A free online educational resource, called e-classroom, has been launched to service pre-primary and primary school teachers. It offers educational, entertaining and creative content for children from Grade R to Grade 3.
Natalie Wood, the owner and originator the e-classroom concept, says that after a simple registration process, visitors to the site can download the content and print it out for use and reproduction.
“The process is quick and simple and teachers can then photocopy the pages for distribution to children in the classroom to use as support resource. Mothers can also do the same for their children at home – in fact, anyone can access the content and all for free,” she said.
The categories of Maths, English, Science, Environment, Health, Nutrition, Hygiene, Arts, Crafts and Colouring are offered on the site.
“The content is designed to promote creativity and innovation in children and encourage them to use their cognitive skills to the max. The foundation phase of education is the most important and needs to be strongly set and effectively delivered otherwise children cannot move forward successfully in their education,” she said.
A teacher had this to say: “Just viewed your copy of the online magazine. Congratulations on an outstanding teaching and learning resource. Many valuable skills and content knowledge can be taught and assessed in a creative way. Well done and keep up the outstanding work,” wrote Di Mason for Collegiate Junior School for Girls.
Wood said the content wasn’t designed to provide curriculum content but rather to support educators in easily providing their students with fun educational tasks to complete both in the classroom and at home. “And the Department of Education supports suppliers who can assist with support material in any way.”
Delivered in a digital format, the E-classroom content is updated bi-monthly; however the content may be stored for as long as the educator wishes so that archived content can be accessed at any time. Content uploaded also always follows a relevant theme such as World Oceans Day, National Recycling Week, World Literacy Day, Mandela Day etc. which helps to introduce educational class discussion topics.
“Online educational content is the way of the future and it works as it offers unlimited access from any location – it is all about accessibility. Most schools now have internet access, making it possible for these educators to access the free E-classroom content,” Wood explained.
Wood is looking to secure sponsorship to roll out computer access to rural schools who don’t have connectivity. “We are also looking for corporate sponsorship to broaden our reach to include children from Grade 4 to Grade 7during 2012.”
Since it’s launch in March of this year, the concept has been overwhelmingly well received by educators in South Africa and after receiving an impressive 22 000 hits in its first four days, E-classroom is now accessed by 2 400 schools nationally, reaching an impressive 860 000 learners in both the high and low LSM categories. “We are currently receiving between 10 and 20 registrations per day from new schools and are so excited with the positive response we have received,” said Wood.
“Being able to offer free content to SA educators is the key to success here and so we have designed a format whereby interested organisations sponsor each page of the magazine – a spend that can either come out of the organisations marketing budget or CSI spend.”
According to Wood the E-classroom team worked extensively with the IT development to produce an online magazine that is user-friendly and accessible so that educators can have access to print material at a push of a button and without having to spend time researching.
“This is about building the foundation for the future’s creative thinkers and we are working on this becoming THE portal in Africa for support and education material.”
In addition to the bi-monthly content, E-classroom has designed illustrated bundles that will be made available online for free to children who wish to use them for school projects etc.
“These bundles can also be sponsored by organisations, who will own them and are then kept on the portal for a period of two years, so that they may be accessed by educators at any time. Importantly, 10% of the cost of a bundle of illustrations goes to a school feeding scheme that we are very pleased and excited to be supporting,” Wood said.