The Joy of Open Learning Through My Eyes

“What happens when rural South African children have access to digital learning? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who is making the magic happen? Go in there with your camera and capture the essence.”

Those were my words last week to 21-year-old Wiseboy Shabangu, who graduated from Hazyview Digital Learning Campus in 2015 and, in 2016, applied successfully to become a media intern. This was his first assignment – with a camera and some words, show the world what Open Learning is.

I pick up the story halfway in – but bear in mind that these are all Wiseboy’s own photos and he has done his own editing using Adobe Lightroom. (Ryan James – GWF Media and Communications Manager).

Wiseboy: I was in the famous barn at Hazyview and on this particular day, 40 children from Tfolinhlahla Primary School were gathered under the Digital Tree of Knowledge. Karabo (yes, for all those who have met our avatar online, her name really is Karabo) was one of the students and she caught my attention because her hand shot up at every question: she had those kinds of eyes that say to you “I’m alive, I’m curious and I want to learn.”

You can imagine my surprise when I spoke to her and she replied with confidence. She said: “I really love being here because I learn a lot and it has become very easy for me even when I’m at school when it comes to reading or creating a sentence in English.’’

I noticed that this was a common comment when talking to the students. They are genuinely happy because they have access to digital learning at the Hazyview campus. More than that, they seem to respond so well to our educators who are trained to get them excited about learning in the cloud.

I also got to speak to Open Learning Academy facilitator, Teaman Manzini, who many readers will know, especially if they have visited Hazyview before (clue: he also makes the best cappucino in Mpumalanga!). Teaman has an energy that spills out of him and his words were beautiful. He said: “We are doing everything we can to make these children succeed to improve their studies. We teach them maths, English, how to speak English, how to read English as well as how to pronounce words. Because we believe that they are the foundation of our country.’’

Teaman added: ‘’We teach them with love and care and we always give them support because we see that they are very interested in studying’’.

I have tried to capture the joy of learning from my day spent in the barn through my photos below. There is nothing that can prepare you for being in the “barn” with little people who want to learn, who want to change their future, and facilitators who have put up their hand and said – “I’m going to help these children get there.”

Thanks for the opportunity to share my story with you today.

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

New Open Learning Academy Grade Fours have first digital learning experience at Hazyview Digital Learning Camapus.

New Open Learning Academy Grade Fours have first digital learning experience at Hazyview Digital Learning Campus.

A learner from Samukela Primary School raises her hand up confidently in a digital class just two weeks after her first class. Excited, ready and willing young minds.

A learner from Siyamukela Primary School raises his hand up confidently in a digital class just two weeks after his first class. Excited, ready and willing young minds.

They are genuinely happy because they have access to digital learning at the Hazyview campus. More than that, they seem to respond so well to our educators who are trained to get them excited about learning in the cloud.

They are genuinely happy because they have access to digital learning at the Hazyview campus. More than that, they seem to respond so well to our educators who are trained to get them excited about learning in the cloud.

“I really love being here because I learn a lot and it has become very easy for me even when I’m at school when it comes to reading or creating a sentence in English.’’

“I really love being here because I learn a lot and it has become very easy for me even when I’m at school when it comes to reading or creating a sentence in English,’’ said Karabo Mashabane from Tfolinhlahla Primary School.

Karabo (yes, for all those who have met our avatar online, her name really is Karabo) was one of the students and she caught my attention because her hand shot up at every question: she had those kinds of eyes that say to you “I’m alive, I’m curious and I want to learn.”

These learners have those kinds of eyes that say to you “I’m alive, I’m curious and I want to learn.” The barn is most certainly one of the places where you experience something so hard to explain to someone-they have to be there to get it.

 

By Wiseboy Shabangu, Hazyview Digital Learning Campus Media Intern

 

Comments