Blue People Flown in from USA to Join the African Education Revolution

When GWF CEO, Kate Groch, came back from a recent USA fundraising trip she brought two new members of our GWF team back with her, smuggled in a suitcase, wrapped up carefully so that they would be able to survive the long journey from Los Angeles to Nelspruit.

Well, the two new members have arrived and we are thrilled to announce that the Open Learning Academy (OLA) has added the beginnings of AI (articificial intelligence) to its programmes for grade four and five learners for 2016.

Meet a pair of blue robots called “Dot” and “Dash.” Made in California and now bringing robotics, programming and fun to rural South Africa.

Dash is a robot that responds to voice commands, can navigate objects, can sing and can even dance. One of our successful trials with Dash was when she was programmed to sing “happy birthday” to Judy Guffey, a GWF ambassador from Hawaii. Dot is the “brains” of a robot, although we would never say that in front of Dash. Dot comes with several games that children can play right out of the box, such as Magic Dot Ball, Dot of Music, and Light Sword (we assure you these are fun!).

Before our team looked at how robotics would be incorporated into the OLA curriculum – which focuses on digital education in maths, English and conservation literacy – Selby Mokoena, an OLA facilitator, had already enrolled himself in an online course for coding. He passed exceptionally well and is now officially accredited.

We are now in a position – using our two little blue friends, the apps that come with them, and a team passionate about coding – to take STEM learning in Mpumalanga South Africa to a whole new level.

Who would’ve thought – what happens in California now happens just as well in a small village in South Africa.

We are now in a position - using our two little blue friends, the apps that come with them, and a team passionate about coding – to take STEM learning in Mpumalanga South Africa to a whole new level.

We are now in a position – using our two little blue friends, the apps that come with them, and a team passionate about coding – to take STEM learning in Mpumalanga South Africa to a whole new level. Open Learning Academy facilitator Selby Mokoena loves the new gadgets added in Open Learning.

These are the little blue friends that arrived from America to joined the education revolution in a small rural Mpumalanga village.

These are the little blue friends that arrived from America to join the education revolution in a small rural Mpumalanga village.

Here is Dash singing happy birthday to a GWF ambassador from Hawaii, who came to celebrate her 80th birthday with the GWF family under the tree.

Here is Dash singing happy birthday to a GWF ambassador from Hawaii, who came to celebrate her 80th birthday with the GWF family under the tree. Photo by Ryan James.

The Open Learning Academy is a Rand Water Foundation sponsored project.

Written by the GWF Media Academy.

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