Telematics is the blending of information and telecommunication technologies to convey information over large networks. Learners, irrespective of their locality, are able to interact with teachers in fully interactive virtual learning spaces.
The Telematic Schools Project is a joint initiative of the Western Cape Education Department and Stellenbosch University to implement education through technology. The project provides lessons to learners in grades 10 to 12 via satellite and live streaming.
All schools across South Africa benefit from the interactive afternoon broadcasts, which focus on difficult concepts in fifteen key subjects. Learners can ask questions to the presenter in the studio via WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and e-mail.
Schools connect by having satellite equipment installed or by watching via the Internet.
Installing satellite equipment works well for rural schools in isolated areas or schools without stable broadband Internet. Some schools with installed equipment also stream the lessons, which allows the school to use multiple rooms to accommodate attendance by large numbers of learners.
With the streaming options, learners can either attend the broadcast at school or from home. They can watch the broadcasts from anywhere they can connect to the Internet.
Innovations implemented during lockdown
The Telematic Schools Project has evolved into a comprehensive online and real-time resource via which live lessons are broadcast to multiple channels and provide access to lessons at any time through a zero-rated website that allows learners to access the videos without incurring any data costs.
Learners are empowered to register themselves on the modernised website and work through the material in their own time. Content can be pushed to learners based on their personal subject choices. The specification and design of this innovation is amongst the most modern online real-time learner support and tuition programmes in the world.
The Telematic Schools Project became a valuable resource during the nationwide lockdown. During the school closure, the subject content that learners would typically study during the term was broadcast and uploaded directly to the website. All the past broadcasts, workbooks, memorandums and streaming links are available on the Telematic Schools website.
A comprehensive matric revision programme was also streamed during lockdown. The matric revision programme is a new initiative that consists of videos and material on 17 subjects that summarise all the work of the year to facilitate exam preparation.
The broadcast library is used by the national DBE as part of the WOZA matric programme, which makes lessons available on SABC and DStv television channels for learners who do not have access to the Internet.
The programme was able to grow and improve as technology changed. Facebook's video broadcasts provided a natural extension to reach more learners and teachers. Facebook is used as a communication tool through which reminders, videos and information are shared. Facebook is also appropriate as it can be used in "free mode", which allows learners without data to participate as well.
The broadcasts are systematically packaged into smaller video clips that are uploaded to the WCED ePortal, for both teacher and learner access. Teachers are encouraged to use these clips in their own lessons.
Important things to remember: