University of Pretoria students help teachers with online skills

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By Sakhile Ndlazi Time of article publishedMay 22, 2020

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Pretoria – The University of Pretoria (UP) is assisting teachers from Tsako Thabo Secondary School in Mamelodi, Blue Hills College in Midrand, Laerskool Menlopark and Pretoria Secondary School to implement their online teaching programmes.

Students at the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology are finding innovative ways to ensure that teaching and learning continue online during lockdown.

In the faculty’s compulsory, undergraduate, community-based project module, students are expected to put in 40 hours’ work in the community and then reflect on their experiences.

With the lockdown, the students have experienced challenges in completing their 40 hours, but in collaboration with local communities, they have found creative new projects as the need for technical support for educators teaching online becomes apparent.

A total of 29 students are at various stages of helping teachers implement their online teaching programmes at their respective schools.

These projects require new and unique levels of interaction with the community.

Support includes developing Power­Point presentations, updating mark sheets, making online forms available and creating databases. Students are also helping to find solutions for teachers to allow pupils to upload assignments.

Wthe support from the UP students, innovative teachers are implementing online classes via Google Classroom and WhatsApp.

Reflecting on her project so far, Nishsai Veerappa, a second-year BCom Informatics student, said she had a newfound appreciation for teachers.

“I did not realise how difficult a teacher’s job is, especially in the current pandemic. Pupils rely on these presentations to learn the work that they should have learnt in their classrooms,” she said.

Veerappa said the experience had given her new ideas about how to engage an audience and communicate with her own team members.

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