A Digital Learning Platform that Adapts to Any School Environment (Case Study)

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2nd November 2017
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A Digital Learning Platform that Adapts to Any School Environment (Case Study)

 

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Extramarks - Dendron Secondary School Case StudyExtramarks - Dendron Secondary School Case Study

I’m guessing that not even two of your learners will use exactly the same techniques when doing homework or studying for an exam. Learners have their own learning style. Taking this into account, the art of teaching becomes very complex (as you know). How do you teach each learner individually when you are only one person in a room full of learners?

Digital learning platforms have sprung up to convert traditional teaching into Adaptive Teaching in order to achieve a common goal with learners who differ (learning styles, aptitude, etc.). The issue is that a lot of these platforms try to get you to exchange your teaching techniques for theirs. What you need is a digital learning platform that adapts to your school. An adaptive Adaptive Teaching platform (see what I did there). We think we have found just the platform.

Extramarks – A Digital Platform Designed to Adapt

Extramarks‘ digital learning platform is as versatile as it gets. They realised that all schools are different – especially in our wonderfully diverse country. Some schools have internet access, some don’t. Some already have a lot of technology and some have very little or none at all. The case study below proves that their technology is world-class and that it can adapt to any school environment (private, public, quintile 5 or even quintile 1).

Dendron Secondary School Case Study

When it comes to matric exams, Dendron Secondary School (located in Limpopo) has been one of the best-performing schools in the region. Realising that digital learning is the future, the School Governing Body (SGB) decided to explore technology-based learning with the aim of maintaining its reputation as a top-performing school and to enhance learner motivation.

Phase 1: Preparation and Diagnostic

The school appointed Extramarks to develop a plan for transforming teaching and learning in February 2015.

“I am finding teaching much easier now. We are able to use animations to help students understand a concept that is difficult to grasp by reading about it in a book. I am positive that our pass rate will increase.” – Mohau Morudu, Educator at Dendron Secondary School
Experts did a week-long site survey, observing the school’s day-to-day teaching-learning practises. Extramarks observed 1) the exhaustive use of one-way chalk-n-talk lectures – classes were chaotic, with learners constantly losing focus. 2) School bags so filled with books that learners needed to help each other carry the weight. 3) No or intermittent internet connectivity (with frequent power load shedding). 4) Huge piles of used paper used for photocopying and printing.

Dendron Secondary readily accepted Extramarks’ recommendation and soon began the transition to become a ‘Bagless School’.Keeping the above observations in mind, Extramarks recommended their ‘Experiential Learning’ programme which 1) can provide teachers with world-class interactive teaching tools and teaching techniques that 2) can be used offline. 3) It allows for paperless day-to-day teaching-learning while 4) getting rid of heavy school bags.

Phase 2: Implementation of Grade 11 Digital Learning

Installation of the Smart Learn Class

In phase 2, all four Grade 11 classrooms were transformed into futuristic teaching-learning environments or ‘Smart Learn Classes’. This process consisted of installing interactive hardware, an advanced audio-visual system, and a built-in power backup. These Smart Learn Classes use curriculum-aligned multimedia content structured around the learning framework of ‘Learn’, ‘Practise’, and ‘Test’.

“The bagless learning system makes it easier to remember as it uses animations to explain and elaborate on concepts. The audio element gives it an exciting feel and keeps me alert. I love it! And, if for some reason I cannot make it to school, I can instantly engage with my teacher.” – Concilia Balogi, Student at Dendron Secondary School
Mobilising Parents to Acquire Educational Tablets

Although the school funded the Smart Learn Classes, they still needed to arrange funds for complete bagless classroom integration. The school decided to put forward the proposal to the parents. After Extramarks presentation, the parents were excited about the prospects of technology-based learning and the benefits it can have towards the overall development of their children.

Training and Induction for Teachers

Extramarks handed out education tablets to all 40 teachers of the school. A full-time ‘change agent’ provided 3 months of continuous support to help the teachers get used the new ways of teaching.

Full Implementation of Digital Classrooms with Educational Tablets

The next step was to complete the implementation of ‘bagless learning’. Educational tablets were handed to 150 Grade 11 learners and a wireless network was installed in all the classrooms.

Extramarks then developed a student training schedule in collaboration with the principal. The learners did 1 week of initial training followed by 1 more week of training with a ‘change agent’.

Phase 3: Scaling Up the Number of Learners under the ‘Experiential Learning’ Programme

The transformation to bagless learning in the earlier phase of implementation was so seamless that other learners and their parents wanted to jump on board. As a result, 55 more tablets were handed out as part of the programme. The school plans to scale up the number of bagless classrooms to cover all learners. From Grade 10 to 9, then to 8 – going at a rate of one grade a year.

For more info, please make contact with Nadia Blignaunt at: 

info@extramarks.co.za  

or via telephone at 087 943 2522 or  011 656 6668

 

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