.
In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.
Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.
Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”
To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:
· I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?
With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.
· Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?
Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.
· I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?
Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.