The Telematics Schools Project is an intervention that seeks to improve the Grades 10 through 12 year-end results of participating schools via the interactive satellite platform of the Stellenbosch University Telematics Division. The project is a partnership between the Centre for Learning Technologies at Stellenbosch University and the Western Cape Education Department, which is making the service available to the learners at no cost. A total of 1100 schools, nationally, are now taking part in this project.
The project has grown since the pilot project in 2009 to 100 broadcast hours per year, covering nine key subjects. The presenters explain core concepts and address problem areas in which learners had experienced difficulty in previous examinations. All the broadcasts are available on DVD or as part of the online video library, which is a powerful tool the teachers can use for exam revision.
Technology is used to create an online community for the learners and teachers. The Telematic Schools website, www.sun.ac.za/school , is the core of the project. Each school is issued a unique username and password, which gives it access to the subject workbooks, the presenters' PowerPoint presentations and the broadcast schedule. A major factor in the success of the project is the dynamic interaction that can take place between the presenters, working from the broadcast studio at Stellenbosch University, and the learners watching via satellite or live Internet streaming all over South Africa. The learners can ask questions via an interactive web page (ite.sun.ac.za/school), SMS (31498) or WhatsApp (083 792 1239). The Telematic Schools Project Facebook page is used to keep the schools informed of updates and alerts.
In addition, a low-data mobile app has been created to increase communication with schools. Principals and the subject teachers in each school can sign up with receive news and alerts directly on their mobile phones or desktops with this technology.
Tikiso Toka Sam, Grade 12 learner in Maluti Senior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape. His Mathematics teacher, Mr. Munyatore won our Telematic Champion competition last year of an MTN USB Modem loaded with 2GB data for 12 months and felt that a student deserved it more.