Off-grid media lab in rural South Africa changes lives for local students
For years, the pupils of Mugoidwa Secondary School endured an absence of educational facilities that we often take for granted:- unlimited access to the internet, laptop computers, and integrated technologies.
Now, they can use the school’s newly constructed media lab, featuring an IMPACT interactive display, Chromebooks and solar panels. Clevertouch Technologies and Interactive AV Solutions are proud to be a part of this project, thanks to the forward-thinking staff of Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy who made it possible.
- Mugoidwa Secondary School is located in Tshivhulana Village, deep within the rural province of Limpopo, South Africa.
- Vision statement: Help bridge the gap between those who have access to knowledge and those who have no access. Moreover, they set out to achieve this in a sustainable manner.
Mugoidwa Secondary School is located in Tshivhulana Village, deep within the rural province of Limpopo, South Africa. Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies undertook a project to assist schools in underprivileged areas in rural South Africa.
They created an off-the-grid media lab for the school, consisting of two 12-metre upcycled storage containers joined seamlessly to create a unified learning environment. Their goal is to help bridge the gap between those who have access to knowledge and those who have no access. Moreover, they set out to achieve this in a sustainable manner. The idea is not to be a financial or security burden on the school but rather to help save money through renewable energy and provide access to the realm of knowledge that they would not have otherwise. The project will enable learners to make informed decisions about their future – knowledge is power!
Sampson Mamphweli, Professor at Stellenbosch University comments; “The impact is massive as the media lab is going to change the way teachers teach at school in line with
the fourth industrial revolution, before we had backboards, people used to write with chalks now we have smart screens”
The lab is a sustainable off-the-grid container, powered by solar energy. Technology is in place to allow extra power harnessed to give energy to the rest of the school, which
reduces the school’s energy bills. The solar panels, inverters and batteries were all manufactured locally, putting resources back into the local community. With security a major concern, the lab was installed with
super-tough polycarbonate windows, security cameras, tripwires, infrared sensors and alarms, and remote monitoring.
“Working with competent suppliers for this technology in a difficult environment, such as rural Africa, has led to the project being completed ahead of schedule, which is very rare in Africa and more so during a pandemic.”
Says Oan De Waal, Project Engineer at the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University.
The use of the Clevertouch interactive IMPACT display and the Chromebooks allows students, some of whom have never used a computer before, to learn in completely
new ways. They can research, work with other schools, and access materials that would have been impossible with the previous facilities available. The technology ignites a passion for learning and embraces collaboration, generating heightened interest and
enthusiastic participation among learners through innovative technology. Teachers are empowered through the ability to connect to the internet and access resources freely and easily, particularly in subjects such as maths and sciences.
Ramulumo Richard, Principal of Mugoidwa Secondary School comments; “Some of the learners would be touching laptops for the first time in their entire lives. Learners are going to be enlightened, they are going to go out of their villages, their village mentality will be removed now because they will be able to see what is happening around the world, because this one will expose them to the whole world and they will be
able to interact with learners from other countries, their mindset will change from here going forward, so it has come at the right time where it was needed the most.”
Software included with the interactive display facilitates the teaching process, with hundreds of educational apps available through Cleverstore, as well as pre-created lessons via LYNX Whiteboard. Combined with the access to the Google Education Suite via both the Chromebooks and the IMPACT display, the students have access to an unlimited amount of content. John Ginty, EMEA Sales Director for Clevertouch Technologies comments;
“It was an honour to be a part of this project, which we hope can inspire others to embark on innovative projects to help disadvantaged young people fulfil their dreams and aspirations.”
“Stellenbosch university decided on Clevertouch due to its integration with chrome devices, ease of use and best user experience, compared to other brands. We were also able to deliver ahead of schedule, which ensured the school started the new year with a brand new media lab and new opportunities”
Justin Cooke, CEO of Interactive AV Solutions
We want to congratulate the department of Renewable energy at the University of Stellenbosch for their work in this field. We appreciate your ongoing efforts to share Clevertouch Technologies with schools and businesses.