By MZWANDILE MAMAILA
These same resources reached the hands of the Rhodes University Community Engagement team, Vulindlela.
The Covid-19-induced shift from physical to virtual teaching interactions has spurred the rise of a new generation of heroes in South African education.
One of them is Shaakira Mia, an educator born and bred in Gqerbha, who realised that education should not stop due to the pandemic. With online teaching experience before Covid-19, she had already been exposed to numerous online resources.
Being part of numerous educational groups on Facebook and Twitter and knowing how to work her way around the Department of Education’s website, Mia quickly sourced educational information that other educators did not have. She decided to share these valuable recourses with thousands of educators around the country.
Mia began by sharing these materials with her former colleagues. News spreads fast, especially on social media. Due to the demand for these materials, she created Whatsapp groups that broadened access to this information.
Whatsapp restricted the number of participants in the groups, so she shifted to Telegram groups.
The groups still exist today – one for each grade and subject.
When three Rhodes journalism students – Tristan Cooke, Dylan Coetzee, and Pfunzo Ralinana – heard of these Telegram groups, they decided to make it their duty to pass on the resources to Makhanda learners.
These Telegram groups and various online sources such as https://www.worksheetcloud.com/free-exam-downloads/download-links/ assisted the three aspiring journalists in acquiring the relevant materials. They curated the materials, copied them onto SD cards and delivered them to the learners of the Vulindlela program. Deliveries of the SD cards were then coordinated by Thandi Nqowana, the coordinator of Vulindlela. Read more about the SD card project and Vulindlela here.
The learners use their cellphones to scroll through the compiled materials on their SD cards. They can view past exam papers, watch practical videos, and get assisted by a Vulindlela mentor. Such information might not be in their textbooks, and they cannot access it from school.
With these SD cards, the learners do not have to wait for the Department of Education to equip them with additional recourses. They direct their learning without incurring any extra cost. The internet and data are not required.
They are highly user-friendly, and most importantly, they are updated yearly.
How to join Telegram’s South African educators’ groups:
If you are a Grade 1-12 educator, you may want to join one of the Telegram collaboration groups.
Here are some guidelines on how to use Telegram: https://www.dignited.com/36990/a-complete-guide-to-usingtelegram/
And a Youtube explainer: https://youtu.be/tGVKx8WR-7w
Here is the Play Store app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.telegram.messenger
Join a group to share information, resources, ideas, strategies, expertise, and related educational issues. Click on the links below to be taken to the App. Share these links with any teacher – the interaction is welcome: