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THIRTY maths lecturers from South Cape Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College – the biggest of the Western Cape’s six TVET colleges – are approaching the teaching of their subject in a new way, infused with the latest technology, to pique students’ interest and boost poor pass rates.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Unit (GMMDU) was approached by South Cape TVET College management to train the lecturers, based on the successful work GMMDU is doing at TVET colleges and schools throughout the Eastern Cape.

The lecturers from the College, which has six campuses spread across the Garden Route and Little Karoo, attended two university-accredited Short Learning Programmes over two semesters last year. Their prizegiving is on February 19.

“We have already run the Mathematics Skills Upgrade Programme (Mathsup) at all eight TVET Colleges in the Eastern Cape,” said GMMDU head Prof Werner Olivier. “The invitation to the Western Cape allows us to extend professional development and skills upgrade support, in order to build the capacity of maths lecturers in that province.”

GMMDU has developed a thoroughly-modern, offline teaching and learning model which harnesses the latest technology to teach mathematics and science to the so-called “digital generation”.

The model, packaged as TouchTutorTM, is available on a laptop for lecturers and teachers, which can be used as a teaching resource inside the classroom. It is also available on a tablet for learners (who receive GMMDU training via incubator schools and tutor-assisted peer support), and on a desktop model, which has been placed in over 100 schools throughout the Eastern Cape.

On average, learners trained in the use of TouchTutorTM improve by at least 10 per cent, although some improve by much more.  

“There is a substantial overlap between the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) curriculum [run in TVET colleges] and the CAPS curriculum [run in schools] … Our focus was on developing the content and conceptual skills of the lecturers, linked to the NCV curriculum; improving how maths is taught at college level; as well as boosting the lecturers’ ICT skills, to enable them to take the techno-blended model into their lecture rooms.”

Three of the lecturers achieved distinctions in the GMMDU-led programme. “It is a very important stepping stone towards improving their skills and competencies to teach Maths at N2, 3 and 4 level.”

He said the training would contribute towards capacity building in the college sector. “It demonstrates the important role the university sector, and particularly NMMU, can play in ensuring the maths skills of professional educators are harmonised with the expectations of modern students in the 21st century.”

Among the high-tech features included in TouchTutorTM, are Mxit assessments for self-testing and feedback; open-sourced maths software called Geogebra that allows for the visualisation of maths; and video-based “lessons” and animated PowerPoint presentations covering the entire maths curriculum, for both schools and colleges.

“GMMDU’s Mathsup programme forms part of a much bigger programme aimed at the skills development of educators, the incubation of learners with potential to enable them to access Higher Education, and to promote awareness of the importance of maths in South African society.”

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057