Following a Rural Preschool’s Journey into Digital Education

Today’s blog post has been written by GWF Media Intern, Accolade Ubisi. Her blog reports on the expansion of the Open Learning Movement into rural preschools, and specifically into a preschool that is located only a few kilometers from where she grew up. This project has been supported by Charities Unlimited, and with this blog, we hope to share just how far-reaching the implications of digital learning (and digital fun) are for our rural learners. As our CEO often says: “Start ‘em young!”

It has been just a few months since Good Work Foundation (GWF) started delivering digital learning on tablet computers to children at Ntshuxekani Preschool. To give you an idea, this preschool is just 15kms from where I grew up in a village called Lillydale in Mpumalanga. And so I was really excited to visit the project and see first-hand how the Open Learning movement is impacting remote and rural communities. (I was 11-years-old when I first used a computer. These kids are four! By the way, at 11 , I was young. Most of my friends only get the opportunity after high-school).

The main goal of introducing this learning strategy is to leapfrog the existing obstacles in delivering education and, via teachnology, challenge the “how”, the “what” and the “who has access” to education.

In most rural schools, computers are seen as a privilege and as a result, money is required when learners wish to learn how to use them and that too only happens at a late stage when a child is already in high school.

This project is about providing these children with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with computers at an early age. Really, at its core, it’s about getting kids excited about learning, via digital apps and gamification.

The programs on the tablets enable the children to read stories, practice mathematics as well as paint and draw pictures. Last Mathebula, one of the preschool learners, is fast becoming a budding-young (digital) painter. Check out his photo below.

I was really amazed. When we got there, all we did was put the tablets on a table in front of the kids. It was up to them to turn the tablet on, find the paint program, and then use the digital tools to create a piece of digital art. That kind of behaviour inspires discovery, curiosity and confidence. It’s about showing people that they can do things through discovery, and hopefully, that will set a precedent for future behaviour in primary school, high school and beyond.

Stay posted for progress on Ntshuxekani’s digital education journey.

Written by GWF Media Intern, Accolade Ubisi.

Enjoy the photos!

Last Mathebula was the first pre-schooler to show off his artistic skills on the tablet

Last Mathebula was the first pre-schooler to show case his artistic skills on the tablet

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From left: Nhlahla Mona, Last Mathebula and Lulama Mathebula standing proud of their gold stars for painting neatly and fast.

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Rosiska Machavi shows off her unique blue lion that she painted in less than 2 minutes.

Linky Nkuna, MDLC Coordinator and Open Learning facilitator plays "mbhalele-mbhalele" an inidigenous game to help the kids wait wait patiently for their turn to play on the tablets.

Madlala Digital Learning Centre Coordinator and Open Learning Academy Facilitator, Linky Nkuna, plays “Mbhalele-mbhalele” with the kids, to help them wait patiently for their turn to play on the tablets.

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