Digital teachers are in short supply around South Africa. Needing an urgent increase in the rate of teacher training for digital education programmes, e-learning needs genuine, engaged interest to fully succeed in this country.
At a national level, only 26% of teachers have basic Information and communication technologies (ICT) skills and only around 7% have skill enough to use ICTs for teaching and learning, this is according to the department of basic education. Digital education should be a top priority in South Africa as the country heads toward a “paperless” classroom, playing catch up in a digitised world.
Transformation within our education system is integral to allow our young people every opportunity in the 21st century learning environments. Providing students with much needed modern and market orientated skills, this allows young adults to be up to scratch with the world they are entering into. Succeeding in the technology age mean understanding the dominant technology – this is where our education needs to catch up. Digital education requires adequately trained teachers that are fully able to deliver modern content and learning techniques, while also fully understanding this technology themselves. This is highly important to maintaining a top standard of “new” education.
For e-learning to become a reality in South Africa, teachers need to have ICTs integrated into their teaching routines to change the learning process accordingly. However, there is an uneven distribution of teachers that have the skills and tools they need to deliver a comprehensive digital education system.
School learners in South Africa are encouraged to produce their work using digital skills as well as develop research skills and a culture of independent learning. However, programmes that utilise computers or tablet in schools are not necessarily e-learning in nature. As it stands, many of the systems that boast an e-learning programme don’t fully understand what this actually means. Using ICTs such as tablets and apps to substitute or augment previous teaching practices is not e-learning. Young members of our population have to be educated for the future and the jobs that will be available to them. Without an education based in new technologies, the gap becomes too large and many are not equipped with the knowledge they need to make it after school. From smart boards to gamification, tablets, IT based classes and full technological integration, these are the stepping stones our students need to lead a bright, opportunity filled future.
With both education and post-school work being driven by a technology rich world, many of the popular and high paying jobs of today require a thorough understanding of technology. Whether wanting to become a web developer, coder, copywriter, account manager, sales executive or even a public relations manager, if you do not fully understand the technology at hand you will not be able to perform at your best.