Dainfern College has been at the forefront of Educational Technology (EdTech) in South Africa for a number of years.
As part of our ‘Innovation’ strategic pathway we strive to offer our students a technology-enriched environment that speaks to real-world learning and content creation in the form of project or inquiry-based learning.
Real-world learning refers to education that is focused on connecting what students are taught in school to real-world issues, and allowing them the space to identify current solutions or develop their own ideas on a specific subject.
Content creation is a process whereby students are offered the chance to research, analyse and identify information on a specific topic and present it in their own way. The creative process allows students a more in-depth understanding of the topic, as well as giving them a more creative outlet for their knowledge.
To facilitate this approach Dainfern College supplies iPads in the classroom for Grades 1 to 5 and then moves in to a ‘Bring-your-own-tablet/device’ approach from Grade 6 upwards. In Grades 6 -9 each student is expected to bring a tablet-style device to school every day. In Grades 10-12 the students may choose to use a laptop in order to facilitate the increased demand to publish academic work through word processing.
The College’s approach to EdTech ensures that technology is secondary to the pursuit of knowledge while still being a vital part of the school’s offering. In other words, if technology can enhance the academic potential of a lesson or task we will use it, but we do not use technology for technology’s sake as this can distract a student’s learning. We strive to make our offering relevant, exciting and academically stimulating, while at the same time allowing us to prepare our students for the world they will be entering when they leave school.
Dainfern College has four fully equipped computer labs for use by all sections of the school, which ensures that every student has functional computer ability. We have iPads in every classroom from Grade 1 to Grade 5 at a ratio of one iPad for every two children. These iPads are used to create content in the form of Green Screen movies, iMovies, Google documents, books using Book Creator and many more. We are constantly looking to use our tech to allow our students to create content and develop their own understanding of what is presented to them in the classroom.
For coding, the school owns drones, Sphero robots, code-a-pillar and code-and-go robot mice to both introduce and reinforce coding principles. We also have three 3D printers for student use in the Design & Technology environment.
Overall our emphasis is to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful academics, inquiring researchers and forward thinkers.
For further information contact our Director of Information Technology, Anthony Egbers.
The Bring Your Own Tablet (BYOT) initiative has been in place at Dainfern College since 2013.
We embarked on this initiative as we believe strongly that integrating technology across the curriculum, using a personal device such as a tablet, adds educational value by:
A tablet can also be used for the daily organisation of our students’ lives with the use of digital calendars and the different apps that are available for timetable and assignment management. Students are still expected, however, to develop traditional classroom skills such as reading, writing and examination readiness alongside the more modern school skills of content creation, analysis of information and collaborative learning.
We have put in place a Bring Your Own Tablet initiative for Grades 6-9 as the tablet has many benefits over a laptop, including extended battery life, robustness, small size, appropriate apps and portability
From Grade 10, students have the option of BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. This means they can choose to bring their own laptop to school instead of or in combination with their tablets.
We do recommend the purchase of an iPad as this device is familiar to our students, staff and IT support staff as we have worked with iPads for many years. We also receive excellent educational support and free training from Apple. However, our students are equally successful with other tablet brands and the apps that are recommended are all cross-platform or have cross-platform equivalents.
For both Apple and iPad tablets, the minimum requirements are a 7-inch screen (iPad mini or equivalent) and 32GB of storage. It is vital that the tablet is able to run the latest version of iOS and Android. Some iPad models recently became obsolete in terms of iOS updates and we suggest you avoid these models.
Another aspect of tablet ownership is the security of the device, both in terms of theft and damage to it. For this reason we require students to have a cover for their tablets. We do recommend a survivor case, as these seem to be very robust; however, these covers are quite expensive (about R600-R1000) and we do not insist on them – any cover is allowed. Please bear in mind that a new screen costs from R1000-2000 per breakage.
As our Grade 6 students always need time to adjust to the Grade 6 routine before they start using a tablet as part of everyday learning, we have designed and instituted a ‘Tablet Licence’ training programme, much like the traditional Grade 3 ‘Pen Licence’. Over the course of the last part of Term 3 of their Grade 5 year and in the early part of the first term of Grade 6 every student is expected to complete training in all aspects of using a tablet at school. This course ensures that students have the functional knowledge to successfully use the tablet as part of their learning
Most of this training is done using the school’s iPads and PC/Mac computers and covers all aspects of using a tablet at school as well as the idea of being a good digital citizen. The training programme comprises roughly 12 topics that are delivered via Google Classroom and covers all the aspects of the workflow used at the school.
A few of these modules need to be completed on the students’ personal tablets and it is therefore important that the students have access to a tablet at home from the start of Grade 6, although they will not use them at school immediately.
It becomes compulsory for Grade 6 students to bring their own tablets to school during the first term once they have completed the ‘Tablet Licence’.
We are well aware of the distractions that go hand in hand with using these devices and ensure that part of the Licence covers these issues. Once the children have their own tablets, although they are personal devices, we do recommend that you limit the number of gaming apps your child is allowed to install. We also make opportunities available to parents where we share some of the advice and tips we have regarding the use and misuse of a tablet, both at school and at home. The value of a school/parent partnership in maintaining discipline with regard to the tablets is unquestionable.
ICDL certificate is offered at Dainfern College as an additional extra to students and parents as well as outside candidates.
ICDL is the international standard in digital skills certification and over 14 million people have been certified globally in more than 150 countries. People use this certification to boost their skill set at any stage and at any age with a flexible certification that allows them to develop their computer skills to their own requirements. Many institutions use this certification as a benchmark to see whether candidates are as effective on a computer as they claim to be on their CV, and some universities give credit towards their computer literacy courses on presentation of a full ICDL certificate (depending on the chosen qualification).
Candidates can choose which certificate they would like to pursue: they can acquire a single certificate for any one of the modules; choose to complete a Base Certificate; or opt for a Full Certificate. To see which modules are available and required for the specific types of certificate, please read more here.
The course is offered after school hours, or candidates can study in their own time. A revision session is done before any exams are written to enable any problems to be addressed.
The exams are all done electronically, and candidates need to demonstrate their competency by completing the required skills in a simulated environment.
To find out more about the costs and the modules being offered, please contact email@example.com.