The smart classroom vision for Limpopo learners is gradually unfolding, this was seen when MEC for Education Mme Polly Boshielo proudly launched the Smart Classroom Project at SJ van der Merwe Full Service Technical High school in Lebowakgomo under Lepelle-Nkumpi Local Municipality within the Capricorn District Municipality.
The launch held on 16 March 2021 saw Capricorn District Municipality MMC for SEMS Cllr Jara Masubelele joining MEC Boshielo in this groundbreaking launch. The smart classroom uses the Xcellate platform which is technologically advanced for teaching and learning. The platform is a digital tool minimizing the workload for the teachers and assisting learners to be independently driven in their learning approach. It individually speaks with the learner and parents can see their children’s performance online. The system is able to assist the educator to track performance of the learner and identify problematic aspects which a learner needs more attention on and intervene accordingly.
Smart Classrooms are classrooms with a focus on ICT hardware and software and in particular the use of Interactive Smart White Boards and also audio/visual equipment. It is meant to change or even revolutionize classroom teaching and learning as well as students and teachers mind-sets. Smart Classrooms bring innovation, spur creative learning and provide the opportunity to teach and learn design, programming, engineering and production skills.
The Limpopo Department of Education concept of a Smart Classroom entails the following:
1. 1. The Smart Classroom Project is implemented in 106 public schools which are 31 primary and 75 secondary schools. Each one of these schools has been provided with: Learner Tablets, A laptop for the teacher, a charging safe; 2 data projectors and screen, one Interactive white smart board
2. 2. Secured Classroom: The envisaged classroom has at least minimum security features that will deter thieves
3. Integrated Smart White Board
4. 3. Two Portable Screens and Two Data Projectors: These are meant to ensure that two teachers can use these gadgets in an ordinary classroom while one teacher is still busy in the Smart Classroom
5. 4. Connectivity: This is a pre-requisite as it ensures that Learners and teachers are able to access the content online stored in the clouds
6. 5. Tablets for Learners
o Learners use these Tablets on rotational basis in the Smart Classroom, i.e.; they do not remove them from the Smart Classroom
o A charging safe used for overnight charging and can accommodate 60+ Tablets charging, otherwise if not charging the safe can hold 70+ Tablets
7. 6. A Laptop for the teacher: The teacher uses the laptop for preparation and lesson presentation
8. 7. Teaching and Learning Solution [Xcellate Platform]:
o Learners’ details at the participating schools are uploaded onto the Xcellate Platform. These details include all the MST subjects they have enrolled for. Moreover, the platform is also accessible to learners having smart phones while at home
o Assist teachers with lesson preparation
o Assist teachers with lesson presentation
o Teachers are able to provide differentiated support to learners
o Teachers are able to review and reflect on their approaches to the lessons
§ are able to check if the Curriculum is covered
§ Track learner performance