EDUCATION

AdvTech schools take future-tech education to next level

Parents have greeted introduction of digital devices in classrooms with caution

In Summary

• Innovative approach involves the student, the parent and the teacher

Mikindani primary school students displays some of the tablets issued under the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa on October 18
Mikindani primary school students displays some of the tablets issued under the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa on October 18
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The fourth Industrial Revolution is resulting in schools having to relook the way they are educating not only their students but their parents as well. Kenyan parents have rightfully shown caution over the introduction of digital devices in classrooms.

The ADvTECH schools in Kenya (a Crawford International School with a Cambridge-based curriculum) and Makini (which offers the Competence-Based Curriculum) have noted the concern about the potential negative effects of computer use.

They have taken a carefully considered route in the introduction of bringing devices to school. This takes place only when parents and children have been educated in the safe usage of such devices.

Crawford, which is one of the 23 progressive high-end schools in the Crawford group, believes in the philosophy of developing students within a triangular relationship, comprising the student, the parent and the teacher. This is the cornerstone for attaining academic excellence.

 

Jenny Coetzee, Managing Director of Crawford International School, explains, “While the school has adopted the Cambridge curriculum, a parallel curriculum exists where students are introduced to digital literacy from as early as Kindergarten level. It is crucially important to start introducing 21st Century Skills, to prepare the learners of today for jobs of the future – most of which do not even exist yet.”

“In our school, all children are exposed to the use of technology in different spaces - which ultimately ensures that students are confident with 21st-century technologies. These skills are in fact a prerequisite for being competitive in today’s job market, and will become even more so within the next decade and beyond,” she says.

Recognising the importance of digital fluency, ADvTECH schools like Crawford and Makini have implemented Future-Tech (GoLab) spaces in which students are able to grasp an understanding of new technologies and artificial intelligence by developing their skills in robotics, drones and other fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.

Future skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving and ICT skills as well as the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively are of crucial importance to today’s learners.

Students make use of Future-Tech spaces equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, robotics and drone technology. These facilities focus largely on learning through problem-based enquiry aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.

Crawford International School has taken their Tech Education to the next level encouraging students to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM) competitions. In a recent Teen in AI program organized by Elena from the UK, Siddath Shah, a Grade 9 student from Crawford, was a member of the winning group.

Other exciting projects at Crawford are Skypethons with students across the world and the first TECHFEST which was held recently where STEAM collaborative project work was exhibited. As an accredited Microsoft Showcase School, Crawford took pride in being the only school in Kenya which participated in the Global HOUR of CODE gaining global recognition for their efforts

 

Technology, however, is not only used for extension activities but also in assisting students with learning barriers with aids such as immersive readers.

“Schools need a clear vision and plan on how they will be implementing and developing skills within robotics, coding and the maker revolution which should start as soon as entry-level - known as Grade R,” says Coetzee.

Felix Malombe, Digital Literacy educator at ADvTECH’s Crawford International School in Kenya, who took second place at the International STEAM competition in the USA last year, says the key is to integrate STEAM education into existing curricula, using 21st-century technologies.

“This will heighten the value of the learning because it will focus on the application of the skills and not only the learning of the skills themselves,” he says.

Malombe says at ADvTECH schools, integration of robotics starts from Grade R, and progresses throughout the years of schooling.

“ADvTECH wants to ensure that our students’ digital proficiency is recognised through qualifications and certifications by the time they graduate. This way, students will – in addition to their IGCSE or A-Level certificate - exit with the skills that will make them competitive and immediately employable,” he says.

Jenny Coetzee concluded “ADvTECH Schools have pioneered programmes alongside a group of engineers, technicians and scientists to ensure that the programmes are current and aligned to global standards.

We do a lot of high-level consulting globally, and therefore our programmes are among the best in the world. We are determined to ensure that our students experience an education that ranks highly on a global platform.”

ABOUT ADvTECH

The ADvTECH Group, a JSE-listed company, is Africa’s largest private education provider and a continental leader in quality education, training, skills development and placement services. The Group reports its performance in a segmental structure reflecting the Schools and Tertiary as two separate education divisions, and Resourcing as the third division.

ADvTECH’s Schools division comprises 10 brands with more than 100 schools across South Africa, and Crawford International in Nairobi, Kenya and the Gaborone International School in Botswana.

It owns 9 tertiary brands, on 30 campuses across South Africa and the rest of Africa. The higher education division, The Independent Institute of Education, is South Africa’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.

ADvTECH’s nine resourcing brands place thousands of candidates annually, assisting graduates to make the transition from the world of study to the world of work.

Since its foundation in 1978, Makini has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the leading groups of schools in East Africa, with a commitment to educating the whole child.

There are three units at the Ngong Road campus offering preschool, primary and high school education. There is a Kindergarten and grade one school in Migosi, Kisumu and the Makini Kisumu Campus caters for years two to six. The boarding school in Kibos takes pupils through upper primary and high school.

Makini delivers the Kenya curriculum whilst incorporating global best practice in teaching and learning, making Makini a truly world-class school. Kenya’s new competency-based curriculum (CBC) is used to focus on developing the skills the children require to be successful in the modern world.

Teachers receive continuous professional development to enhance the quality of their teaching and benefit from training and expert input from our network of outstanding partner schools around the world.

Thanks to the warm relationship between staff, learners and parents there is a synergy that has made Makini a true family and underpins the success of the group of schools.

Crawford entered Kenya with the construction of a state-of-the-art school accommodating 550 students at a greenfield site in Tatu City, Kiambu county. The school opened for students on September 4th, 2018.

The school has a strong range of facilities including fully equipped ICT computer rooms, an Innovation GO Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) science laboratories and studios for dance, drama, music and art. Pupils have the use of a 25-metre heated swimming pool, rugby, football and cricket grounds, as well as basketball courts.

The demand for places at Crawford results from the school’s innovative and forward-thinking education. Every student is acknowledged and offered the opportunity to excel because we believe “Every Child a Masterpiece.” This child-centred approach ensures that our learners realise their own potential.