Johannesburg, 27 October 2010 – We could be entering an age where South African learners will not require a laptop or access to a computer laboratory – yet they will still enjoy inexpensive and rapid access to the internet and educational content. At a stroke the dynamic combination of mobile technology and inspired thinking provided an important solution for a severely under-resourced education sector. Star Schools CEO, Atul Patel has been the driving force behind the innovation.

By partnering a WAP-enabled mobile phone with a content-rich paper workbook, Star Schools have created a virtual classroom that can be accessed anytime, from anywhere. Using a 3-D barcode tag printed on a page and a mobile phone, with free-to-download tag reading software, learners can access additional content that ranges from a 3-D exploded-view video of an electric motor to teachers that comes on screen and provide lesson content just as they would in a classroom.

Previously this kind of content delivery was limited to computer-based, bandwidth-intense setups. For the vast majority of South African learners, this is logistically and financially impractical. However, mobile phone penetration in South Africa is over 100%, according to cellular-news.com. Just about everybody has one. What Star Schools have done is provide all the functionality and content of a world-class, computer-based education content delivery system, at a fraction of the cost. “Education should be interactive and universally accessible,” says Patel.

The paper component of the innovation at the moment includes substantial A4 workbooks covering Mathematics, Physical Science, English and Accounts, amongst other subjects, for learners in grades 10 -12. For focused support, compact z-fold cards are available that addresses one subject topic at a time. This allows learners to get support with particular topics where necessary.

This is the first application of the innovation. Thanks to a world-class infrastructure and flexible design and development, this blended technology has a vast scope for future applications.

Star Schools has 15000 learners in 240 Star Schools study centres nationally. In the last two years, Star Schools learners have accumulated just under 500 Matric distinctions in English, Mathematics and Science. Star Schools also provides support to 1000 educators and a further 3500 learners is their Incubator programmes.

Find out more about Star Schools website. To arrange and interview with Atul Patel, and further insight on the interactive workbook as well as Human Capital Development, People Asset Management, and, please use the following contact details:

  • Vuma Reputation Management
  • Fi Michael
  • Email: fi@cumacom.co.za
  • Tel: 087-941-3497
  • Mobile: 072-111-4319

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