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Teaching Mathematics for the futurehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5076Teaching Mathematics for the futurePia Nänny<p>Researchers from across the world recently gathered in Cape Town to share knowledge about and discuss “sense-making" in mathematics teaching and learning, applied problem-solving (modelling), and the way in which mathematical models and modelling underpin much of the work across the science, technology and engineering disciplines.<br></p><p>More than 130 delegates from 20 countries attended the 18th International Conference on the Teaching of Mathematical Modelling and Applications (ICTMA-18), organised by the Research Unit for Mathematics Education (RUMEUS) situated within the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University (SU). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It was the first time this biennial conference was hosted on the African continent. The venue was the Training Centre at Sanlam Head Office in Bellville.</p><p>Prof Gloria Stillman, President of he International Community of Teachers of Mathematical Modelling and Applications, said at the opening of the conference that the community's strong research focus has recognised the importance of establishing a robust knowledge base from which to address challenges in the teaching, learning and assessing of mathematical modelling and applications.</p><p>Guest speaker Prof Eugene Cloete, SU Vice-rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, gave some excellent examples of the application of mathematical modelling in biological sciences.</p><p>To illustrate how mathematical modelling can be applied to solve real-world problems, he explained how it was used to cut down the fermentation time of yeast in the beer brewing process from 21 days to 15 days, giving the brewery an additional capacity of 25%. He also referred to the Activated Sludge Method, developed by a group of world experts, who met on a regular basis over a period of five years to come up with a mathematical model to describe what happens in this system which is used to treat municipal wastewater.</p><p>Francois Adriaan, Head of the Sanlam Foundation, explained why a large corporate such as Sanlam would be interested in mathematics. </p><p>“There is a high level of correlation between good numeracy and protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health. There is also evidence that mathematical literacy correlates with financial literacy," he said. He added that mathematics also correlates strongly with innovation and problem solving and that the world needs innovators and problem-solvers to address current challenges.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The conference was concluded with a Modelling Teacher Day, organised by RUMEUS in conjunction with the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED), where the principles and ideas discussed during the week-long conference were shared with 138 teachers, subject advisors, academics, WCED representatives and education students from across the Western Cape. The facilitators included experts from Germany, Australia and South Africa.</p><p>“We can't carry on teaching as we taught in the past, because the future looks different. We need to prepare learners to deal with the real world. Mathematical modelling and problem solving are about helping learners make sense of real-world problems," said Dr Helena Wessels, senior lecturer in the Department of Curriculum Studies at SU and chair of the conference organising committee.</p><p>Brian Schreuder, Superintendent General of the WCED, echoed both Wessels' and Adriaan's sentiments in his address to teachers. “For me, mathematically modelling is about problem solving and critical thinking. It's about the process and the skills. The learners we teach will have to be able to function in the 21<sup>st</sup> century. Are we doing enough to prepare them for this world?"</p><p>He voiced concern that the South African curriculum is still geared towards 20<sup>th</sup> century learning outcomes. “We are overpopulating our curriculum with content and we are not creating the opportunity for learning to take place. We have to do more in our classes to develop the skills of the future."</p><p>He encouraged teachers to link the CAPS curriculum to what is happening in the real world.</p><p>“The principles of mathematical modelling can help us achieve our vision of a quality education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school in our province," he concluded.</p><p>Dr Peter Beets, Deputy Director: WCED Curriculum & Assessment Management, also attended the Modelling Teacher Day.​​<br></p>
#WomenofSU – Focus on Prof Nuraan Davidshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5061#WomenofSU – Focus on Prof Nuraan DavidsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​A prolific writer and eminent researcher, Prof Nuraan Davids, Chair of the Department of Education Policy Studies, has been honoured by, among others, the National Research Foundation and also received awards from Stellenbosch University (SU) for her outstanding research outputs. As part of Women's Month celebrations at SU, Corporate Communication spoke to Davids about her research.</p><p><strong>You are one of the top researchers in the Faculty of Education and at SU? Can you tell us more about your area of research?</strong><br></p><p>My primary research area is Philosophy of Education which focuses on the meaning of education i.e. what, how and why we teach. My research interests include democratic citizenship education, Islamic education, ethics in education, and the inquiry into educational leadership. </p><p>As a teacher, I am especially interested in what our particular identities and worldviews bring to those we teach. I also am intrigued by the silences, which float beyond that which is obviously evident and known. <br></p><p><strong>​Why or how did you become interested in this specific field of research?</strong><br></p><p>I think it was a convergence of many moments in my life that led me to philosophy of education. I wanted to try and understand why we educate; how we educate; and what that education might mean to oneself and others. </p><p><strong>​What do you enjoy most about your research?</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">I enjoy writing. I love the process of seeing an idea, or a problem, take life on paper. I also enjoy the not knowing of where my research might take me. In many respects, writing has become my refuge.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>To what do you attribute your success?</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">I think success and passion are mutually contingent. I am passionate about my research, my writing, and my teaching. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>What makes you tick?</strong></p><p>My loved ones – I enjoy tremendous support from my family, and close friends. My children are also my fiercest critics; they demand a lot from me, and I attach a lot of value to this. I am also driven by a strong desire to give my best; to be the best person I can possibly be, and to do justice to the innumerable gifts that have been afforded to me. It is therefore important to me that I make a difference in the lives of others.  </p><p><strong>What things do you enjoy doing when you're not busy with research or teaching?</strong></p><p>I am afraid that my natural recourse is to a book – reading is my escape for many things. I also enjoy long walks, and listening to jazz, and lazy conversations.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Do you have any words of advice for the next generation of women researchers?</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Believe in the power and grace of your own thoughts. Women bring particular nuances to research, which have yet to be explored. It is up to women to claim their rightful place in research and in the academia.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
Online assessment could improve maths marks of deaf learnershttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5053Online assessment could improve maths marks of deaf learnersCorporate Communication/ Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<div><p>Online mathematics assessment (OMA) could help improve the mathematics performance of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in South Africa.<br></p><p>This is one of the key findings of a new study at Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>“OMAs can help deaf and hard-of-hearing learners to understand difficult mathematical concepts and provide them with equal opportunities to do well in formal mathematics assessments," says Dr Nolan Damon who is a mathematics teacher and ‎blended-learning designer and trainer from Worcester. He recently obtained his doctorate in Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>Damon investigated the use of OMAs as an alternative form of assessment to current pencil and paper-based mathematics assessments which do not provide deaf and hard-of-hearing learners with a fair chance to showcase what they have learnt.<br></p><p>“Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners perform poorly in mathematics pencil and paper assessments because they struggle to read and understand written texts and to interpret mathematics questions posed in Afrikaans or English since neither Afrikaans nor English is their home language," says Damon. <br></p><p>He adds that since these learners communicate through Sign Language, they struggle partly because of the difference between the structure and grammar of Afrikaans/English and Sign Language, the absence of a mathematics vocabulary in Sign Language, and their limited language skills.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LrppmDyolJk" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><em><strong> (M</strong></em><em><strong>obile users, click <a href="https://youtu.be/LrppmDyolJk"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here​</span></a>)</strong></em><br><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Learners' understanding of mathematical functions</strong><br></p><p>As part of his research, Damon designed OMAs for Grade 8 learners at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Western Cape. Apart from Damon and the learners, an interpreter was also involved in this study.</p><p>Damon used a quiz module in Moodle, which is a free and widely used open-source software package, as well as two mathematic software plugins (components that adds a specific feature to an existing computer programme) to test the learners' understanding of mathematical functions which are crucial in our everyday lives. Moodle quizzes can be used for, among others, exams preparation, continuous assessments, and to measure learners' understanding of content knowledge.</p><p>Damon says his experience as a teacher of mathematics to deaf and hard-of-hearing learners has shown that they struggle to understand mathematics concepts, in this case the function concept.<br></p><p>“Testing their understanding of mathematical functions is important because deaf students, for example, don't hear or understand that fruit, meat or vegetables are sold per kilogram. They know the sign for it, but they find it difficult to grasp that if I pay R4, 00 for 2kg apples, the functional relationship can be applied to more bags of apples, etc."  </p><p>The Moodle quiz tested, among others, the ability of learners to determine rules for patterns and functional relationships using flow diagrams, tables, formulae and equations in line with the current National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for<br>Grade 7-9.</p><p>Damon observed the learners while they were completing the quizzes as part of the OMA to record their interactions with it. Apart from documenting their experience with the OMA, the learners were also interviewed by an interpreter about the possible advantages and disadvantages of the OMA. Damon then used this information to make adjustments to the OMA based on the learners' feedback. <br></p><p>“Not only did the learners find it easier to do online quizzes as opposed to pencil and paper-based assessment, but the inclusion of a Glossary within these quizzes made it possible to have immediate access to difficult words and phrases."<br></p><p>Damon points out that although the learners initially experienced difficulties with the OMA, their scores improved after a few adjustments were made to it. <br></p><p>“All the learners passed the test with marks above 60% and three learners obtained a score of 100%.  Since an improvement in test scores are directly linked to an increase in the learners' understanding, it can be argued that due to modifications to the OMA, their knowledge based on the function concept improved."<br></p><p><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Multimedia can enhance the learning process</strong></p><p>Damon says each question within the OMA included an icon which the learners could click on for a video example to experience the mathematics concept that needed to be conveyed and to be guided through questioning. He adds that these 'help' features were extremely useful especially with the limited Sign Language concept vocabulary at hand. </p><p>“The study highlighted the value of incorporating multimedia such as videos, images, simulations, interactive content and other graphics within the OMA because deaf and hard-of-hearing learners are dependent on visual imagery for learning. These multimedia can reduce the cognitive load of interpreting texts and also enhance the learning process for these learners." </p><p>“This is important because signs for concepts in mathematics are non-existent which makes it tough to translate these ideas via Sign Language without losing the essence of the math concepts."</p><p>Damon says the OMA allows learners to use smart phones, tablets and laptops to take the assessment. <br></p><p>“Sign Language can be incorporated within the OMA with ease which means these learners will be provided with assessments in their Home Language."<br></p><p>“This OMA can assist these learners in their understanding of difficult concepts and can make their studies so much better if they have access to subject content in their own language, i.e. Sign Language."<br></p><p>“It also allows the teacher to create online assessments, and the computer captures the learners' answers, scores it and provides immediate feedback to students." <br></p><p>Damon adds that the OMA might also provide mathematics teachers with insights into the cognitive processes of deaf and hard-of-hearing learners while doing mathematics. </p><p>For the OMA to have the desired outcome teachers and deaf learners have to receive training in how to use Moodle, and software plugins such as GeoGebra, WIRIS, says Damon. <br></p><p>He adds that the OMA principles can also be used for Languages, Science and any other subject and universities can also benefit from his research. <br></p><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Nolan Damon</p><p>Nuwe Hoop Centre for the Hearing Impaired</p><p>Tel:0233474372</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:damon@telkomsa.net">damon@telkomsa.net</a> </p><p>                  OR</p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a> <br></p><br></div>
Philosophy can benefit prospective teachershttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4958Philosophy can benefit prospective teachersCorporate Marketing / Korporatiewe Bemarking<p>A firm grasp of key philosophical concepts is important for prospective teachers if they wish to help address pedagogical and societal challenges in their specific contexts.</p><p>This is one of the key messages of a new book by Dr Nuraan Davids and Prof Yusef Waghid of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>Their book <em>Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher Education </em>was published recently by Rowman & Littlefield – Lexington Series </p><p>Containing ten chapters, the book focuses on ten key philosophical concepts, namely knowledge, practical reasoning, productive action, education, free speech, craft or art, deliberative engagement, love and friendship, cosmopolitanism, and potentiality (the way things could be as supposed to the way they are).  </p><p>Each chapter is presented as a conversation between students and lecturers, and reflects on the afore-mentioned concepts in relation to teaching and learning – emphasising how  action can be engendered within philosophy of education. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to the authors, <em>Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher</em><em> </em><em>Education</em><em> </em>offers a nuanced and practical understanding of these concepts to pre-service and in-service teachers, as well as academics and researchers.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"In acknowledging the ongoing struggles that prospective teachers, and we would imagine, in-service teachers as well, have in accessing the language of philosophy of education, we have identified the ten key philosophical concepts," says Davids. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The book is unique in the sense that it attempts to respond to prospective teachers' concerns about the profession and how philosophy of education can be used to respond to pedagogic and societal concerns in Africa," she adds. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors say the book also seeks to address their students' resistance to philosophy of education. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"There are a number of reasons for this resistance. On the one hand, the majority of students in our class come from undergraduate programmes where they had not previously encountered philosophy of education. As such, they generally describe the language of philosophy of education as unnecessarily complex and confusing." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"On the other hand, those students who might have encountered philosophy before, or those who might be open to studying philosophy of education, do not necessarily consider the latter as necessary to teaching subjects, such as English, mathematics, or science." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors argue for a link between philosophy and education with the potential to effect teacher education practices. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We endeavour to clarify pertinent philosophical concepts in education and then look at how these concepts impact teaching, learning and management as classroom practices." </p><p>The authors say pre-service and in-service teachers, undergraduate and post-graduate students, academics, and researchers may benefit from the book.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Anyone who is interested in teacher education, teaching, and philosophy of education would find this book very useful. The book has a broader appeal because of our shared experiences with academics and lecturers from other international institutions." </p><ul><li><em>Philosophy and education as action: Implications for Teacher Education</em> is available through Rowman & Littlefield – Lexington Series and <a href="https://www.amazon.com/books-used-books-textbooks/b?ie=UTF8&node=283155">Amazon</a>.</li></ul><p> </p><p><br></p>
SA’s youth face many challengeshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4955SA’s youth face many challengesCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>On Friday (16 June) we celebrate Youth Day. In opinion pieces published in the media, the following staff members and students from Stellenbosch University focus on some of the pressing challenges facing our youth and what should be done to solve them. Click the links below for the respective articles.</p><ul><li><p>Prof Yusef Waghid (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/p24%20Edu%20Waghid.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Mail & Guardian</strong></a>)<br></p></li><li><p>Folkers Williams (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/FWilliams_CapeArgus_Jun2017.pdf"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>Cape Argus</strong></span></a>) </p></li><li><p>Sibonele Sosibo (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/Youth%20Day%20Article_Sibonelo.pdf"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>News24</strong></span></a>)<br></p></li></ul><p> <br></p><p><br></p>
SUNCEP’s first video streaming teacher training sessionhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4925SUNCEP’s first video streaming teacher training sessionAnneke Müller<p>On Saturday 27 May, SUNCEP streamed its first tuition session live to Natural Science teachers in two different venues outside Stellenbosch, complementing the previous three contact sessions that were offered in Vredendal earlier this term.</p><p>SUNCEP's practice-based approach to professional learning entails contact tuition sessions, mentoring offered via cluster meetings, on-site support visits as well as e-support and e-mentoring. </p><p>The Centre for Learning Technologies at Stellenbosch University implemented an alternative conferencing software, called SUNStream where affordable two-way interactivity video-streaming via Adobe Connect is possible. Participants can "attend" these sessions anywhere and on any device such as a computer, tablet or even a smart phone. </p><p>This platform allows participants to communicate with one another, take polls interactively and also allows presenters to share documents on their own computer screen with the participants. The sessions can also be recorded and viewed later offline. </p><p>This session was streamed from the SUNCEP office to two groups of teachers: one group in Vredendal and another in Citrusdal.  A Vredendal based SUNCEP facilitator, Ms Christa Philander and the WCED Curriculum Advisor for Physical Sciences in the West Coast, Mr Lyndon Manas, attended and technically supported the teachers during the sessions. </p><p>SUNCEP has utilised the Stellenbosch University telematics platform and will continue to do so when applicable.  Rapid advances in technology have, however, made it possible to increase the two way interactive nature of broadcasts via streaming to any device and not just to telematic centres, thus strengthening SUNCEP's e-learning delivery of its short courses. </p><p>The SUNCEP team is very excited about this new platform.  "Now that we have tested the platform successfully, the possibilities are endless, especially to support teachers in deep rural areas, without anyone having to drive vast distances", said Dr Trevor van Louw, Director of SUNCEP. <br></p><p><em>Photo: SUNCEP staff members preparing for the streaming: Mrs Danelda van Graan, Mrs Erika Hoffman, Mrs Pauline Hanekom, Mr Andrew Fair and Mr Shaun Graham.</em><br></p>
Educational assessment a crucial part of teaching and learning http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4896Educational assessment a crucial part of teaching and learning Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>Edu­cational assessment at schools and universities should be seen as a means through which teaching and learning can unfold and not just as something to test learners and students.</p><p>This is one of the key arguments in a new book by Dr Nuraan Davids and Prof Yusef Waghid of the Department of Education Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>Their book <em>Education, Assessment, and the Desire for Dissonance </em>was published recently by Peter Lang.</p><p>Comprising 10 chapters, the book covers themes such as the failure of governmental strategies for educational assess­ment; the power dimensions of pedagogic relations and assessment practices; the use of measurements and metrics in South African forms of assessment; and deliberative assessment encoun­ters.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The book looks at educational assessment practices in schools and universities broadly, while also drawing from South African experiences.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors say they wrote the book because they were concerned about South African schools and universities' complacency and non-responsiveness to conceptions and practices of assessment. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">They argue that inasmuch as attempts have been made to move away from measurement and metrics, assessment in South Africa remains mostly connected to control and predictability, as com­monly encountered in international trends in assessment. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Assessment is overwhelmingly seen as something that has to be done in addition to teaching and learning. Such an understanding creates the impression that teaching and learning do not have an internal connection to assessment," says Davids.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Educational assessment is constitutive of teaching and learning and not an add-on practice (a non-governmental practice), as is currently the case with assessment practices in South Africa." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">They say they are concerned about school, university, and societal understandings that assessment can somehow be used to address learner or student performance, while simultaneously being used as a motivation for learning. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Unless assessment yields the necessary information to improve teaching and learning, and unless teachers know how to analyse and apply this information, assessment, as we see in the Annual National Assessment or the National Senior Certificate, adds no value."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">They argue that dissonance could be a way out of the quagmire of standardised "testing" measures that not only inhibit the pursuit of creativity, talent, and passions, but also make peda­gogic encounters a bit superficial and parochial. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to the authors, edu­cational assessment aimed at improving teaching and learning can be successful if it also incorporates the idea that a learner or student should not necessarily accept a teacher's particular assessment of his or her work.</p><p>"The student has to be allowed to disagree with the teacher (show dissonance/disagreement) – but, of course, has to show reasonable justification for doing so. In the same way, teachers cannot simply retreat into their rooms and assign marks/assessments to students without engaging with them."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"We contend that dis­sonance in educational assessment offers an alternative to assessment practices that currently constrain the autonomy of students and of teachers."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"If teaching is understood as directing students towards the unfamiliar and yet-to-be-understood, then assessment needs to offer the potentiality for a questioning of the unfamiliar and the yet-to-be-understood."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors say they recognise that assessment is a complex and demanding encounter and that it means different things, teachers, learners or students.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Because assessment is complex and demanding, it is something that people should do together. We would aver that educational assessment ought to be advanced by a desire to do things differently." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">In this regards they propose an assessment <em>within</em> teaching as opposed to assessment <em>of </em>learning and an assessment <em>for </em>learning.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Assessment <em>within</em> teaching and learning places the onus on both teachers and learners or students to consider the practice as something done in association with others. Such a view is different from the traditional ones that prejudice doing things for others. This would mean that assessment ought to be considered as an encounter." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors add that this type of assessment implies that teachers and students are present in pedagogical relation­ships that produce meanings and operations that are carried out in their own presence. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Teachers and students are, or have the potential to be pedagogical equals."  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The authors say their book may appeal to academics, educational practitioners, policy analysts, students, and teachers.</p><ul><li><em>Education, Assessment, and the Desire for Dissonance</em> is available at <a href="http://www.peterlang.com/"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">www.peterlang.com</span></a> as well as leading online bookstores. </li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"> <strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Nuraan Davids and Prof Yusef Waghid with a copy of their new book.</p>
Multilingual mobile dictionary help students master conceptshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4882Multilingual mobile dictionary help students master conceptsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>New education students sometimes find it difficult to master concepts that are used in their courses. And because they do not understand concepts, they struggle with reading comprehension and to submit good written assignments.</p><p>"The development of concept literacy  ̶  the ability to read and understand subject-specific terminology  ̶  is a major challenge for many students," say Drs Carina America and Michele van der Merwe, two lecturers in the Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University (SU).</p><p>America teaches Economics and Management Science subjects and Van der Merwe Afrikaans to education students. Van der Merwe is also a lexicographer i.e. someone who compiles dictionaries.</p><p>They joined forces to develop a multilingual cell phone dictionary that can help students understand concepts used in Economic and Management Sciences. This "subject dictionary", known as MobiLex, is written in such a way that students can easily access it from their mobile phones. The project came to fruition in collaboration with SU's Language Centre and the assistance of the Centre's Head: Advancement of isiXhosa, Pumlani M Sibula. </p><p>America says the dictionary is written specifically for students who want to teach Economics and Management Science subjects in schools. She adds that MobiLex explains concepts to students in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.</p><p>MobiLex is currently available on the SU website and students can access it through their mobile phones and computers. According to Van der Merwe, the next challenge is to develop MobiLex into an app that students can download onto their mobile phones.</p><p>The concept of MobiLex was developed four years ago by their colleague Professor Christa van der Walt to specifically address the problem of concept literacy.</p><p>"MobiLex wants to help students gain easier access to the explanation of concepts."</p><p>"This is not just an ordinary dictionary; it is a subject dictionary that explains concepts in the way the lecturer would like them to be explained."</p><p>"The dictionary is designed in such a way that it can easily be used on a cellphone. It is also updated regularly," says Van der Merwe.</p><p>"If students sit in the class and have access to the internet, they can use their computers or phones to search MobiLex for the meaning of concepts that they do not understand."</p><p>America is of the view that if students know the meaning of a particular concept, it can improve their understanding of such a concept and develop their ability to read a specific text critically. It also helps them to write better assignments.</p><p>"MobiLex can thus be a source of support to improve students' writing and reading skills."</p><p>Van der Merwe points out that students are happy that they can use MobiLex on their mobile phones and in the classroom.</p><p>"Students say it also helps to use MobiLex outside the classroom especially if there are certain concepts that they did not fully understand during a lecture and could not look up in time."</p><p>Van der Merwe says that even though the dictionary is aimed at undergraduates, it has also been extended to senior students.</p><p>They point out that in addition to Economic and Management Sciences MobiLex have been used successfully in other subjects in the Faculty of Education namely Educational Psychology, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Curriculum Studies.</p><p>The two lecturers say they recently had visitors from Europe who were impressed with MobiLex. They add that teachers also asked when MobiLex would be available in schools.</p><ul><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Pixabay</li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Carina America (EMS)</p><p>Department of Curriculum Studies</p><p>Faculty of Education</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 3793</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:camerica@sun.ac.za"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">camerica@sun.ac.za</span></a> </p><p> </p><p>Dr Michele van der Merwe (MobiLex)</p><p>Department of Curriculum Studies</p><p>Faculty of Education</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2396</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:michelevdm@sun.ac.za"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">michelevdm@sun.ac.za</span></a> </p>
Opinion article: Teachers are in ideal position to helphttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4802Opinion article: Teachers are in ideal position to helpProf Ronelle Carolissen<p>​Our world is becoming increasingly complex and intolerant of social difference. </p><p>Schools and especially teachers have a significant role to play in creating opportunities for children and adolescents to engage in dialogue and to affirm the value of difference in themselves and others, writes Prof Ronelle Carolissen, associate professor of community psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology at Stellenbosch University and Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Education, in an opinion piece in the<em> New Age</em>.<br></p><p>Read the full opinion piece <a href="/english/faculty/education/Faculty%20Documents/Carolissen_TheNewAge_Mar2017.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-8" style="">here</strong></a>.<br></p>
Sixth Postgraduate Supervision Conference hosted by Centre for Higher and Adult Educationhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4788Sixth Postgraduate Supervision Conference hosted by Centre for Higher and Adult EducationPia Nänny<p>More than 150 delegates from 11 countries attended the sixth Postgraduate Supervision Conference hosted by the Centre for Higher and Adult Education (CHAE), situated within the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University (SU), from 28-31 March. </p><p>The theme of the conference was 'Postgraduate supervision: Spaces, journeys and new horizons' and discussions were focused on the spaces, journeys and ultimate destinations of postgraduate students and their supervision. </p><p>Delegates were welcomed by Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-rector:<sub> </sub>Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU.</p><p>"The topic of this conference is very close to my heart as I am responsible for postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch University. In South Africa, the success rate at PhD level is only about 50%. This is very worrying. At our own university – Stellenbosch University – the retention rate is 65% – which is not that good either, in my opinion.</p><p>"We need to understand why this is the case, and that is why this conference is so important."</p><p>Prof Cloete mentioned challenges such as the high opportunity costs of candidates not completing their PhDs, the lack of supervisory capacity and the slow through-put rate.</p><p>To complete a postgraduate degree is not easy and tenacity as well as a well-structured relationship between student and supervisor are important ingredients for success, he added.</p><p>"With this conference you are adding a lot of value to the postgraduate environment and I am looking forward to the outcome of this meeting," Prof Cloete concluded.</p><p>The keynote speakers at the conference were Associate Professor Nick Hopwood from Sydney University of Technology, Dr Suzanne Ortega, President of the Council of Graduate Schools in the USA, Prof Kirsi Pyhältö from the University of Helsinki and Dr Amaleya Goneos-Malka, Postgraduate Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria.</p><p>The conference, which started on Wednesday 29 March, was preceded on Tuesday 28 March by a meeting of Deans of Postgraduate Studies (or their equivalent) to discuss issues of mutual concern related to international and national trends and challenges for postgraduate schools and offices.</p><p>Prof Liezel Frick, Director of the Centre for Higher and Adult Education (CHAE), said the conference was an important opportunity for researchers to share their research on postgraduate supervision with their peers.</p><p>"It is also a capacity-building opportunity for novice supervisors, but in the end we all learn from each other."</p><p>Emeritus Prof Eli Bitzer, conference organiser, added that the long-standing nature of the conference confirmed that the Centre has firmly established itself as a leading entity on postgraduate pedagogy and supervision as well as research education – in South Africa and internationally. </p>