HP Idea programme gives SA educators the confidence to innovate
This initiative empowers teachers to use digital innovations to overcome challenges and provide value to their pupils
For veteran teacher Deone Schoeman, learning does not end at the final ring of the bell.
In her Afrikaans first additional language and life-skills classrooms at the Rutanang Primary Enrichment Centre in the North West province, she places an emphasis on revision exercises to be done at home with help from parents. But completing the homework can be challenging – especially since the onset of Covid-19, which led to widespread disruptions to the academic programme.
“Learners did not submit their homework, and cooperation from parents with regards to the engagement with and completion of homework was a major challenge. We need parents to assist us with facilitating homework so that the classwork can improve,” Schoeman says.
Like many teachers around the world, Schoeman has had to find innovative new ways of providing value to her pupils both in and out of the classroom.
Along with five of her colleagues, she recently enrolled in HP’s Innovation and Digital Education Academy (HP Idea) programme, which, in collaboration with Intel, offers educators in Africa the opportunity to create digital capabilities based on educational frameworks from leading global universities.
The HP Idea programme forces principals and teachers to think innovatively of ways to tackle the various challenges that they are faced withPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, founder of the Umlambo Foundation
HP Idea isn’t a course to teach educators how to use computers; it’s an initiative that gives them the confidence to innovate in how they deliver their classes, now and in future.
The programme is part of HP’s commitment to improving learning outcomes for 100-million people globally by 2025 and has thus far been launched in 15 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
In SA, HP partnered with the Umlambo Foundation to roll out the HP Idea programme at local schools.
“At Umlambo, we believe in the power of education, its ability to change people’s lives, and its power to create a prosperous future,” says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, founder of the Umlambo Foundation.
"No child should be left behind, and that is why the HP Idea programme is such an inspiring and successful initiative. It forces principals and teachers to think innovatively of ways to tackle the various challenges that they are faced with.”
The six teachers at the Rutanang Primary Enrichment Centre who completed the programme have since adapted its modules to solve the challenges they previously faced.
Schoeman developed strategies – using the d6 School Communicator app, a standalone application designed to simplify school–parent communication – to facilitate group meetings, independent surveys and group surveys for parents to encourage communication and participation.
“This resulted in better compliance from parents and improvements in the completion of homework,” she says.
HP Idea fellow and mathematics teacher Reginald Khutsoane noted a significant increase in student and parent participation since the programme started.
“Learners are now more confident and eager to work than before. Since we adopted techniques learnt from the HP Idea programme, not only are learners more involved but parents as well,” Khutsoane says.
Since we adopted techniques learnt from the HP Idea programme, not only are learners more involved but parents as wellReginald Khutsoane, HP Idea fellow and mathematics teacher
For technology teacher Ricardo Smit, using the digital innovations he got from the programme brought a renewed sense of excitement to his course material.
“One of my key takeaways was how to transform traditional teaching using technology to accommodate pupils with various barriers to learning. I now incorporate technology in my classroom using problem-based or project-based learning,” he says.
The programme has not only helped these teachers create value for their students but also allowed them to explore new skills in managing a diversified classroom environment.
With more than 28 years' experience as an educator, Agnes Mantsie Lesejane is proof that teacher education is a lifelong journey.
The programme exposed Lesejane to varied teaching methodologies, which she says helped her overcome barriers to inclusive education and plan lessons to better accommodate pupils who speak different languages.
Rutanang Primary School principal Isaac Pila, who enrolled his staff in the HP Idea programme, believes that empowering teachers and equipping them with new skill sets is the only way for them to adapt to the changing landscape of education.
Pila notes that academic results have improved at the school since the programme took effect, while parent participation and collaboration also increased significantly.
“We have used HP Idea's additional teaching strategies to assist in broadening our partnership with parents. Not only are our learners now better able to cope with the curriculum, but they have also shown more interest in learning. The initiatives we have adopted are also spreading to other schools through professional learning communities, where teachers convene interschool forums to share good practices,” Pila says.
HP’s goal is to have 30,000 teachers be part of the HP Idea programme by 2023. Since its inception in September 2020, nearly 500,000 students have stood to benefit from innovations brought into their classrooms by teachers enrolled in the programme.
“It is motivating to know that the value of the programme has a ripple impact on HP Fellows, their careers, their environments and, most importantly, the learners who are the greatest beneficiaries of the programme,” says Mayank Dhingra, HP’s senior education business leader for the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.
This article was paid for by HP.