In the next decade, 80 percent of all jobs will require skills in maths, science and technology. In order to keep up with changing times, South Africa needs to invest in methods to drastically improve its current ranking as one of the worst in the world for math and science education.
In response to this challenge, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provincial governments are in talks to pilot the introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) learning solutions in selected government schools.
Students can travel and immerse themselves with VR
This new way of teaching and learning through VR helps to close the gap between knowledge and understanding. Learners can experience the immersive VR world in which they can travel to New York to see the Statue of Liberty, take a virtual train ride to learn about the concept of relative motion or step inside a green leaf to see the production of oxygen through photosynthesis.
Students have more confidence
Initial results from the inclusion of this technology in South African classrooms has led to positive development in learner behaviour and attitude with 70 percent of learners indicating that the addition of VR to their syllabi would motivate them to take science and maths related subjects in the future. In addition, 98 percent stated that learning these subjects through VR has increased their confidence in their abilities.
Tech also benefits the teacher
“Suddenly, with the use of technology, we are able to pick up a learner’s challenges long before any human intervention could; enabling educators to meet learners where they are and allowing them to learn at their own pace,” says Tanya Jackman, event director of EduWeek Africa
“We as educators need to develop an attitude of ‘lifelong learning’ allowing us to constantly adapt and adopt innovations within our classrooms and teaching practices. It is imperative for us as a country to facilitate and support these developments as effectively as possible,” says Elijah Mhlanga, chief director for communications at the Department of Basic Education.
“Continued investment in educational technology will enable South Africa to become an economic global competitor and facilitate the bridging of gaps within our country, and between us and the rest of the world,” concludes Mhlanga.