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Change the world

27/06/2023

Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC) is well-known for their research, development, and engagement work in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

The centre facilitates education with various integrated techno-blended support programmes for mathematics and physical sciences in under-resourced secondary schools as well as educator training and support.

International engagement

The University of Jyväskylä (JYU) has recently awarded the 2023 Visiting Fellow Research Grant to GMMDC Director Prof Werner Olivier for research and development in STEAM education.

Prof Olivier will conduct various STEAM education activities with teachers and learners from Finnish schools from mid-August to mid-October 2023.

Dr Carine Steyn from the GMMDC will join him in September for two weeks to engage with senior JYU researcher Dr Kristof Fenyvesi, who has collaborated with the GMMDC for more than five years.

Prof Olivier and Dr Steyn will also present papers at international education conferences in Scandinavia during their visit, sharing their innovative STEAM education practices to address inequalities in school education.

Prof Olivier and Dr Steyn also form part of the Mandela University’s delegation at the 25th anniversary celebration at Oldenburg University in Germany. They will share the GMMDC’s engagement with schools, promoting the Science Faculty’s high-quality STEAM education in under-resourced schools.  

NRF/SAASTA national tender

The GMMDC recently secured a contract with the NRF/SAASTA after a national bid process to procure STEM education resources for schools in the form of 50 GammaTutor M-learning devices with mathematics and physical sciences software.

The GMMDC will also provide orientation and training to mathematics educators to use in classrooms, thereby supporting under-resourced Gauteng schools. The project is scheduled to start in Gauteng in July 2023.

Free State secondary schools

The GMMDC was recently awarded a provincial tender to supply its innovative GammaTutor M-learning devices with Mathematics and Physical Sciences software and comprehensive training, to 10 under-resourced secondary schools in the Free State’s Gariep district.

These mobile learning resources provide teaching support in classrooms and will assist in establishing school-based after-hours offline mobile resource centres.

An accredited professional development programme will also enhance the skills of 30 in-service mathematics educators from the project schools over the course of the next 18 months.

This initiative, which started in May, is in partnership with the Free State Department of Basic Education.

Pilot mathematics initiative for MINDY project in Gauteng

The GMMDC has recently entered a contract with Gauteng-based Market Place Academy to support the Maths Initiative for National Development of Youth (MINDY) pilot project in Gauteng.

This entails techno-blended STEM resources and training for offline M-learning support, as well as skills development programmes for teachers and learners.

The project targets six large under-resourced secondary schools in the Boksburg region of Gauteng.

This includes a total of 50 GammaTutor M-learning devices, with Mathematics and Physical Sciences resources, accredited training provision for two cohorts of in-service Mathematics teachers, and the introduction of the Centre’s Technology Assisted After-school Programme Support (TAPS) for Mathematics learners at the project schools.

The initiative will initially run over 18 months and started in June.

Its main objectives are to deliver effective professional skills development to 60 in-service Mathematics teachers from the project schools and to enable learners to engage in impactful self-directed STEM learning beyond regular school hours.

Partnership with TUT

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) recently contracted the GMMDC to provide a series of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (MST) support project implementations in three Tshwane schools, starting in July. 

Eight TUT academics from the School of Education visited the GMMDC at its Bird Street Campus offices in April to plan collaborative STEM education engagement in under-resourced schools from their immediate catchment area.

Their school support programme encompasses an accredited professional skills development programme for 30 Mathematics teachers, providing Mathematics and Science resources, and introducing learner after school support at project schools.

The School of Education will also ensure the dissemination and promotion of techno-blended pedagogies and skills among full-time STEM education students to prepare them for future classroom practice.

TUT plans to extend this project to more schools over the next three years.  

STEAM Education training at WSU

As part of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) Eastern Cape STEM engagement partnership in 2023, the GMMDC conducted a two-day STEAM Education capacitation seminar in May at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in Mthatha.

WSU staff, senior education students, and in-service teachers involved in WSU's STEM engagement projects with secondary schools, received training and support in using the GMMDC's integrated techno-blended support programs (ITSP) for mathematics and physical sciences in under-resourced secondary schools.

GMMDC’s Prof Werner Olivier, Dr Carine Steyn and Natalie Gill facilitated the activities, such as demonstrations, interactive GammaTutor training, resource distribution, project discussions, and reflections on the STEAM education models for teacher and student support.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za