Empowering Education with SAU in Hammarsdale, Kwazulu Natal

On 12th September 2023, we embarked on a 7-hour journey to Hammarsdale, KwaZulu Natal, to visit our school partners. The trip aimed to engage with our partners and introduce the latest version of SAU at Intakemazolo Combined School. In Hammarsdale, we’ve collaborated with three schools: Intakemazolo Combined School (led by Mama Hlophe), UKusa Secondary School (under Baba Dlungwane), and Sikhethixolo Secondary School (guided by Baba Khomo). Thanks to Mzomuhle Mkhize from Digititan, UKusa and Sikhethixolo already had the latest SAU version. Mzo, a progressive community leader offering digital literacy in these schools, was a natural partner for us.

Meeting and Discussions at Intakemazolo

Our activities commenced with a meeting at Intakemazolo, attended by Ma’am Hlophe, Mr. Mthinyane, Mr. Ndlovu, and Mr. Nqcobo. The discussion revolved around understanding the school’s vision for technology integration, their needs, and reviewing the new SAU version. The educators expressed a keen interest in ensuring the school is tech-ready to tackle unforeseen challenges like Covid-19 lockdowns, floods, or unrest. They emphasized the importance of technology that facilitates continuous learning, even outside the classroom. The school extensively used Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp groups to support learners. The school’s aspiration is to see learners using only tablets, eliminating the need for traditional textbooks. This resonated with our company’s vision and mission, aligning perfectly with our goals.

SAU Review and Analysis

Together with the teachers, we delved into SAU, testing its features and assessing its suitability for their environment. Our app primarily relied on augmented reality (AR), which presented two challenges:

  1. AR wasn’t effective on smart screens due to the need for a mobile webcam.
  2. On tablets, the skewed camera angle diminished the user experience during learning sessions.

To address these issues, we transitioned from AR to a real-time 3D environment suitable for both smart screens and tablets. This enhancement will be incorporated into SAU’s next version.

During our visit, we were joined by Mr. Ashaal Roopchan and Ms. Siphukuthula Kumalo from the Technology Innovation Agency. This provided an opportunity for insightful discussions with the school’s principal and teachers. We’re grateful to TIA and DSI for their support in introducing our app to KZN schools. This visit was enlightening, offering us invaluable insights to refine SAU, making it more effective for teaching and learning.

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